NEW YORK, May 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Con Edison has invested $1.3 billion in its electric-delivery systems to keep service reliable this summer while continuing to be a leader in adding new technologies to build a clean energy future.
Con Edison is preparing for a typically hot New York summer and one that brings the additional challenge of protecting the public and employees during the coronavirus health emergency.
The company projects summer bills for typical New York City residential customers will be higher this summer due to more people staying home, as well as increased supply charges by power generators. In Westchester County, supply charges may result in slightly lower bills for typical residential customers, depending on usage.
Con Edison does not make a profit on these supply charges and has taken steps to defer some of those costs, as customers struggle financially through the pandemic.
Con Edison is working with customers on payment plans, has suspended turnoffs for non-payment and is waiving new late fees. The company advises that the best way for customers to manage their bills is to conserve on energy. Con Edison has a variety of energy efficiency programs for residential and commercial customers and offers energy-saving tips.
Conservation can be particularly important for residential customers who are spending more time in their homes during the pandemic. (Listen to a Con Edison expert talk about ways to save energy at home.)
A typical New York City residential customer using 350 kilowatt hours per month can expect a 9.5 percent increase from $99.14 in 2019 to $108.53 per month in the June-to-September period. A typical Westchester residential customer using 500 kilowatt hours per month can expect an average decrease of 3 percent from $121.32 in 2019 to $117.63 per month.
A New York City business customer using 10,800 kilowatt hours with a peak demand of 31 kilowatts can expect average monthly summer bills to increase from $2,203.94 in 2019 to $2,320.15 this year.
“Safe, reliable power is essential for New Yorkers, particularly during the health crisis,” said Tim Cawley, the president of Con Edison. “We continue to invest to keep our system reliable and are accelerating the integration of clean technologies onto the grid. We also realize that these are difficult times for our customers and have taken steps to ease the financial burden and help them stay safe. Defeating the coronavirus requires a collective effort and the women and men of Con Edison are keenly focused on doing our part.”
Investments in Reliability, Clean Energy
While the company has put some work on hold, crews continue with work that ensures summer reliability, emergency work, and other essential projects.
Company crews have installed new cable and transformers on the underground and overhead delivery systems. The upgrades also include network protectors and work at substations. The upgrades cover all regions of the company’s 604-square-mile New York City and Westchester County service area.
In southeast Brooklyn, the crews have replaced 101 sections of underground cable and installed six new switches that isolate faults, reduce outages and allow for faster restoration of customers.
In Westchester County, the company has continued with its $100 million storm fortification program, installing new poles, cable and switches to toughen the overhead system against storms. Storms often follow heat waves when warm, moist air fills the atmosphere.
A project to enhance service in the northeast area of Staten Island replaced 170 spans of overhead conductor, 110 poles and 20 transformers. The project also includes the addition of four smart switches to the grid.
Con Edison is also applying its engineering expertise to take stress off certain equipment in the southwest area of the Bronx, where the demand for power has grown. The company is transferring 6.6 megawatts of customer demand from one set of underground cables to another set that has capacity to accommodate the load. The project involves installing new cable and 2,000 feet of conduit.
Impact of Health Emergency
Con Edison’s initial projection for peak demand for electricity this summer was 13,220 megawatts under design weather conditions. But if major restrictions on opening businesses remain in place, demand could peak at 12,000 megawatts under design conditions. The record is 13,322 megawatts, which occurred at 5 p.m. on July 19, 2013.
The company expects that more people staying at home due to the pandemic will result in less demand for power in highly commercial areas, such as Midtown Manhattan. But demand in residential areas will increase, particularly on weekdays, as people who are home during the day use their air conditioners and other appliances.
Con Edison will take temporary steps if extreme heat and high energy usage place stress on the grid. Those steps would include sending mobile generators to areas in need.
Con Edison crews working in the streets practice social distancing with each other and the public and use face coverings when the requirements of the work make social distancing not possible. They follow the guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Emerging Battery Technology & Clean Solar
Battery technology has improved rapidly in recent years, providing Con Edison with another tool to help keep service reliable when the demand for power soars on hot summer days.
Con Edison and its partner GI Energy have placed a battery system at a customer property on the North Shore of Staten Island. Under an agreement, Con Edison can discharge power into the grid at times of high demand. The system can provide 1 megawatt – or 1 million watts, making it a 1-megwatt/1 megawatt-hour system.
Con Edison has a 2-megawatt/10.6-megawatt-hour battery system on company property in Ozone Park, Queens. The system, which the company debuted last year, discharges power into the local grid at times of high demand, taking stress off the electric-delivery equipment upstream of the system.
Con Edison partnered with Enel X to install a 4-megawatt/16-megawatt-hour battery system – the largest in New York City - at the Gateway Center shopping center in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood.
Con Edison also encourages customers to consider whether solar energy is right for them. Customers have completed nearly 32,000 solar projects that produce 290 megawatts of clean, renewable power. That is equal to 381,800 megawatt hours a year, enough to prevent 270,000 tons of carbon emissions, or the equivalent of more than 58,000 cars off the road.
Counting combined heat and power, fuel cells and batteries, Con Edison customers provide more than 500 megawatts of power via distributed energy resources.
Save More with 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:
- A $50 discount for buying a smart thermostat at Con Edison Marketplace and another $85 for registering it with Con Edison’s Bring Your Own Thermostat (BYOT) Program.
- Rebates on heat pumps (mini-splits and geothermal systems) that can also cool your home.
Con Edison is offering incentives for commercial and industrial customers. They include:
- Rebates on Energy Star and DesignLights Consortium-qualified lamps. Speak to your lighting distributor for details.
- Savings for upgrading to more efficient LED lighting. Get up to $300 per LED fixture. See more information on available incentives.
- Small and medium-size businesses can get a free, no-obligation energy assessment of their facility. Con Edison will pay up to 70 percent of the cost for qualified lighting, HVAC, refrigeration and gas system upgrades.
Since 2009, Con Edison’s energy efficiency programs have helped more than 1 million customers make upgrades preventing 6.8 million tons of carbon emissions. That’s the equivalent of more than 1.4 million cars taken off the road for one year.
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 $59 billion in assets. The utility delivers electricity, natural gas and steam to 3.4 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y. For financial, operations and customer service information, visit www.conEd.com.
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Photos accompanying this announcement are available atCon Edison at work Tim Lewis, a Con Edison Electric Operations lead mechanic, working on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.Con Edison at work Con Edison workers planning their day of work at a temporary work location in the Sherman Creek section of Manhattan.Con Edison Engineer Jorge Tua in the company’s energy storage system in Ozone Park, Queens.