Core System Upgrades
The Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) project is the largest project in company history. Some 5.25 million smart meters – comprised of roughly 3.9 million AMI electric meters and 1.35 million gas devices – are being deployed across our service territory and will result in significant environmental, operational, and customer benefits.
Smart meters put unprecedented control into the hands of our customers. With the company’s updated website and digital customer experience, customers can see their energy usage in near real-time and make smarter, more informed decisions about managing their energy usage, controlling costs, and helping the environment.
Deployment of the communications network and smart meters began in 2017 and ends in 2022. More than 5,000 communications network devices have been installed throughout the company’s entire service area. In 2017, meter installations began in Staten Island, Westchester, and Rockland County. Last year, we began installing meters in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Orange and Sullivan Counties, while completing deployment on Staten Island. Westchester is targeted to be completed in 2019. Meter deployment in the Bronx began in January 2019, while Queens is slated to begin in July.
To date, more than 1.2 million devices have been installed. The AMI Operations Control Center is currently staffed 24/7 to monitor the communications network, as well as the meters and gas modules connected to the network.
Con Edison began working with the MTA in 2017 with its emergent MTA signal meter circuits initiative. We completed the installation of AMI meters and communications network devices on MTA signal meter circuits in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx by the end of March 2018. We also created a monitoring dashboard that provides insight into MTA signal power events. Since November 2017, more than 100 events have been identified.
The AMI project team has worked closely with Gas Operations and the AMI vendor to develop a first-of-its-kind, battery-powered natural gas detector that is integrated with the AMI network. The natural gas detectors are safety devices that monitor the atmosphere where Con Edison’s gas pipes enter our customers’ homes and buildings. They provide an alert when natural gas levels in that area indicate a potential leak that could be dangerous. Through the communications network, the detectors send a wireless alert to Con Edison if a potential gas leak has been detected, allowing Con Edison and the fire department to respond quickly. A pilot program to install 9,000 detectors began in October 2018 in parts of Westchester and will begin in a part of Manhattan in 2019.
AMI will let the company operate the system at optimal voltages – known as conservation voltage optimization (CVO) – reducing total energy consumption, as well as associated power-generation emissions. Analysis shows that information from the AMI system can be leveraged to reduce energy usage across our service territory by approximately 1.5% on average, decreasing associated fuel use for committed generation resources. This results in an environmental impact of 1.9% less total CO2 emissions, due to reduction of power generated annually by fossil fuel plants across our service territory, and 1% total carbon reductions in NY state. AMI will be providing engineers and planners with more granular data, enabling potential design and operational improvements. Con Edison began implementing CVO in Staten Island at the end of 2018 and plansto begin implementation of CVO in Westchester in 2019. CVO will continue to be implemented across our service territory through 2022.
Con Edison invested $1.386 billion in its transmission and distribution systems in New York City and Westchester County to prepare for the summer 2019. The investment included upgrades and reinforcements of 27 network transformers and 58 overhead transformers. We also plan to upgrade 61 underground feeder sections and 262 spans of overhead cable.
Con Edison projects that peak demand for electricity in the summer of 2019 will reach 13,270 megawatts – the actual previous peak summer demand was 12,766 megawatts, seen on Sept 6, 2018. (The record is 13,322 megawatts, which occurred at 5 p.m. on July 19, 2013.) We are integrating new technology to make service more reliable. Con Edison has installed 2,500 devices in manholes to detect stray voltage, heat and carbon monoxide in underground structures, and communicate this information back to the control room. Another 3,000 are planned for 2019. These devices have already detected seven instances of energized objects in those structures. By remotely monitoring these conditions, we were able to eliminate a condition that could have led to an event or a shock. Con Edison is also using tools that take infrared images of hot spots not visible to the human eye in cables and connections. The technology helps identify problems that would otherwise go undetected and leads to prompt repairs.
Electric Transmission Pipe Enhancement
We are investing $40 million in 2019 to totally encapsulate 6,292 linear feet (1,573 trench feet) of leak-prone transmission feeder pipe using the new refurbishment method of carbon fiber wrap application. We’re addressing another 1,500 trench feet using the method of installing welded steel sleeves or barrels in corroded areas. In 2018, we refurbished a total of 8,743 trench feet of piping and invested $14 million in spill response and remediation efforts to improve the environment. We expect to make significant progress in research and development to reduce the potential for future oil spills. We’re also investing in research and development that can replace existing oil-filled feeders with solid dielectric cable.
Our underground transmission system consists of 660 miles of 69-, 138-, and 345-kilovolt feeders encased in steel pipe surrounded by high-pressure dielectric fluid (a non-toxic synthetic compound similar to mineral oil). The conductors inside our steel pipes are wrapped in paper insulation, filled with and pressurized by the dielectric fluid at a nominal pressure of 200 pounds per square inch. In some feeders the dielectric fluid is circulated and cooled to provide enhanced current-carrying capability. Approximately nine million gallons of dielectric fluid is contained within the feeders, the pressurization plants, and the cooling plants.
Our leak-detection methods are some of the most sophisticated in the world:
- We use real-time monitoring of some of the largest volume feeders to constantly check their integrity.
- We infuse our oil with a special tracer gas to help us rapidly locate and uncover leaks.
- If significant leaks occur, we often remove feeders from service to allow them to be placed on reduced pressure to slow the leak rate.
- We use proactive tracer patrols to find and repair incipient leaks before they worsen to minimize environmental impact.
To repair leaks, we excavate to uncover the feeder pipes and apply a mechanical clamp to stop the flow. Permanent repairs are complete when a concentric steel barrel is wielded over the clamp and the pipe. The pipe is then re-coated before the excavation is restored.
The standards for measuring the reliability of distribution service are the System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) and the Customer Average Interruption Duration Index (CAIDI). SAIFI is compiled annually, and the figure represents the number of service interruptions divided by the number of customers served. CAIDI, also compiled annually, represents the average time to restore service to interrupted customers. The CAIDI figure results from the total customer minutes of interruption divided by the total number of customers affected. For both figures, a low number indicates a better performance.
2018 NUMBERS FOR CECONY (electric)
CAIDI: 164.9 minutes
2018 NUMBERS FOR O&R (electric)
CAIDI: 107 minutes
Gas Main Replacement
In 2018, Con Edison replaced more than 90 miles of cast iron and unprotected steel pipe. This replacement level exceeded our company’s commitment to the New York State Public Service Commission by more than six miles and was the company’s highest ever in a single year. It also met the 4% replacement rate that we targeted in accordance with the EPA’s Methane Challenge.
Methane is the primary element in natural gas and a major greenhouse gas. Replacement of cast iron and unprotected steel pipe with polyethylene plastic pipe or protected steel pipe prevented an estimated12.0 million cubic feet of annual natural gas leakage.
In 2018, O&R replaced 27 miles of leak-prone pipes, after eliminating all cast iron pipes in Rockland County in 2017.