Leadership and Strategy

Letter From The Chairman Utility of the Future
Five Business Overview Strategy
Enterprise Risk TimeLine

Managing Our Business

Environmental Performance Safety
Policy Management and Regulatory Impact Governance and Business Ethics
Auditing and ISO Certification Cost Management

Reliability and Resiliency

Reliability Resiliency

Meeting Community Needs

Customers Strategic Partnerships
Employees Shareholders
Supply Chain  


Executive Summary Data snapshot


safety_landingAt Con Edison, Zero Harm is our commitment to realizing injury-free work performance and getting the job done without harm to the public, our contractors, or our employees. We coordinate a robust safety program, communicate with our employees every day about the importance of identifying and mitigating hazards, and work to empower employees to take ownership of their own safety and that of their teammates. We also rely on our employees to identify ways that we can improve safety. These combined efforts resulted in another great year of safety performance, with Con Edison of New York achieving an OSHA rate of 1.31, and Orange and Rockland reducing their rate to 1.26. Also of note, Con Edison of New York saw a 50-percent reduction in the occurrence of high severity injuries. More about our efforts to keep the public and the contractors safe are discussed in this report’s Contractor and Public Safety sections.


Con Edison is committed to public safety, and we incorporate safety considerations into our system planning, design work, and system operations. We conduct formal periodic inspections, testing, and maintenance of our electric, gas, and steam transmission and distribution infrastructure to ensure that system elements will continue to provide safe and reliable service. Our work in the street meets extensive requirements for work-area protection to keep our employees and the public safe from potential hazards. Our safety teams and committees meet regularly to identify and share best practices to quickly mitigate street-work hazards.

Con Edison of New York regularly communicates safety information to customers in the quarterly Customer News bill insert. Orange and Rockland customers receive an insert titled @home four times per year. Both publications include energy safety information, seasonal safety tips, severe weather safety advice, and reminders about staying safe around downed power lines. Both companies also send separate bill inserts throughout the year regarding energy safety and gas safety, along with other messages like gas pipeline safety, Call 811, storm preparation tips, Smell Gas/Act Fast, and CO safety.

Orange and Rockland and Con Edison of New York both offer safety tips on their websites, including information about residential electric and gas use, carbon monoxide, and generator safety. In addition, both companies use paid advertising online and in print to remind people what to do if they think they smell gas. Con Edison and Orange and Rockland also send emails to customers with energy safety tips and storm safety information before and during severe weather to remind customers how to report outages. Press releases on this subject are also issued and posted on the website.

  • Public: Contact Voltage Testing

    Contact Voltage Testing


    Con Edison of New York performs ongoing extensive contact-voltage testing. Contact-voltage is the presence of electrical energy where it should not be present, such as on traffic lights, lampposts, and sidewalk grates. We use a fleet of vehicle-mounted detectors to identify locations and sources of contact voltage. These high-tech vehicles are dispatched throughout the company’s service territory year-round, and are equipped with sensors to detect as little as 1 Volt.. Handheld devices are also used for manual detection of contact voltage.

    The mobile contact-voltage-detectors have a distinct advantage over the manual testing technique.  Because the mobile detectors do not require direct contact with objects to identify contact voltage, we can survey large geographic areas more quickly, and repeat the scans multiple times in any given year. The manual testing program surveys structures in New York City and Westchester County once each year. In 2014, our mobile detectors completed 13 system scans. These detection programs found and eliminated 3,298 cases of contact voltage. Of these cases, 1,288, approximately 39 percent, were on non-Con Edison equipment, such as streetlights, electric signs, and other structures.

    Orange and Rockland carries out comparable contact-voltage testing in its territory. Orange and Rockland tested 17,796 overhead and 613 underground distribution structures in 2014, along with 2,501 traffic signals and streetlights. In 2014, there were five contact-voltage findings in excess of 1 V identified in the O&R service territory. They were corrected, and there were no associated injuries.

  • Public: Structure Inspections

    Structure Inspections

    Our underground system has approximately 278,000 manholes, service boxes, transformer vaults, and above ground pad-mounted structures; approximately 24,700 miles of underground ducts; and approximately 95,000 miles of underground cable including primary, secondary, and service cables. High voltage (primary) network cables operating at primary voltages supply underground distribution transformers that step the voltages down to levels that are used to power customer equipment

    The Commission’s Safety Standards require utilities to inspect all electric facilities at least once every five years. In addition, the Safety Standards require that defective equipment found during inspection be repaired. In accordance with the Safety Standards, Con Edison uses severity levels to establish priority for repairs and scheduling.

    In 2014 the company completed approximately 84,000 underground inspections.

