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Con Edison Invests in Better Tools for the People Who Are Building the Clean Energy Future

Con Edison & Partners Are Developing Tools to Keep Workers Safer and Improve Grid Resiliency & Reliability to Combat Effects of Extreme Weather

Con Edison is developing technology that will help improve the safety of its highly-skilled workers as they build, maintain and repair the underground electric cables that carry the power needed to achieve a clean energy future.

“To meet ambitious climate goals and mitigate the impacts of climate change, the energy industry is undergoing seismic shifts in the speed and scope of its work,” said Patrick McHugh, senior vice president, Electric Operations, Con Edison. “That’s why Con Edison is thinking boldly about what we do and how we do it with safety as our top priority. We are investing in technology that will help keep energy workers safer, make their work more efficient, and produce consistent results that will improve reliability and resiliency for customers.

Con Edison is working on two projects that will improve worker safety by putting a machine rather than a person near the underground power cable to do the work.

Thousands of cable splices are required each year to maintain service to customers while repairs, maintenance and upgrades are made. Splicers, the people who perform splices, often work in cramped underground structures subject to the elements – snow, sleet, rain, and extreme temperatures. They have used the same tools for generations.

Earlier this month Con Edison and ULC Technologies began field testing the Underground Live End Cap Machine. The live end cap machine makes isolating damaged cables safer for workers and improves the precision, uniformity, and speed of their work.

End capping is an essential technique used to isolate faulty sections of cable and allow the working portions of the cable to be restored to service to alleviate stress on the grid and reduce customer outages.

The other project, with Prysmian, Exelon and the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will develop a machine that can join two cables at their ends.

This machine will be used for creating networks as well as repairing sections of damaged cable. Splicers will be able to operate the tool remotely to improve their safety, with greater efficiency, and accuracy, which will ultimately improve the reliability of the nation's grid. In addition to reducing risk and the time cable splicing crews need to spend underground, the device will improve the reliability of the splices and the time needed to complete a splice.

The ARPA-E has provided $4.5 million in funding for this effort.

Prysmian will be at booth 659 and ULC Technologies will be at booth 760 at the upcoming DistribuTECH International Conference on Feb. 26th to Feb. 29th at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando Florida.