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For Immediate Release: April 27, 1998

CON EDISON EXPANDS RETAIL CHOICE TO ACCOMMODATE BRISK DEMAND

Because of the overwhelming demand from Consolidated Edison Company of New York (Con Edison) customers to enroll in the Retail Choice program, the company will expand the programís first phase by 150 megawatts, enabling an additional 16,000 residential and small commercial customers to participate. To be eligible for this expanded first phase of Retail Choice, however, customers must register with an energy services company (ESCO) no later than Thursday, April 30.

Retail Choice enables electric customers to purchase electricity from one of about two dozen ESCOs registered to do business in Con Edisonís service territory of New York City and Westchester County. Con Edison is one of only two utilities in the nation with a fully subscribed Retail Choice Program for all classes of customers. The demand to participate in the program was so strong, the company expanded it to accommodate more customers. By comparison, in the entire state of California, where all customers can choose alternative electricity suppliers, fewer than 50,000 did so.

"Weíre excited about the opportunity to offer the many customers who expressed sincere interest in Retail Choice the opportunity to participate in the program," said Gary Groscup, Con Edison vice president, customer operations. "As far as industry deregulation is concerned, this robust customer response is phenomenal," he added.

On April 15, at the halfway mark of the enrollment period, 36,862 customers registered for Retail Choice, representing 356 of the 500 megawatts allocated for the program. Within six days, total enrollment soared to 47,121 customers, representing 501 megawatts of associated load, prompting Con Edison to expand the program. Of the additional 150 megawatts, 25 megawatts will be made available to accommodate residential and small commercial customers.

Certain classes of small customers will still receive financial incentives of $50 or $75 for electing to participate in Retail Choice. Eligible customers who applied for the initial phase of the program but were unable to participate because of the programís over-subscription will receive preference when selection for the second phase begins. Con Edison officials attribute the success of the program to an aggressive customer education process and a strong marketing effort by the energy services companies, combined with the potential to save money on electric bills.

Retail Choice will be completely phased in over the next several years, giving all customers the option to choose their electricity supplier no later than year-end 2001. Complete Retail Choice information is available on the Con Edison Retail Choice Information line at 1-800-780-2884.

Con Edison is one of the nationís 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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