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Sustainability Journey

Con Edison has been committed to the concepts of sustainability for over two decades – we have learned from our challenges and are proud of our successes. We recognize that sustainability is a journey, and while we have achieved much, we continue to look for ways to improve and meet the needs of our stakeholders.

1993

EPA’s Gas Star Program: As a part of our commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Con Edison becomes one of the first American gas distribution utility companies to voluntarily join the EPA’s Gas STAR Program to reduce fugitive methane emissions.

1994

1989 Gramercy Park Steam Explosion: Con Edison pleads guilty to conspiracy and environmental-law violations for failing to tell authorities of asbestos release as result of 1989 Gramercy Park Steam explosion. The company is convicted as a criminal and sentenced to three years probation under a federal court monitor.

1996

EPA Wastewise: Con Edison voluntarily joins more than 800 businesses and state and local governments to participate in the federal EPA WasteWise program to reduce municipal solid waste.

1998

Arthur Kill Fire: A fire at the Arthur Kill generating station exposes more than 250 emergency workers to PCBs. Con Edison does not immediately disclose their risk of exposure. The company later settles the rescuers’ lawsuit for $2 million.

1999

Commitment to reduce SF6 fugitive: Continuing the commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, CECONY commits to its first SF6 reduction goal, a 5% reduction from a 1996 baseline (we have reduced our SF6 emissions over 90%) as a founding member of the SF6 Emissions Reduction Partnership for Electric Power Systems

Additional highlights:

  • Con Edison Solutions begins offering wind and hydropower to its customers

2000

U.S. Coast Guard William N. Berkert Award: Con Edison is honored by the U.S. Coast Guard with the William M. Benkert Award for Excellence in Marine Environmental Protection. This is the Coast Guard’s most prestigious environmental protection award and is presented in recognition of the company’s outstanding achievements extending far beyond compliance with industrial and regulatory standards.

Additional Highlights:

  • CECONY first approved for company-wide certification to the International Organization for Standardization 14001 Environmental Management System Standard
  • First electronic waste recycling contract established

2001

September 11th Con Edison requires all responding employees to wear respirators. As a result, zero work-related illnesses are reported among company responders.

Additional Highlights:

  • Con Edison endorses the Ceres Principles
  • The National Arbor Day Foundation names O&R a “Tree Line USA Utility” for the first time for leadership in tree maintenance along company rights-of-way; the company will go on to win this award numerous times
  • Con Edison wins the 2001 “WasteWise Champion” award for a series of recycling and other environmentally conscious actions

2002

Energy Company of the Year: Con Edison was named Energy Company of the Year at the Global Energy Awards sponsored by Platts/Business Week. Criteria for the award are overall excellence in safety, the delivery of energy, customer care, technological innovation, and environmental concern.

Additional Highlights:

The EPA awards Con Edison the following:

  • Clean Air Excellence Award for Hunts Point Market Truck Electrification Project
  • Environmental Quality Award for mecury guage exchange program
  • WasteWise Champion Award for recycling program

EH&S Annual report

2003

Climate Change Partnership: Con Edison joined with a group of companies and the World Resources Institute to explore prospective private-sector actions to address climate change.

EH&S Annual report

2004

Committing to Eliminate Stray Voltage: An energized service box electrocutes a 30-year-old-woman. Con Edison develops an inspection and repair program aimed at eliminating contact (stray) voltage and improving public safety.

Additional Highlights:

  • Establishes Demand Side Management Program
  • Clean Air Communities wins at New York State Department of Conversation Environmental Awards for four projects executed in partnership with Con Edison
  • Con Edison Solutions: Earns Quality Supplier of the Year from U.S. Postal Service for millions of dollars of energy savings at hundreds of USPS locations in New York

EH&S Annual report

2005

East River Repowering Project: Con Edison declares full commercial operation of its East River Repowering Project with two state-of-the-art, natural-gas-fired steam generators began providing steam for the company’s district steam system, and supplying electricity to New York’s grid. The two newly installed steam-electric generators have up-to-date emission-control technology and burn natural gas exclusively, making the East River station one of the cleanest combustion facilities in New York.

Additional Highlights:

  • Con Edison was named as a “Champion of Diversity” by the New York Urban League

EH&S Annual report

2006

Con Edison ranked second in DiversityInc magazine’s 2006 “Top 50 Companies for Diversity.”

