Safety & Environment
We invested $3.39 billion in 2021 to fortify our electric, gas, and steam infrastructure. This investment underscores our commitment to providing energy to millions of customers efficiently and responsibly while protecting the environment and keeping people safe throughout our service area.
Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (CECONY) continues to develop tools, techniques, and management strategies to improve safety, troubleshoot problems, and increase efficiency. In 2021, Electric Operations’ Distribution Engineering team used the company’s enterprise data analytics platform and three-phase Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) meter data to develop machine learning algorithms that remotely identify defective equipment. By detecting and repairing these conditions we can help avoid an electrical shock and/or disturbances in customer’s electrical service. In addition, the team worked to advance our thermal imaging capabilities by developing an industry-first thermal and visual borescope camera to help our crews inspect underground electric distribution manholes quickly and safely for high temperature anomalies that may indicate equipment repairs are required. This tool is the latest addition to the technology that CECONY is deploying to identify defective equipment, and risks to members of the public quickly and efficiently. CECONY continues to work to reduce manhole events with multiple programs including its industry recognized latched manhole technology and its vented manhole cover that reduce the severity of manhole events.
CECONY’s underground networks are surveyed for contact voltage 12 times a year, using mobile detectors. In 2021, we found and eliminated 5,803 cases of contact voltage. Of those, 5,264 cases (91%) were on non-Con Edison equipment (streetlights, electric signs, and other structures). We performed more than 39,000 inspections of our underground structures (manholes, service boxes, and transformer vaults).
Orange & Rockland Utilities, Inc’s (O&R) electric system testing is completed at least once every five years. In 2021, O&R performed 36,725 inspections and 39,127 tests.
Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (CECONY’s) strategy for public safety risk mitigation includes the elements of prevention, enhanced detection, and best in class response. Many of its initiatives are industry leading and on the cutting edge of technology.
The Company continues to significantly invest in its main replacement program to remove cast iron and unprotected steel gas mains from its inventory. The Company has replaced 448 miles of such mains in the last five years. Along with other enhanced quality measures, the Company requires 100% independent inspections of all plastic joints installed to confirm quality and compliance. Furthermore, the Company has a robust and proactive damage prevention program that promotes awareness in the contractor community and applies predictive analytics for additional contractor oversight before street work is performed near our critical facilities.
CECONY performs monthly gas leak surveys of its 4,300 mile gas distribution system, far in excess of the traditional annual survey preformed in the industry. The frequency of these surveys allows it to detect leaks in its system as they occur, so that repair can be scheduled in a timely manner. Additionally, the Company has developed first of its kind natural gas detectors integrated with our advanced metering infrastructure. These detectors automatically notify the Gas Emergency Response Center of potential public safety emergencies that require immediate attention. We piloted these detectors in 2018 and have installed over 85,000 detectors thus far. The Company will install detectors in every remaining gas customer’s building over the next four years. Furthermore, CECONY has a comprehensive, multichannel, and multilingual campaign to educate customers and the public at large—an estimated 10 million people across New York City and Westchester County—about gas safety and the urgency of reporting gas leaks. We reach customers primarily through direct mailings, youth outreach efforts, advertising, digital initiatives (such as email campaigns, conEd.com and social media), and community events. We are also continuing our successful media campaign, Smell Gas, Act Fast, featuring videos and social media posts that inform customers on what to do if they smell gas. The videos are in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean.
CECONY emergency response performance is best-in-class. In 2021, the Company responded to gas leaks across the system within 30 minutes, 96% of the time. Furthermore, our close relationship with the Fire Department of New York and Westchester County Emergency Services has ensured that every event is responded to with the utmost urgency and is mitigated quickly. In 2019, CECONY worked with Westchester County Department of Emergency Services to build a new hands-on gas leak emergency training facility for local fire departments to aid in their ability to respond to natural gas leaks effectively and safely.
Orange & Rockland
We have continued our focus on enhancing public safety by modernizing our gas delivery system. Investments to replace leak-prone pipe, primarily unprotected steel and gas mains, have resulted in fewer incoming outside leaks. In 2021, we replaced more than 22 miles of gas mains.
We quickly respond to gas odor and carbon monoxide calls, and in 2021 we responded to more than 91% of calls in 30 minutes.
By providing education to and direct oversight of those performing excavation work near our gas system, we continued to see good performance relative to third-party damages to our gas system. We continue to perform gas leak patrols of our distribution system and have kept the number of open leaks low throughout the year.
We continued to perform internal corrosion inspections and strategically deployed AMI-enabled, natural gas detectors in the territory.
O&R has a comprehensive campaign to educate customers and the public at large about gas safety and the urgency of reporting gas leaks. We reach customers primarily through direct mailings, advertising, digital initiatives, and community events.
Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (CECONY) continues to apply its prevent, detect, and respond risk mitigation strategy to have a deliberate focus on public safety. Many of these initiatives are industry leading and on the cutting edge of technology. For the “prevent” element of the strategy, CECONY continues significant investments in its steam system assessment and main inspection programs that use advanced data analytics to identify areas where specific infrastructure investment is needed. Starting in 2019, CECONY began the first generation of its assessment model and has inspected approximately 7,000 feet of steam main to date. CECONY also recently commissioned into service a full-scale computational fluid dynamic flow model known as, the Kongsberg model. This model simulates the flow of steam and condensate through the piping system using actual field conditions reported from various devices. This model is the first of its kind in the industry and can alert our Engineering/Operations teams to potential conditions that might increase the risk of a water hammer. The model will continue to be validated with field measurement devices over the next five years as it is gradually put into meaningful operations and planning use. Besides these preventive efforts, CECONY also has a robust monthly customer seminar program which educates our customers on how to use our steam service properly and safely in their buildings.
CECONY’s “detect” risk mitigation strategy includes performing weekly or bi-weekly (depending on the season) visual surveys of the 105-mile steam distribution system. CECONY also developed and is enhancing our remote monitoring system. The sensors associated with this system have the capability to detect defective steam traps, excessive water levels within our steam manholes, as well as the performance of drainage pumps. This system automatically notifies our Steam Troubleshoot Dispatch Center of potential public safety emergencies that require immediate attention. Additional improvements to the system are currently in the research and development stages with planned pilots scheduled for 2022.
CECONY’s “respond” risk mitigation strategy includes rapid response, repair, and partnership with external agencies. In 2021, CECONY responded to vapor conditions across the system within 45 minutes, 92.9% of the time. Steam Operations has consistently met this critical response time goal. These performances are also attributed to the close relationship between CECONY and many of the first responders, including Fire Department of New York City and the Department of Environmental Protection. Overall, CECONY conducted eleven (11) training sessions for public and emergency officials on how to properly respond to steam incidents. CECONY also met with various agencies throughout the year to familiarize them with the steam system, hazard recognition methods, and the Company’s internal emergency response procedures. CECONY also conducts drills to test its emergency response process/procedure for steam safety incidents as well as potential oil spill events.