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Con Edison Media Relations
Richard D. Mulieri, Director
Telephone: (212) 460-4111

For Immediate Release: May 21, 1997


Con Edison has predicted that a new record peak load for its electrical system, serving three million customers in New York City and Westchester County, will be set this summer.

The anticipated peak of 11,075 megawatts would exceed by 270 the previous summer peak load of 10,805 megawatts set on August 2, 1995. A megawatt is a million watts -- enough power to light 10,000 100-watt light bulbs. The expected record peak would result mainly from the increased use of residential air conditioning, along with some new business growth that has occurred. The peak load projection is important because the Con Edison system, along with the rest of New York's utilities, must have enough power available to meet the projected peak plus a reserve capacity of 18 percent.

The company has the most reliable electric system in the country with only 176 of every 1,000 of its customers having experienced a power interruption in 1996. This figure is five times better than the state-wide average of New York's other utilities.

In order to ensure reliable electric supply to its customers this summer, Con Edison has an extensive program to inspect, test and repair high-voltage cables, transformers and substation equipment. System reinforcement is also nearing completion that will eliminate projected summer overloads on 151 distribution cables, 175 network transformers and at 13 distribution substations. "It's our obligation to provide reliable energy to meet the needs of our customers and we take that responsibility very seriously," said Lou Rana, Con Edison's chief distribution engineer. "Preparing to keep the power flowing means planning for an extended period of hot and humid weather similar to the heat wave experienced in 1995," Rana added.

The transmission facilities that carry power at up to 345,000 volts into and within New York City and Westchester County, undergo a vigorous inspection and maintenance program, which was completed this month. The program includes inspections, and where necessary repairs, at 32 high-voltage transmission substations.

The company's Energy Control Center operators keep an around-the-clock vigil on the electrical system using state- of-the-art computerized monitoring equipment. The data displayed by the monitoring equipment provides early identification of potential problems and allows for quick response to any possible trouble spots. If power outages do occur, the goal is always to keep them short in duration and limited in the number of customers affected.

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