EH&S Annual report

2007

Lexington Ave. Steam Main Rupture: A 24-inch steam main rupture in Midtown Manhattan, opening a 35-foot wide crater in the middle of Lexington Ave. and injuring 45 people. Con Edison immediately declares the area an asbestos-containment zone and takes all appropriate precautions, demonstrating our lessons learned from the Gramercy Park and Arthur Kill events.

Additional Highlights:

  • CECONY reaches a 75% reduction in hazardous waste generation from 1997 levels
  • Named top-ranked US Utility for S&P 500 by the Carbon Disclosure Project
  • Honored by the Financial Times/Citi Private Bank for the “Greatest Improvement in carbon efficiency achieved by a large Enterprise in the Americas”
  • Ranked second of 27 international utilities in environmental and social performance by Innovest Strategic Value Advisors

EH&S Annual report

2008

Pilegrove, NJ, Solar Farm: Groundbreaking is announced for Con Edison Development’s 20-megawatt installation in Pilesgrove, NJ, one of the largest in the country.

Additional Highlights:

  • ConEdison Solutions earned a Supplier Excellence Award under the 2008 United States Postal Service (USPS) Supplier Performance Awards Program
  • Installed our first green roof (pictured above) at our training facility in Long Island City, in  cooperation with Columbia University’s Center for Climate Systems Research
  • Recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for replacing paper insulated lead-covered cable with nonleaded solid dielectric cable

Sustainability Report Executive Summary

2009

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): CECONY begins participation in first RGGI compliance period

Additional Highlights:

  • Named to Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the first time
  • Newsweek magazine named Con Edison to its Green Rankings list as one of the country’s  most environmentally friendly utility companies
  • Con Edison Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standards Programs initiated
  • 5-year goal to drop OSHA rate to first-quartile performance established
  • Dunwoodie substation fire and release of approx. 15,000 gallons of oil to the environment accelerates water vulnerability assessment and establishment of corporate Spill Management Team

Sustainability Report Executive Summary

2010

Pilesgrove, NJ Solar Farm: Con Edison Developments’ 20-Megawatt installation in Pilesgrove, NJ, one of the largest in the country, ground-breaking is announced

Additional Highlights:

  • Ranked first among all S&P 500 companies by the Carbon Disclosure Project in its Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index, as well as first among utilities in the new Carbon Performance Leadership Index
  • Received Honorable Mention in the EPA WasteWise Partner of the Year Award for recycling over 60,000 tons of materials
  • Earned perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which rates company practices and policies related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees
  • Con Edison Solutions installs its first behind the meter solar power at seven sites in MA
  • Con Edison Solutions was recognized by Johnson County in Kansas where our Kansas office won a “Green Business Award” in recognition of its achievements in promoting sustainability and environmental responsibility
  • Resolved three water-related consent orders for a total cost of over $6.5M

Sustainability Report Executive Summary

2011

2020 GHG Emission Goal Achieved: Exceeded our 2020 goal to reduce GHG Emissions 40%

Additional Highlights:

  • Met extreme weather challenges including Hurricane Irene (200,000 outages were most in Company history to date), heat waves, and a Halloween snowstorm
  • Oil-to-Gas Conversion Group established
  • First GRI Index published
  • CES announces City of New Bedford, MA city-wide, multi-site solar power initiative that will reduce the City's overall energy spending through a goal of installing up to 10 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, enough to power approximately 1,500 homes

Sustainability Report

2012

Superstorm Sandy: Superstorm Sandy hits Northeast region and is the worst natural disaster to strike Con Edison’s customers in the company’s history. Sandy caused five times as many outages as the next-largest storm, totaling 1.1 million customer outages. Within 12 days, the company had restored service to 98 percent of the customers affected by the storm. As a result of Superstorm Sandy, and in acknowledgement of the influences of climate change , the company has committed $1B in storm hardening activities to improve grid resiliency from future storms.

