A Clean Energy Future
Sustainability Report 2016–2017
2016-2017 Sustainability Highlights
Con Edison has been committed to sustainability for more than 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.Timeline
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.
1989 Gramercy Park Steam Explosion: Con Edison pleads guilty to conspiracy and environmental-law violations for failing to tell authorities of asbestos release as a result of the 1989 Gramercy Park Steam explosion. The company is convicted as a criminal and sentenced to three years probation under a federal court monitor.
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.
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.
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.
- Con Edison Solutions begins offering wind and hydropower to its customers
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.
- CECONY first approved for company-wide certification to the International Organization for Standardization 14001 Environmental Management System Standard
- First electronic waste recycling contract established
September 11th: Con Edison requires all responding employees to wear respirators. As a result, zero work-related illnesses are reported among company responders.
- 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
Energy Company of the Year: Con Edison is 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 mercury gauge exchange program
- WasteWise Champion Award for recycling program
Climate Change Partnership: Explores prospective private-sector actions to address climate change with the World Resources Institute.EH&S Annual report
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.
- 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.
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 which 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.
- Con Edison was named as a “Champion of Diversity” by the New York Urban League
DiversityInc: Con Edison ranked second in DiversityInc magazine’s 2006 “Top 50 Companies for Diversity."EH&S Annual report
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.
- 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
Sustainability Strategy and Communication: Sustainability Strategy first established and first Sustainability Report published.
- Con Edison Solutions earned a Supplier Excellence Award under the 2008 United States Postal Service Supplier Performance Awards Program
- Installed our first green roof 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
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): CECONY begins participation in first RGGI compliance period.
- 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
Pilesgrove, NJ Solar Farm: Con Edison Developments’ 20-Megawatt installation in Pilesgrove, NJ, one of the largest in the country, ground-breaking is announced
- 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
2020 GHG Emission Goal Achieved: Exceeded our 2020 goal to reduce GHG Emissions 40%.
- 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
- Con Edison Solutions 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
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.
- 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
East Harlem Gas Explosion: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.
- 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
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Ranked sixth among the top solar project owners in North America; invested $778 million in renewable projects
Moving Toward a Clean Energy Future: We are leading the transition to a clean energy economy by investing in renewables, energy- efficiency programs, natural gas and electric transmission, and customer-focused power generation, which has produced significant environmental improvements.
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.
- 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 energized a solar installation project in the Town of Clarkstown—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
- The New York League of Conservation Voters, a group that includes business leaders, environmentalists, and politicians, honored us at a May 2017 gala
- 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.
- JD Power ranked us No. 1 in customer satisfaction among large utilities in the East
- 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