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Con Edison Media Relations
Contact: Michael J. Spall
Telephone: (212) 460-4111

For Immediate Release: June 19, 1998


Picking up the telephone to report a power outage could become a thing of the past for Con Edison's 334,000 Westchester customers, if a 3-inch by 3-inch device named Power Sentry performs as expected.

Con Edison's Research and Development department along with Leach Industries of Lizella, Georgia developed the Power Sentry. It simply plugs into a standard electrical outlet and a telephone jack. The device doesn't require any customer maintenance or interaction, won't interfere with normal telephone use and works whether the customer is home or away.

"We are very excited about the potential wide-spread use of Power Sentry. If electric service is interrupted for more than one minute, the Power Sentry device automatically calls Con Edison's Customer Service voice-response unit computer and notifies the company that the customer has lost power," said Hussein Elbadaly, Con Edison's manager of customer research and development. "Power Sentry transmits the customer's account number over standard telephone lines, allowing Con Edison to issue a repair request and dispatch field crews to an outage involving one home or an entire neighborhood. Once power is restored, Power Sentry calls our computer again to inform us," Elbadaly added.

A three-month long pilot program began this week with 117 Con Edison employees who live in Westchester County. When the initial field test is complete in September, a second pilot with 600 Westchester County customers participating will begin.

"If sufficient customer demand exists, our plans are to mass produce Power Sentry devices, which will reduce the cost to about $10 per unit," said Denis Kaminek, systems specialist with Con Edison's central customer operations. "Future enhancements to expand Power Sentry's uses are possible, including an interface with fire protection, pager services and security systems," he added.

Several hundred Power Sentry devices will be available early next year after field tests are completed, on a first- come first-served basis for Westchester homeowners.

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.

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