Additional Highlights:

  • CECONY achieves its 5-year OSHA goal two years ahead of schedule, cutting the rate by more than half from a 3.24 to 1.28
  • CECONY dealt with the challenges associated with the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America. By the expiration date at midnight on June 30, 2012, the parties were still not in agreement. In the early hours of July 1, the union did not agree to company proposals to extend the contract or to sign a separate agreement providing there would be no-strike or lockout without advance notice. The company believed it would be unfair to ask Con Edison customers to live under the threat of a sudden strike that could undermine the reliability of their energy services, and concluded it had no choice but to lock out the union employees to protect the safety of the system and provide its customers uninterrupted service. The lockout lasted for just under a month, concluding with an agreement reached on July 26th.
  • Con Edison Development becomes 5th largest solar producer in North America
  • Con Edison Solutions was again recognized by Johnson County in Kansas where our Kansas office won a “Green Business Award” in recognition of its achievements in promoting sustainability and environmental responsibility

Sustainability Report

2013

Gas Addition Projects Complete: Gas additions to two steam plants significantly reduce the CECONY fleet’s use of oil as a primary fuel, resulting in an average reduction of 150,000 short tons of CO2 emissions annually.

Additional Highlights:

  • Sustainability Strategy re-designed by Leadership Team to better embrace the triple bottom line
  • Received Outstanding Achievement in Residential Program Design and Implementation, and Outstanding Achievement in Pricing and Demand Response for CoolNYC program, along with ThinkEco, from the Association of Energy Services Professionals
  • O&R named 2013 Business Leader of the Year, by Leadership Rockland

Sustainability Report

2014

EAST HARLEM GAS EXPLO SION An explosion involving natural gas leveled two buildings in East Harlem and eight lives were tragically lost. We have increased gas safety patrols to help identify leaks sooner and prevent accidents. To better educate the public about gas leaks, Con Edison has created an online gas map and enhanced communications about the importance of reporting the smell of gas.

Additional Highlights:

  • We invested $2.3 billion to keep our electric, gas, and steam systems reliable, resilient, and secure
  • We’re now more than halfway through our four-year plan to fortify our energy infrastructure against changing weather patterns
  • We added solar farms in California, Nevada, and Texas. We also augmented our renewable profile by entering the wind market with projects in Ohio, Nebraska, and South Dakota
  • Our customers installed nearly 3,000 new solar systems – more than all in our combined history – in our service territory from Orange County to Staten Island

Sustainability Report

2015

Advanced Metering Infrastructure: We are meeting customer demand for choice, convenience, and control through our Advanced Metering Infrastructure initiative.

This smart meter technology will reduce operating costs and improve customer service. Over the next five years, we will invest $1.3 billion to install smart meters and advanced communication systems throughout New York City, and Westchester, Orange, and Rockland counties. It’s the biggest capital improvement project in our history.

Additional Highlights:

  • Ranked No. 1 among utilities in the Eastern U.S. by J.D. Power for our focus on the customer experience
  • Named “Investor-Owned Utility of the Year” by the Solar Electric Power Association for smart-grid technology that connects large solar installations to the grid
  • Invested more than $626 million to strengthen and expand infrastructure
  • Converted more than 1,300 large New York City buildings from oil to gas, and installed another 2,200 new business services. The 1,300 conversions have reduced emissions of 92 tons of fine particulate matter. That’s equivalent to taking about 300,000 cars off the road
  • Exceeded our target of replacing 65 miles of cast iron and unprotected steel pipe, even with a doubling in the number of gas-odor calls we’ve responded to in the past two years
  • Ranked sixth among the top solar project owners in North America; invested $778 million in renewable projects

Sustainability Report

2016

Moving Toward a Clean Energy Future:

This summer, we began the installation of more than 5 million smart meters, which will give customers unprecedented control over their energy use. We’re the fifth-largest solar producer in North America, and we’ve invested more than $2.5 billion in renewable energy projects in 16 states.

Additional Highlights:

  • Our New York City customers have completed 9,700 solar-related projects, producing 101.2 megawatts. That’s enough energy to power 15,000 homes
  • O&R completed a solar installation project in Orangeburg—the first solar installation on a capped landfill in New York State
  • New York City’s largest solar installation, in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, is a Con Edison project
  • Our steam-gathering stations reduced carbon dioxide emissions by seven percent compared to the 2008-2009 average. That’s equal to taking 44,000 cars off the road
  • JD Power ranked us No. 1 in customer satisfaction among large utilities in the East

Sustainability Report

2017

Progressing with a Clean Energy Vision

We are leading the transition to a clean energy economy by investing in renewables, energy-efficiency programs for both electric and natural gas customers, and customer-focused power generation, which will all result in significant environmental, social and economic improvements.

