ALBANY-The Cuomo administration on Friday announced $1.4 billion in federal funds would go toward storm repair and mitigation efforts for Long Island’s power grid. The idea behind the New York State agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency is to avoid a repeat of the after effects of Superstorm Sandy, during which 90% of the Long Island Power Authority’s 1.1 million customers lost power.
“”This funding will allow the state to dramatically improve the power grid, including elevating lines and repairing substations without raising rates for Long Island’s residents and businesses,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday. “We need to reimagine New York for the new reality of extreme weather.”
Of the funding announced on Friday, $705 million will aid repairs to the grid, and $730 million will assist with future storm mitigation efforts. Ninety percent of the funding will be paid for using FEMA funds, and the remainder will be drawn from federal Community Development Block Grant funds from the US Department of Housing & Urban Development.
The agreement gives the state flexibility in determining the nature and type of mitigation that will be most effective throughout the 1,025 miles of the most vulnerable and previously damaged circuits in the island’s power grid. Mitigation efforts will include the elevation of damaged substations, automatic sectionalizing of switches across the grid to minimize outages and strategic undergrounding of appropriate power circuits.
The Cuomo administration says the federal funding means that Long Island’s utility customers won’t see rate increases as a result of the repair and mitigation efforts. Following the devastation wreaked by Sandy in October 2012, Cuomo revamped LIPA’s structure and brought in New Jersey-based PSEG to manage the island’s grid.