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For Immediate Release: April 15, 1998


Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Con Edison) today proposed a long-range plan for the company's steam system that addresses the resources, costs and economic viability of the system, as well as the potential for competition.

Under the plan, Con Edison proposes to sell at auction its Waterside and East River steam-electric generating plants. The plan anticipates that the sale of these properties will encourage the plants' new owners to develop new, modern steam-producing plants that will serve as a major source of the area's steam supply in future years. The plan also seeks to moderate steam price increases for customers.

"We worked closely with our customers in developing this plan," said William Harkins, Con Edison's vice president of Energy Management. "Our plan will help ensure a continued, reliable supply of steam, promote rate stability that will help our customers control their energy costs, and provide a fair return to the company's investors," Harkins added.

The plan also recognizes the changes that are occurring as Con Edison's electric business is being restructured and recommends that the steam business be examined in the same fashion.

"We're very pleased with Con Edison's proposal," said Peter L. DiCapua, president of the Owners Committee on Electric Rates, an organization of real estate owners and operators that includes New York's major steam users. "Con Edison met with us and gave us the opportunity to work on developing this plan. We expressed our concerns about the assurance of a continued, reliable supply of steam at reasonable and controllable rates in the future. They took our concerns seriously and satisfactorily addressed those issues in their plan," added DiCapua.

Con Edison's long-range plan for the future of its steam system is subject to review by the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), as is the plan for the auction of the two steam-electric generating facilities. As part of the process of developing the plan, the company received input from the PSC staff as well as from consumer groups.

In a steam-electric generating plant, steam is produced along with electricity as a by-product of the electric generation process, which is more efficient than producing electricity and steam at separate facilities. Con Edison's plan recognizes the potential for re-powering the steam-electric plants with more-modern cogeneration technology that will help reduce costs.

Under a settlement agreement reached with the PSC last September, Con Edison agreed to maintain current steam rate levels through September 2000. New York has the lowest rates of any steam system in the Northeast and, after taking experienced inflation into account, the real price of the steam purchased by Con Edison's customers has declined by 40 percent since 1981.

Con Edison's steam system is one of the largest in the United States, with more than 100 miles of mains and service pipes serving more than 1,900 customers south of 96th Street in Manhattan. Steam provides heat and hot water, and also the energy to run steam-powered air conditioning equipment for many of Manhattan's largest buildings, hospitals and other facilities.

Con Edison is one of the nation's largest utility companies, with more than $7 billion in annual revenues and approximately $15 billion in assets. The company, a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., provides electric, gas and steam service to more than three million customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York. \n\n\n\n\n

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