Of course the big question is, how much will this overhaul will cost ratepayers?

RG&E’s parent company AVANGRID says it needs to harden its power grid and help minimize the impact of future storms.

As the frequency and severity of storms increase, AVANGRID says it plans to invest $2.5 billion to overhaul its systems and find solutions to help its customers.

RG&E has been blasted by customers and fined by NYS regulators for how slow it has been to respond during recent major power outages.

In the past 16 months alone, AVANGRID says its incurred $450 million in storm damage and restoration costs in New York and Maine.

“You can’t continue to repair the system in the same way…so we feel it is time to give it a deeper look,” AVANGRID Vice President of Communications Michael West told Messenger Post's news partner, News10NBC.

Customers like Rich Miller, who lives in an Irondequoit neighborhood that’s particularly prone to power outages, think it’s about time.

“We've lived in this house several years, we've lost power every year for several years... it's literally like over and over and over...I think we all understand that listen, if you 70 mph winds you're going to have power outages, if you get a really bad winter storm, you're going to have power outages but it comes down to communication to me, letting me know that things are okay and you're going to be here and you're going to be here when you say you're going to be here, that's the key,” he says.

Some of the major changes AVANGRID plans to make in the RG&E territory include, accelerating the replacement of wood polls and increasing use of what’s known as “tree wire” which minimizes outages when tree branches fall on it.

The company says it will also be more aggressive with “ground to sky” tree-trimming and fully implement what’s called Automated Metering Infrastructure.

The AMI technology, “allows signals to be sent back to our control center so we’ll have a better and deeper viability into what’s happening across the system from an outage perspective and be able to dispatch people quickly,” according to West.

AVANGRID also wants to move more of its infrastructure underground.

“Undergrounding is a very expensive proposition…we’re looking at the circuit data, the performance of the system after storms and deciding, this particular area for example, is one that’s a candidate for undergrounding because of what’s been happening and the geographical area it’s in,” says West.

West wasn’t able to provide specific details as to how much of the $2.5 billion would be spent in the Rochester area or the particular communities/neighborhoods that would be targeted for the work. 

He says the company is still finalizing the plan and expects to announce more in the next 6-8 weeks.

Of course the big question is, how much will this overhaul will cost ratepayers?

West says the company is hoping to offset some of the cost with the savings it has garnered from the federal tax overhaul.

In addition, it’s planning to use company profits but it’s likely it will also ask state regulators to either shift or increase money paid by customers, “we think that over time what customers will find is there's a very small investment that's going to give them a higher level of service, what that is, is ultimately up to the commission (public service commission) to decide,” West said.

When pressed further for even an estimate, West adds “we're sharpening those numbers now and we'll have a lot more to communicate in the next 60-90 days."