  • Public: Leak Mapping

    Leak Mapping


    Driven by our firm commitment to safety, Con Edison and Orange and Rockland have always far exceeded requirements for communicating about the safe use of natural gas. For years, we have surpassed (INDUSTRY OR REGULATORY?) guidelines to include gas safety messages in two bill inserts per year. Instead, we developed a comprehensive and integrated multi-lingual campaign aimed to educate all New Yorkers about the importance of recognizing and reporting gas leaks year-round.

    We include gas safety messaging in each issue of Con Edison’s quarterly Customer News insert, as delivered to all 3.3 million Con Edison customers. Gas safety is also included in O&R’s @Home bill insert, as delivered to all 430,000 O&R customers. An annual energy safety campaign includes a gas safety message in ads that run in local newspapers, on the radio, and in the subway. We produced a gas safety video describing how to recognize and report gas leaks and the hazards of carbon monoxide.

    The automated on-hold messaging provides another gas safety emphasis opportunity.  A gas safety message is played for all customers who are not immediately able to reach a customer service representative at our call center.  The center fields approximately 6.5 million calls per year.   

    Our long-term partnership with Scholastic, Inc., teaches nearly 100,000 students in grades 3 through 8 about energy safety. Customer Outreach staff distribute brochures including gas safety information at community events. Our mobile apps include information about identifying and reporting the smell of gas. An annual mailing to contractors reminds them about the importance of calling 811 before they dig.

    In 2014 we continued to expand our already-robust efforts to further broaden our reach to the 10 million people who live and work in our service area. Our audience includes our customers, the general public, first responders, and elected officials, as well as contractors who perform work around gas lines.  In 2015 we also established a Con Edison Gas System Update website which shares the company’s understanding of the March 12, 2014 incident in East Harlem, highlights the interactive gas leak mapping we’ve developed for the public in the past year, and informs about our enhanced gas safety website.

    We recognize that we serve the most diverse population in the world, in a crowded communications market. To make the biggest impact and ensure these important safety messages are reaching all customers, we have expanded our multi-lingual offerings from just Spanish to now include four more languages widely spoken among our customer base: Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Haitian Creole.

    Our updated peel-and-sniff bill insert includes a language block with all five foreign languages, and a QR code offers a quick link to gas safety information on our website where Google translations are also available. In addition, our call center can arrange for translations of any language not spoken by our operators. We are also reaching out beyond bill inserts and our traditional energy education campaign to promote gas safety messages on social media and through ethnic radio stations and many print publications’ websites.

    Research shows that the majority of New Yorkers are “very” or “somewhat familiar” with the smell of natural gas. Although they are routinely informed about the urgency of reporting a gas leak immediately, there is a gap between people’s understanding that it is an emergency and their behavior when it comes to reporting it.

    More research, including focus groups and phone surveys, helped us to better understand the disconnect between identifying the odor and associating it with an emergency requiring immediate action. We learned that some people, especially apartment-dwellers, don’t make the call because they assume someone else already has. We also learned that some residents following their building’s protocol opt to call their building superintendent first instead of letting us know they suspect a gas leak. Still others expressed concerns about having to identify themselves to authorities if they made a call.

    Based on the insights from that research, we launched the “Smell gas. Act fast.” campaign that featured bolder graphics and a clearer call to action, as well as instructions to call 911 or Con Edison/O&R right away, raising the level of urgency. We also let the public know that calls can be made anonymously. Further research conducted by the Northeast Gas Association confirmed our findings about these barriers.

    Our revamped energy education campaign focuses on gas safety messaging for the print, outdoor (subway, phone kiosks, and bus shelters), and digital media outlets. To that end, we conducted an online digital ad campaign to test headlines and select copy based on audience engagement. Insight from our market research and this digital testing led us to a new headline for one of our gas safety print ads: “You thought they reported the gas leak. They thought you did.” Since June, our energy campaign has reached a print audience of 5.3 million, a digital audience of 17.8 million, a radio audience of 300 million, and subway impressions of 1.7 billion.

    Most recently, Con Edison launched the first interactive online gas leak map that provides the location of current leaks on the system along with data indicating the severity of the leaks. Updated every 24 hours, the map provides greater transparency about gas leaks and reinforces the need to report the smell of gas.

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Working toward an injury-free workplace requires commitment from all levels, from the CEO to the entry-level employee. Con Edison has made gains in establishing a strong safety culture that encourages employees to internalize and apply the corporate commitment to safety every day on every job.

