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Con Edison Researcher From Medford, N.Y. Wins Awards For Reliability Projects

Findings on Substations to Help U.S. Utilities -- A Con Edison engineer from Medford, N.Y. won prestigious recognition for findings that will help the utility industry continue to provide customers with reliable electrical service.

Sergo Sagareli, a senior engineer in Research and Development, received two Technology Transfer Awards from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a national energy research organization.

Sagareli, a Con Edison employee since 2007, was a member of two research teams and one of 10 Con Edison engineers to win Technology Transfer Awards this year.

One team's project will help utilities protect their equipment from solar storms, or geomagnetic disturbances. The second team's findings will help utilities protect substations.

"Electricity plays a greater, more crucial role in American life than ever before," said Craig S. Ivey, the president of Con Edison. "Our security, economy and quality of life all depend on safe, reliable power. The findings our researchers have made with EPRI will help utilities provide the high-quality service customers need."

Solar storms release clouds of charged particles from the sun. Those particles can interact with the earth's magnetic field and cause electromagnetic interference on electrical equipment. While a typical solar storm may cause no impact, a large-scale storm can damage equipment like transformers and cause power problems, including a blackout, over a large area.

Con Edison's researchers worked with EPRI to study how electrical systems are likely to respond to solar storms and how utilities can upgrade their systems to ensure reliability and protect equipment during these events.

A second Con Edison team studied the potential damage to the concrete and steel structure of substations resulting from faults on electrical circuits.

When a fault occurs, breakers open to remove the circuit from service. But this creates shockwaves that impact substations.

The team created computer models of substation equipment and the support structures, and simulated faults to determine the potential stress and damage. The findings will help utilities determine the most cost-effective protections to build into substations.

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Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation's largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $13 billion in annual revenues and $46 billion in assets. The utility provides electric, gas and steam service to more than three million customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York.