State to spend $173 million on NYPA grid to improve response time for outages in St. Lawrence County, rest of NY
Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 9:07 am

The state is spending $173 million on the New York Power Authority’s grid, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office says will “help NYPA to collect data more quickly and accurately, and allow for a faster response time to outages and other power grid issues.”

Earlier this week, the NYPA trustees authorized $95.7 million for the authority's Sensor Deployment Program and an additional $77.5 million for its Communications Backbone Program. The work will “increase grid resiliency and deliver value to customers in the near-term while supporting the Power Authority's Vision 2020 strategy to become the first, end-to-end digital utility in the country,” according to a news release from Cuomo’s office.

Launched earlier this year, NYPA's Sensor Deployment Program will enable NYPA to measure up to 117,000 new data points across its generation and transmission system by 2019, improving NYPA's monitoring capabilities and ability to preempt maintenance and service issues.

As part of the $95.7 million, NYPA trustees ratified a five-year, $76.2 million contract to a statewide consortium of engineering firms, E-J O'Connell Sensor Deployment Joint Venture of Long Island City, to design, build and install new sensors and associated networking across NYPA facilities. The remaining portion of the sensor deployment funding authorized will support sensor procurement, installation and commissioning, as well as, overall project management. The funding represents an expansion of the original scope of the program to include additional sensors for NYPA's generation and transmission assets, according to Cuomo’s office.

NYPA's Communications Backbone Program, receiving $77.5 million, will create what Cuomo’s news release describes as a “robust, secure and scalable” communications network to replace NYPA's legacy technology and manage data originating from NYPA facilities and equipment. The board's funding reflects an expansion on the original scope of the optical ground wire portion of the statewide project, according to the governor’s office.

In addition to other types of communications networks, the expanded project encompasses an additional 550 miles of new optical ground wire installations on existing transmission towers in central, northern and western New York. Ultimately, this investment will lead to a nearly 700-mile optical ground wire installation by 2021. When completed, the Communications Backbone Program will allow NYPA to be less reliant on third-party carriers and provide more flexibility to deliver and expand services, Cuomo’s office said.