As a result of their personal commitment to safety, many Con Edison employees, working independently or in teams, introduce significant innovations that can be applied company-wide. These initiatives substantially reduce safety risks associated with recurring work, or common tasks. Some employee-developed technologies are so distinctive that they are awarded patents, and in certain cases, the methods and technical innovations draw interest from other utility companies nationwide. Some examples include developing a matrix of error-avoidance tools to improve job planning and work performance, engineering means for inspecting structures before entering them, rethinking efficiency opportunities in oil management, and providing equipment manufacturers with feedback and alteration requests that will led to improved performance.

  • Employee: PERFORMANCE


    Con Edison’s commitment to safety again drove performance improvement in 2014. Our safety program and communications support all personnel as they work together toward an injury-free workplace and to improve public safety. Con Edison of New York and Orange and Rockland share lessons learned and ideas through company communications, event reporting and various safety committees.

    The OSHA Incidence Rate is a federal standard for quantifying the frequency of work-related injuries and illnesses. In 2009, Con Edison of New York committed to a five-year goal of achieving an OSHA Incidence Rate of 1.50 or lower by 2014. In 2014, the company surpassed its goal by achieving a rate of 1.31.

    While our OSHA Incidence Rates were at an all-time low last year, we recognize that reducing the severity of injuries is most important. Two of Con Edison of New York’s 158 injuries in 2014 were categorized as a “significant high-hazard.” Although no high severity injury is acceptable, this level marks a 50-percent reduction from prior year’s performance, and the all-time lowest number since the metric was introduced in 2008.

    Orange and Rockland achieved an OSHA Incidence Rate of 1.26 in 2014, bettering its goal of 2.50 or lower. At Orange and Rockland, programs and processes are designed to heighten safety awareness while reducing occupational injuries and preventable motor vehicle collisions. In 2014, these programs and processes included the following:

    • Use of the No Injury Program (Close Call) to identify and mitigate risks prior to an incident. In 2014, Orange and Rockland revised their program to enhance mitigation and reduction of risk across the company.
    • Continued use of physical and occupational therapists to reduce the potential for injuries related to strains, sprains, and ergonomic stressors.
    • Supporting Safety Team ad-hoc committees in evaluating accident trends and developing recommendations for reducing both occupational injuries and motor vehicle collisions.
  • Employee: Job Planning

    Job Planning

    Safety is critical in every step of the job, especially during planning. Con Edison incorporates safety considerations in the planning process procedurally through the environment, health, and safety review of every project the company undertakes, ensuring the review of safety issues in the early planning and design phase. An evaluation of the task hazards and safety precautions is reviewed with employees during the job briefing prior to every job and whenever the job changes. We also coach on adherence to planning and observance of safety best practices during Job Site Safety Exchanges.

    A Job Safety Analysis (JSA) identifies potential hazards associated with each step of a particular job or task, recommends steps to eliminate or reduce them, and specifies controls needed to perform the job or task safely. They are designed to be used during the planning phase of projects, and can also be used for job briefings as a means of evaluating each step of the task at hand. Supervisors can use the findings of a JSA to eliminate and prevent hazards in their workplaces.

    The JSA program continued to grow in 2014, with an additional 19 tasks completed using the standard JSA template that was developed for all organizations. A majority of tasks reviewed and completed focused on electrical tasks in the Overhead area of Electric Operations.

    In 2015, Con Edison is encouraging collaborative efforts related to safety improvements, and JSAs are being recommended as a way to achieve that Key Performance Indicator. To achieve a Zero-Harm culture across Con Edison, we will engage all employees in building shared values that prevent harm to one another, the public, and the environment. This program element will use the JSA as a tool/reference during the creation of job briefings, and as a reference during Job Site Safety Exchanges (JSSE).

  • Employee: Self Assessment

    Self Assessment

    Analysis of injury trends shows that a significant portion of Con Edison’s safety incidents are caused by human performance factors, or human error. Human performance evaluates how certain behaviors or actions can result in errors, and how modifying those behaviors and actions can prevent them. We seek to identify the situations when errors are most likely to be made and apply the appropriate tools to prevent them. In addition, we analyze lessons learned from past events to avoid repeating errors. Tools we use to avoid errors include:

    • Training
    • Effective communication
    • Questioning attitude
    • Procedure adherence
    • Self-check/peer-check
    • Job briefings

    In 2014, the focus was on “self-assessment.” This is the formal or informal process of identifying one’s own opportunities for improvement by comparing present practices and results with desired practices, results, and standards. Because no one knows how things are done better than those working in the organizations, “self-assessments” can be the most effective means of identifying latent weaknesses within the organization.

