#PrepTalkNYC {Click here to listen to episode 83}    

Utility providers are an integral part of the disaster cycle. Although these organizations may be private companies, utility providers often operate like government agencies: They have robust emergency plans to mitigate various disasters and initiatives that address climate change, and respond to emergencies like utility disruptions, power outages, and infrastructure failures.   

On the latest episode of “Prep Talk,” Patrick McHugh, senior vice president of electric operations and Matthew Sniffen, vice president of emergency preparedness at Con Edison, along with Larry Torres, manager of emergency preparedness at PSEG Long Island, discuss  how utility providers prepare for and respond to emergencies. The trio share how they work with emergency management agencies and how utility providers fit into the disaster cycle. They also discuss community outreach programs implemented by their respective organizations to prepare New Yorkers for emergencies like power outages and disruptions.  

“We work very closely with New York state, New York City, and Westchester County,” said Patrick McHugh, Con Edison senior vice president of electric operations. “Not only do we work with them in planning but also in responding to emergencies.” 

“Preparation has been the most important thing,” said Matthew Sniffen, Con Edison vice president of emergency preparedness. “We conduct drills throughout the year internally and with our government partners.” 

“We are more similar than we are different when it comes to emergency response,” said Larry Torres, manager of emergency preparedness at PSEG Long Island. “Our primary focus is the safety of our employees and customers. We do that by restoring power and safely and efficiently.” 

You can listen to the latest episode on SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, and Spreaker.   

Profile                    

Patrick McHugh is senior vice president of electric operations for Con Edison. He is responsible for the safe, reliable operation of the electric distribution system in New York City and Westchester County. McHugh also plays a key role in the company’s transition to renewables and a clean energy future. He is a 31-year veteran of Con Edison, having joined the company as a management intern in 1991.  

Matthew Sniffen is vice president of emergency preparedness for Con Edison. He oversees the corporate planning and execution of the company’s response to storms, heat waves, and other emergencies. Sniffen helped plan and design the improvements Con Edison made to its energy delivery systems to harden them against severe weather after Superstorm Sandy struck in 2012. He has also served in a variety of roles since joining Con Edison in 1982. 

Larry Torres is the manager of emergency preparedness and is responsible for managing and leading activities in emergency preparedness, distribution automation, and the outage management system group at PSEG Long Island. He has more than 31 years of gas and electric utility experience. Torres graduated cum laude from Polytechnic University in Brooklyn (NYU Tandon School of Engineering) and obtained his MBA in finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business. He is also a New York State Licensed Professional Engineer.