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National Grid CEO Speaks on Climate Change

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – The Chief Executive Officer for National Grid said Thursday that the "October Surprise Storm" taught them some lessons on how to cope with massive power-outages.

Steve Holliday was the keynote speaker for the final event in UB's climate change series, "Greener Shade of Blue."

But he also had something to say about the blacker shade of black-outs.

Holliday said the October storm was a grim reminder of what climate change can do. And he said it taught them some valuable lessons about the importance of communications for the best response.

Holliday said the storm also re-enforced what they already knew - the power grid is vulnerable.

Holliday says National Grid is committed to upgrading the grid over the long term. The company will spend $350 million to upgrade its infrastructure in Western New York.

But he said much more is needed to improve service and energy sustainability. The idea, he said is to reduce carbon emissions and create incentives to entice energy consumers to consume less.

But he cautions that none of it will come cheap, particularly without increased government support.

Holliday said it will be important for any future design and upgrades to be flexible enough to deal advancing technologies. And he said there will need to be a diversity of supply to meet future energy demands.

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