Utility workers are working to restore power as quickly as possible, but there are communities who may not have power until the end of November.
Total economic damage of Sandy is being estimated at somewhere between $30 and $50 billion. There is no doubt that power outages contributed a great deal to that cost. In addition, the power loss has become an added challenge for restoring other critical infrastructure services, such as cell phone services and New York City’s subway systems.
While some argue that escaping damage from a once-in-a-century storm would have been impossible, others argue that Hurricane Sandy proved that more investment is needed to strengthen the U.S. electrical infrastructure. Long before Superstorm Sandy was expected to hit the Northeastern U.S., studies had already highlighted the need for more investment to update and improve the aging U.S. power grid, most of which was was built 50 – 60 years ago.
Whether it’s updating equipment designs to make underground cables more resilient to flooding or investing in smart grid technology, experts have no shortage of ideas on how the U.S. can upgrade their electrical infrastructure. In fact, at least one utility company has found that its investment in smart meters has helped to speed up restoration of services post-Sandy.
When looking at the billions of dollars in economic loss resulting from just one natural disaster, it seems that even in financially constrained times, investment in much-needed infrastructure updates that will make power infrastructure as robust as possible, could be money well spent.