Additional Highlights:

  • The New York State Public Service Commission reached a $153 million settlement with us related to the investigation of a 2014 East Harlem gas explosion. Since that incident, we’ve greatly increased investments in our gas systems to further enhance public safety
  • Hundreds of Con Edison personnel and contractors cleaned up insulating oil released from one of our transformers in a Brooklyn substation. The transformer contained 37,000 gallons of oil, of which 6,400 gallons was recovered from the damaged equipment. The remainder was released onto the soil at the substation. Some of the oil leaked into the East River. About 560 gallons was recovered from the river. The oil contained low levels of PCBs ranging from 6 to 8 parts per million. During cleanup, the Coast Guard issued speed restrictions. Those restrictions were reduced as oil sheens dissipated. We are upgrading our spill containment to prevent a reoccurrence
  • The New York League of Conservation Voters, a group that includes business leaders, environmentalists, and politicians, honored us at their annual gala

Sustainability Report

2018

Progressing with a Clean Energy Vision

We are leading the transition to a clean energy economy by investing in renewables, energy-efficiency programs for both electric and natural gas customers, and customer-focused power generation, which will all result in significant environmental, social and economic improvements.

Additional Highlights:

  • Our September announcement of a $2.1 billion acquisition of solar and wind projects will move us from the sixth to the second largest solar producer in North America; this doubles the amount of green power we own, which will prevent 5.4 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually – equal to removing 1.2 million vehicles from the roads
  • We are the first utility in the country to install game-changing smart natural gas detectors that can detect gas leaks early and notify emergency responders faster than customer calls usually do
  • The March Nor’easters caused more outages in Westchester than Hurricane Irene in 2011; in response, the company committed to invest $100 million in Westchester to make the overhead system more storm-resilient and to address hazardous trees on private property to encourage removal and minimize outages
  • In July, an underground steam pipe ruptured in the Flatiron district that released asbestos, steam and debris onto the streets, sidewalks and more than 40 buildings; the cause is being investigated by Con Edison and the New York State Public Service Commission
  • Con Edison and O&R crews were part of a massive mutual-aid campaign to restore power in Puerto Rico, which was devastated by the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. More than 100 company vehicles and some 500 employees, including power line workers, technical specialists, and support personnel, were involved.

Sustainability Report

2019

Building Sustainable Communities and a Cleaner Energy Future

Now one of the largest solar producers in North America, Con Edison is leading the way toward a cleaner energy future. We’re developing clean heating technologies as an alternative to fossil fuels, along with modernizing the grid to make it easier for customers to integrate renewable energy sources. As a next generation energy company, Con Edison is supporting a host of schools and community programs that are helping to prepare a whole new generation for green careers.

Additional Highlights:

  • Acquired solar and wind projects worth $2.1 billion, through our Clean Energy Businesses, making us the second largest solar producer in North America. The acquisitions doubled the amount of green power we own, which will avoid 5.4 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually – equal to removing 1.2 million vehicles from the roads
  • We’ve placed a temporary moratorium on new gas projects in most of Westchester, where natural gas constraints are severe. To help fill the need, we’re expanding energy efficiency and demand management programs to natural gas customers and seeking smart solutions, such as renewable natural gas and geothermal projects, as an alternative to fossil fuels. We continue to work toward additional gas infrastructure projects that can meet federal and state requirements
  • Providing low- and moderate-income customers access to the benefits and savings of clean energy by installing solar panels atop New York Housing Authority buildings
  • Supporting the state’s efforts to develop large-scale renewable generation, including offshore wind, while advocating for utility development and ownership, which would allow customers to reap the benefits and savings of renewable energy
  • We’re introducing college students to the possibility of future environment and energy careers through our Con Edison Scholars Network. It’s a community of Con Edison STEM Scholarship recipients from colleges and universities in our service area. Students are paired with employees who are alumni from their schools for mentorship. Networking and professional development helps foster their growth and excitement for science, technology, engineering and math careers

Sustainability Report

2020

Tomorrow’s Clean Energy Future Starts Today

Today our customers are more environmentally conscious than ever. Their passion reinforces our own commitment to combating climate change. We’re experiencing an increase in violent storms, extreme heat, and major flooding. The higher frequency of extreme weather—and our increased dependence on energy in our daily lives—underscores the need for reliability and an accelerated reduction of fossil fuels. That’s why Con Edison commits itself to being a next-generation, clean-energy company, delivering the transition to the clean energy future that our customers deserve and expect.

