NewsCon Edison Media Relations
Contact: D. Joy Faber
Telephone: (212) 460-4111
For Immediate Release: December 3, 1998
CON EDISON'S RETAIL CHOICE PROGRAM TO BEGIN SECOND PHASE
The Retail Choice Program enables customers in Con Edisonís service area of New York City and Westchester County to purchase electricity from other energy suppliers, while continuing to have Con Edison deliver the electricity. Con Edison customers already have the option to purchase natural gas from other suppliers.
Enrollment for phase two of the Retail Choice Program begins in January 1999. Customers will receive a detailed brochure with specific enrollment dates and other useful information in their Con Edison bills starting the week of December 7. The ďmailmanĒ ads, which will run on virtually every major television station in Con Edisonís service territory, will direct Con Edison customers to look for the Retail Choice brochure that will be included in special envelopes marked "Shedding Light on Electric Competition."
A "Retail Choice Shopping Credit" will be shown in a message at the bottom of customersí December and January Con Edison billing statements. The Shopping Credit can help customers compare prices offered by registered energy services companies (ESCOs).
Customers who could not be accommodated in phase one of Retail Choice will be given priority for enrollment in phase two. Other customers will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, within the limits established for each service class. Enrollments will be expanded in coming phases of the program, so that all customers who wish to purchase from other suppliers will be accommodated no later than 2001.
As in the first phase of Retail Choice, Con Edison will continue its extensive customer education program, including broadcast and print advertising, bill inserts with updated listings of registered ESCOs, a toll-free information line at 1-800-780-2884, and consumer and community group presentations. Information about Retail Choice is also available on Con Edisonís Internet web site at www.coned.com. There are currently 27 ESCOs registered with the New York State Department of Public Service that have taken the steps necessary to participate in Con Edisonís Retail Choice Program.
"The electricity market is complex and we realized that a phased-in approach would be the most beneficial way to introduce competition to our three million customers," said Marilyn Caselli, Con Edisonís vice president of customer operations. "We learned a lot
from our experiences during phase one of Retail Choice, and weíve made the necessary adjustments to better accommodate our customers and the ESCOs serving them in phase two," she added.
Con Edison launched the first phase of the program last spring. A strong customer response resulted in doubling the programís original size of 500 megawatts of peak electric load to 1,000 megawatts. At present, more than 62,000 customers are now purchasing their electricity from unregulated ESCOs.
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.