Con Edison Invests $2.4 Billion in Summer Reliability
Company Makes Upgrades Across the Region; Urges Customers to Conserve Energy, Take Advantage of Money-Saving Incentives
Con Edison has invested a record $2.4 billion in its electric delivery system to keep service reliable ahead of the sizzling summer heat.
The company is maintaining the reliability of its system while leading the region’s clean energy transition. Con Edison helps customers connect solar projects, offers incentives for the electrification of buildings and transportation and is deploying battery storage projects.
Con Edison has achieved several clean energy milestones recently. The company has helped customers connect more than 57,000 solar projects with the combined capacity to produce 517 megawatts. Customers in the energy efficiency programs for small and medium-sized businesses have saved more than 1 million megawatt hours of power.
The company also completed construction of a transmission line in Queens, one of its Reliable Clean City projects. The Queens line and associated substation upgrades enabled the retirement of an inefficient, polluting power plant in Astoria.
The pre-summer upgrades will help keep service reliable across the service area. They include 61 underground transformers, 100 transformers on the overhead electric delivery system, 148 spans of overhead wiring and 198 poles.
“New Yorkers count on Con Edison to keep the power on in every season and that’s why we have made record investments this year in advance of summer heat waves,” said Matthew Ketschke, the president of Con Edison. “We thank our talented workforce for completing these infrastructure improvements, as we build a cleaner, greener, and more resilient grid.”
The investments are among the improvements Con Edison is making to fortify the grid against extreme weather resulting from climate change. Specific projects Con Edison has undertaken for this summer include:
- Manhattan: Installation of new transformers and cable to improve reliability in the Harlem and Yorkville neighborhoods.
- Staten Island: New substation equipment in Grant City and additional switches with remote control and data monitoring in Castleton Corners, South Beach, Willowbrook, Woodrow and Annadale.
- Brooklyn and Queens: Improvements to increase reliability and resiliency and meet growing demand in Red Hook, Sunset Park, Williamsburg and Gravesend in Brooklyn and in Ridgewood, Middle Village, Maspeth and Richmond Hill in Queens.
- The Bronx: New conductors in Mott Haven, Hunts Point, Soundview, and Parkchester.
- Westchester: Smart switches that reduce the number of customers who lose service when a tree or branch hits a power line.
Con Edison projects that the demand for power this summer will peak at 12,990 megawatts. Last summer’s peak occurred at 5 p.m. on Aug. 9 when the company provided 12,424 megawatts. The record is 13,322 megawatts, which occurred at 5 p.m. on July 19, 2013. (One megawatt is equal to 1 million watts.)
Con Edison’s preparation for summer includes emergency drills that help workers across the company stay sharp in responding to heat waves and other weather events.
Thanks to Con Edison’s robust investments over many decades, the company’s service is among the most reliable in the world. The system contains myriad redundancies, meaning that if a piece of equipment fails, customers will be served by another component.
The New York State Public Service Commission measures utilities’ reliability with a metric that shows the average number of times a customer is interrupted for five minutes or more. Con Edison’s number is .15. The outage frequency for the rest of the state was more than seven times higher than in Con Edison’s area.
A typical Con Edison customer goes about seven years without losing power. This does not include outages due to major storms and certain other events.
During heat events, the company’s operators can reduce voltage on the system to take stress off equipment. Workers also cool transformers to keep them in service during extreme heat.
New technologies help Con Edison maintain the reliability of its service. The company’s operators can open switches on the 4-kilovolt overhead system in areas of Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx to prevent power from shifting from failed cables and onto other cables that remain in service. That prevents the cables still in service from becoming overloaded.
Operators can also use the smart meter system to shut off the flow of power in a targeted way when delivery equipment in an area is under stress. The shutoff will affect only residential customers who are served by the specific equipment that is becoming overloaded.
These temporary interruptions prevent larger outages that would take longer to restore. Commercial customers remain in service because it is important for public safety that businesses like gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies and others stay open.
Critical customers such as hospitals, fire stations and police stations, will also remain in service. These interruptions also will not affect households that have registered as having a resident who depends on life-support equipment.
Conserve to Save
While increased supply costs continue to affect bills, customers may see an increased delivery cost by summer’s end. An investment plan is pending before the New York State Public Service Commission.
The best way for customers to save on their bills is to manage their usage. Con Edison offers a range of energy efficiency programs that pay customers who make energy saving upgrades.
Programs are available for residential customers, those with low incomes, small businesses, large commercial and industrial properties, and multi-family buildings.
Business customers can also earn incentives from Con Edison’s smart usage programs under which they agree to conserve at times when the demand for power is high.
Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $16 billion in annual revenues and $63 billion in assets. The utility delivers electricity, natural gas and steam, and serves 3.6 million customers in New York City and Westchester County. For financial, operations and customer service information, visit conEd.com. For energy efficiency information, visit coned.com/energyefficiency. Also, visit us on Twitter and Facebook.