According to a report from Democrat and Chroniclethe news outlet serving the region of Rochester, N.Y.,  the New York State Public Service Commission, along with Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E), the New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG) and other parties have a proposed a settlement over the way the two utilities responded to a March 2017 windstorm in the area. The storm caused power outages to more than 250,000 customers and Governor Andrew Cuomo had ordered the PSC to investigate the way the two utilities had prepared and responded to that storm which left some customers without electricity for days.

The settlement calls for RG&E and NYSEG to spend $3.9 million in a series of projects to “increase resiliency and improve emergency responses in the areas impacted by the March windstorm,” according to the settlement papers. Approximately $1.25 million of that money will be used to install utility poles made of composite material such as fiberglass, which are a more durable alternative to traditional wooden poles. According to Democrat and Chronicle, more than 900 poles, most of which were made with wood, snapped or fell over during the 2017 windstorm.

The city of Rochester, whose residents were significantly impacted by the outage, has already signed off on the agreement. Other signers include the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 10, which represents many of the RG&E employees. The funds will not come from ratepayers but from shareholder profits instead. Seventy-two percent of the power outages occurred in RG&E’s service territory, and 72 percent of the costs will be attributable to RG&E.

For more information on the advantages of composites over wood in utility applications, visit https://discovercomposites.com/infrastructure/utility-structures/.