Con Edison Invests in Summer Reliability While Leading Clean Energy Transition

June 3, 2021
Company spends US$1.5 billion to upgrade systems for summer 2021, ushering in renewables, low-carbon technologies.

Con Edison has completed projects throughout New York City and Westchester County to maintain its reliability while continuing to lead the state's shift toward renewables and other clean technologies.

The company invested US$1.5 billion on new cable, transformers, network protectors, switches, and other components that make its electric-delivery system robust.

Meanwhile, the company continues to lead New York State's transition to a low-carbon, clean energy future. Con Edison is adding energy storage to its system and investing in transmission to bring renewable energy to customers. The company is helping customers save with energy efficiency programs, connect solar panels, and adopt electric vehicles (EVs).

"We are making targeted investments based on data and metrics to keep our service reliable while leading the transition to a low-carbon future with cleaner air and water, better health, and an economy driven by green jobs," said Matthew Ketschke, the president of Con Edison. "We are optimistic about our region's economic and environmental prospects as we emerge from the enormous challenges the pandemic has posed."

"The perseverance of New Yorkers has placed our region on the cusp of a recovery from the health crisis," he said. "Their desire for clean energy will help keep our region safe and sustainable for generations to come."

Con Edison crews have installed 22 new network transformers, 120 overhead transformers, 54 sections of underground cable, 175 spans of overhead wire, and 139 utility poles in preparation for the summer. Con Edison also continues to invest in resilience with a project that will place lines serving about 200 customers underground in areas of Queens, Staten Island, and Westchester County.

A project to improve reliability in southeast Staten Island includes the replacement of 26 spans of open wire conductor with 46 spans of aerial cable. It also includes the installation of 21 poles, two manholes, and five overhead transformer replacements.

In White Plains, the company is replacing 49 spans of wire that are overloaded during times of high demand for power.

In addition, Con Edison has developed technology and procedures to limit the number of customers on the overhead electric-delivery system who could lose service when a cable or substation equipment fails because of excessive heat and demand for power.

The company’s operators can open switches on the 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.

Summer Bills

The company projects summer electricity costs for the typical Westchester County residential customer will be higher this summer because of increased supply charges by power generators and an increase in delivery charges that went into effect earlier this year. But supply charges are projected to drop for residential customers in New York City.

Con Edison does not make a profit on these supply charges. The company buys power on the market from generators and provides it to customers at cost.

A typical Westchester residential customer using 500 kWh per month can expect an average increase of 6.5% from US$122.32 in 2020 to US$130.31. A typical New York City residential customer using 350 kWh per month can expect a 4.2% decrease from US$106.58 in 2020 to US$102.11 in the June-to-September period.

A New York City business customer using 10,800 kWh with a peak demand of 31 kW can expect average monthly summer bills to increase from US$2234.89 in 2020 to US$2497.75 this year.

In recognition of the hardship the pandemic has created for many customers, Con Edison last year suspended turnoffs for nonpayment and is waiving new late fees. The company offers payment plans for customers having trouble paying their bill. Customers with arrears should call 1-800-75-CONED to discuss payment plans.

Con Edison projects that demand for power this summer could peak at 12,880 MW under design weather conditions. Last summer's peak of 11,740 MW occurred on July 28 at 2 p.m. The 2020 peak was driven down by the closure of many businesses and office buildings. The record is 13,322 MW, which occurred on July 19, 2013, at 5 p.m.

If demand for power places stress on the delivery system, the company can take special steps such as rolling generators to neighborhoods. Operators can also reduce voltage or move power among cables to prevent any from becoming overloaded.

Con Edison's Clean Energy Commitment

Con Edison supports the environmental goals of New York City and New York State, as it makes clear in its Clean Energy Commitment.

Con Edison is all in on EVs because studies show that meeting the environmental goals will require a dramatic decrease in emissions from transportation.

Under the company’s PowerReady incentive program, parties that install level 2 or direct current fast chargers can offset some, or in certain cases, all of the upfront infrastructure costs of preparing a site.

The aggressive program will provide incentives for about 19,000 charging plugs across New York City and Westchester County by the end of 2025.

Customers who install solar panels on their homes and businesses save on their bills and provide an assist to Con Edison’s quest to keep service reliable. Customers have installed more than 38,000 solar arrays with the capacity to produce 344 MW of renewable power.

During the course of a year, the panels could produce enough power to prevent the amount of greenhouse gases produced by 70,000 vehicles.

In a Con Edison demonstration project with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), nonprofit Solar One, Accord Power, and other partners apprentice solar panel installers are placing panels on three NYCHA developments. The power will go to low- and middle-income Con Edison customers at discounted prices.

Con Edison and a business partner recently placed online a 1-MW battery system at a customer site on City Island in the Bronx to buttress reliability along the Main Street business strip at times of high demand. The storage system is the second Con Edison has installed under a demonstration project. The first was on the North Shore of Staten Island and the next will be in Woodside, Queens.

The company has a 2-MW battery system in Ozone Park, Queens, to support reliability at times of high demand.

Con Edison is ahead of schedule on the largest capital project in its long history, having completed the installation of four million of the more than 4.8 million smart meters it is providing to customers. The rollout will be substantially complete by the end of the year, though workers will finish up in 2022 by installing up to 200,000 meters in properties where they have had trouble getting access despite repeated tries.

Smart meters give customers more information and ability to manage their usage, which saves them money and brings environmental benefits. The meters also let Con Edison operators adjust voltage levels and reduce the power that customers need to serve a given load. Reducing power usage lowers the fuel required to generate power and reduces the associated emissions.

Energy Efficiency Upgrades

Customers can save money by using less energy. Con Edison offers customers incentives to make money-saving upgrades to their homes and businesses. For this summer, Con Edison is offering residential customers:

Con Edison is offering incentives for commercial and industrial customers. They include:

  • Cash incentives for installing energy efficient electric and gas equipment.
  • Instant lighting incentives.
  • Savings for upgrading to more efficient LED lighting. Customers can get up to US$300 per LED fixture. For more information on available incentives, visit here.
  • Small and medium-size businesses can get a free, no-obligation energy assessment of their facility. Con Edison will pay up to 70% of the cost for qualified lighting, HVAC, refrigeration, and gas system upgrades.

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