    With the continued use of error-avoidance tools, we have seen tremendous improvement in areas such as operating errors, OSHA recordable injuries, and significant human performance incidents. Human performance initiatives have positively influenced our performance. Employees are much more aware of the human performance lapses that result in safety-related incidents, including motor vehicle collisions. The increase in human performance awareness coupled with the use of error-prevention tools has raised employees’ focus of “being in the moment,” and resulted in increased situational awareness and reductions in errors, injuries, and incidents in general.

    In 2014, we developed the human performance awareness e-learning module. This was used as awareness training for all Central Operations’ employees, and as an introduction for new employees. Going forward, it is the intention that all organizations within the company will develop a similar approach, which will help strengthen our goal of becoming an injury-free company.

  • Employee: Communication


    At Con Edison, open communication is critical to success and continued improvement in our safety and environmental performance. We communicate safety messages to employees through health and safety training programs, skills-training programs, and daily job briefings by supervisors and crew chiefs. We encourage employees to submit “Close Calls” – incidents that had the potential to cause injury, property damage, or environmental harm, but didn’t. Lessons learned from these events can prevent similar occurrences from happening again.

    Con Edison communicates urgent safety and environmental need-to-know information such as recent incidents, or seasonal messaging to its employees through “EH&S Alerts,” which are targeted e-mails with a distinctive format that identifies them as priority communications. In 2015, we will improve our outreach to our field forces by expanding the reach of our messaging via new electronic screens at work locations.

    Orange and Rockland’s Corporate Communications group continues to partner with its safety experts to reinforce important employee messages across all internal platforms. Themes ranging from slip, trip, and fall prevention to tick bite protection are covered via Orange and Rockland’s weekly newsletter, intranet, electronic messaging boards, posters, safety videos, and monthly Orange and Rockland update presentations. The (Think)(Ask)(Plan) program remains our brand for safety-related communications and was highlighted in a 2014 video series focused on worksite safety. We also communicate the importance of job briefings, signage, flagging, personal protective equipment inspection, seatbelts, wheel chocks, safety vests, and safety cones in 15-second video vignettes. These communications to employees on timely issues such as recent accidents or seasonal safety concerns supplement information distributed in “Safety Grams,” supervisor updates, and weekly and monthly reports.

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When Con Edison enters into a relationship with a service contractor (such as for excavation, construction, or system maintenance), we verify that the vendor has the financial resources and insurance to meet our needs. We then conduct a rigorous review of the vendor to validate its environment, health, and safety programs, including a review of environmental compliance violations, past safety performance, and any OSHA citations. Depending on the scope of work, we will also perform a telephone interview and ask targeted questions to ensure that the vendor can maintain compliance with applicable rules and regulations.

Contractors are expected to perform to the same level as our own workforce and must comply with Con Edison’s EH&S requirements, including the Rules We Live By and Time Out procedures. Further, Con Edison includes contractor injury incidence as a component of the Safety Index, setting a performance goal equal to that for company employees.

Contractor health and safety programs and site- and task-specific environmental, health, and safety plans (eHASPs) are reviewed by company subject matter experts and EH&S personnel before the contractor begins work. We offer several resources to help contractors develop suitable eHASPs, including online training, an eHASP template and numerous guidance documents. Where a contractor has experienced recent incidents or violations on Con Edison assignments, we may require them to hire a third-party monitor to ensure that they are performing work in accordance with applicable environment, health, and safety requirements.

Con Edison’s Supply Chain department issues a quarterly Newsletter for Contractors, covering recent violations, new regulations, and best EH&S practices employed by exemplary contractors.

Contractors regularly undergo on-site inspections by trained and experienced Con Edison personnel, whose observations form the basis of semi-annual report cards. We also maintain a Contractor Oversight System, and a special Action Line is in place for employees to report contractor environmental, health, and safety violations and potentially risky behavior. A Supply Chain committee reviews contractor violations and assesses disciplinary action (e.g. replace site manager or field personnel, undergo special training, or lose eligibility for further contracts for a specified period of time).

These steps help assure that contractors work safely on company assignments, and in compliance with applicable environment, health, and safety regulations. Achieving continuing improvement in contractor OSHA Incidence Rates is a key performance measure at Con Edison of New York. In 2014, the company’s contractors collectively had an OSHA Incidence Rate of 1.01, surpassing the goal of 1.50 or lower established for the year.

Orange and Rockland requires contractors to complete and submit an environmental, health, and safety program prior to commencement of work. These documents are reviewed and accepted by O&R’s EH&S department. This department, as well as the organizations responsible for the contractors performing the work activities, conducts field audits of work sites to ensure that the contractor is in compliance with their scope of work and associated work rules. Deficiencies or infractions are documented and entered into the Contractor Oversight System and used to negotiate future contracts.

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