Here is a snapshot of the past year:

  • We ranked seventh among solar energy producers worldwide. With a presence in 19 states, we’re also the second largest solar producer in North America.
  • Con Edison released results of a comprehensive climate change vulnerability study. It found the most significant climate-driven risks to Con Edison’s systems include sea level rise, coastal storm surge, inland flooding from intense rainfall, hurricane-strength winds, and extreme heat. The report estimates the company might need to invest between $1.8 billion and $5.2 billion by 2050 on targeted programs to protect our electric, gas, and steam delivery systems and shield customers from the impacts of climate change.
  • We joined several coalitions challenging the federal rollbacks of clean-energy standards, including the repeal of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Affordable Clean Energy Rule and the repeal of the Clean Power Plan. We’ve also joined the coalition to defend strong state auto emissions standards.
  • Con Edison continues to pursue natural gas alternatives, largely in Westchester, including energy efficiency measures, electric heating options, and ground-source heat pumps.
  • Through our Clean Energy Businesses, we acquired 191 megawatts of solar projects, which includes the 80-megawatt Water Strider Solar in Virginia; the 101-megawatt Battle Mountain Solar in Nevada; and 10-megawatt Lakehurst Solar in New Jersey.
  • Orange & Rockland continued its first large-scale energy storage deployment in Monsey, Pomona, West Haverstraw, and Blooming Grove.
  • We experienced an unprecedented outage in July in which 72,000 customers in Manhattan lost power. All customers had their power restored in less than five hours. The cause was determined to be a faulty wiring mistake. Additionally in July, we intentionally turned off equipment in Brooklyn to avoid catastrophic damage. This resulted in an outage for 33,000 customers, while allowing us to keep the power on for 99,000 customers who would have lost power otherwise.
  • We coordinated more than 125 drills and exercises, including a two-day national exercise, to test our response to physical- and cyber-security threats.

2021

For a Better Future

Everything Con Edison does as a company is with an eye toward creating a more sustainable, clean energy future for our customers, our nation and the planet. We’re committed to providing alternative forms of energy that give consumers more choices and help to make our communities healthier and greener. We understand the threats posed by climate change, and we’re taking bold steps to mitigate those threats and create a better world for ourselves and future generations.

Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve done in the past year:

  • We developed a climate resiliency and adaptation plan to change how we strengthen our energy systems based on our climate change vulnerability study.
  • CECONY’s $1.6 billion green bond issuance was the largest of its kind in the U.S.
  • We’re the second-largest energy producer in North America, and the seventh largest solar provider in the world and we now have a solar energy presence in 20 states.
  • Con Edison committed to the goal of 100% clean electricity by 2040. To that end, we’re accelerating the move toward electric vehicles by connecting thousands of new public and customer-owned charging stations.
  • We’re expanding efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuels for heating through energy efficiency, investing in emerging technologies and our innovative clean-energy technologies, including our Smart Solutions program.
  • Con Edison has the largest steam network in the U.S., which eliminates about 1 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.
  • Our company plans to invest $1.5 billion in energy efficiency by 2025 to meet statewide targets.

2022

Moving Forward

Con Edison has solidified its status as an industry leader in providing safe and reliable energy to customers while protecting the environment and fostering a more diverse and inclusive workforce. With our Clean Energy Commitment and all-in support for solar and wind projects and electric vehicles, we’re showing a way forward for the sustainability of our company and the environment. We remain a company that gets big things done, and that will continue in 2022.

Here’s a snapshot of some of our accomplishments in the past year:

  • Our Safety Leadership System app led to a reduction in operating errors and our achievement of one of the highest safety ratings in company history. The app earned a President’s Award from the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies.
  • We’re offering upgrades to customers for more energy-efficient equipment. Since 2009, those upgrades have reduced carbon emissions by 11 million metric tons.
  • We’ve announced our plan to invest $2 billion by 2030 to fortify our energy-delivery systems to protect them from extreme weather events.
  • With more than 130 projects across 20 states, we’re the second-largest producer of solar energy in North America.
  • We trained low-and moderate-income residents to install solar panels on the roofs of 40 New York City-owned apartment buildings.
  • We’ve announced our plan to invest $1.5 billion in transformers and other equipment to strengthen our electric-delivery system.
  • The New York Times spoke to experts who called our climate change resilience plan “the gold standard” in our industry.
  • We’re about to take delivery of the first all-electric utility bucket truck.
  • We donated $12.6 million to more than 600 nonprofits that have struggled since the pandemic.
  • We’re close to completing our rollout of 5 million smart meters across our service area.

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