Consolidated Edison Explained
Consolidated Edison, Inc., colloquially referred to as ConEdison or ConEd, is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the United States, with approximately $14 billion in annual revenues and $36 billion in assets. The company provides a wide range of energy-related products and services to its customers through its subsidiaries:
- Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc., a regulated utility providing electric, gas, and steam service in New York City and Westchester County, New York;
- Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc., a regulated utility serving customers in a 1350sqmi area in southeastern New York and adjacent sections of northern New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania;
- Con Edison Solutions, a retail energy supply and services company;
- Con Edison Energy, a wholesale energy supply company; and
- Con Edison Development, a company that owns and operates generating plants and participates in other infrastructure projects.
In 2005, electric revenues accounted for 64.9% of consolidated sales (68.2% in 2004); gas revenues 15.9% (15.4%); non-utility revenues 13.6% (10.8%); and steam revenues 5.5% (5.6%).
In 1823, Con Edison’s earliest corporate entity, the New York Gas Light Company, was founded by a consortium of New York City investors. In 1824 New York Gas Light was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, it has the record for being the longest listed stock on the NYSE. In 1884, six gas companies combined into the Consolidated Gas Company.
The New York Steam Company began providing service in lower Manhattan in 1882. Today, Con Edison operates the largest commercial steam system in the world, providing steam service to nearly 1,600 commercial and residential establishments in Manhattan from the Battery to 96th Street.
Con Edison’s electric business also dates back to 1882, when Thomas Edison’s Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York began supplying electricity to 59 customers in a square-mile area in lower Manhattan. After the “War of Currents”, there were more than 30 companies generating and distributing electricity in New York City and Westchester County. But by 1920 there were far fewer, and the New York Edison Company (then part of Consolidated Gas) was clearly the leader.
In 1936, with electric sales far outstripping gas sales, the company incorporated and the name was changed to Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. The years that followed brought further amalgamations as Consolidated Edison acquired or merged with more than a dozen companies between 1936 and 1960. Con Edison today is the result of acquisitions, dissolutions and mergers of more than 170 individual electric, gas and steam companies.
On January 1, 1998, following the deregulation of the utility industry in New York state, a holding company, Consolidated Edison, Inc., was formed. It is one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $14 billion in annual revenues and $33 billion in assets. The company provides a wide range of energy-related products and services to its customers through two regulated utility subsidiaries and three competitive energy businesses. Con Edison (NYSE: ED), under a number of different corporate names, remains the longest continuously traded stock on the New York Stock Exchange. Its largest subsidiary, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. provides electric, gas and steam service to more than 3 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York, an area of 660sqmi with a population of nearly 9 million.
- ElectricalThe Con Edison electrical transmission system utilizes voltages of 138,000 volts, 345,000 volts and 500,000 volts. The company has two 345kv interconnections with upstate New York that enable it to import power from Hydro-Québec in Canada and one 345kv interconnection each with Public Service Electric and Gas in New Jersey and LIPA on Long Island. Con Ed's distribution voltages are 33,000; 27,000 and 13,800 volts.
The 93000miles of underground cable in the Con Edison system could wrap around the Earth 3.6 times. Nearly 36000miles of overhead electric wires complement the underground system—enough cable to stretch between New York and Los Angeles 13 times.
- GasThe Con Edison gas system has nearly 7200miles of pipes – if laid end to end, long enough to reach Paris and back to New York City. The average volume of gas that travels through Con Edison’s gas system annually could fill the Empire State Building nearly 6,100 times.
See main article: New York City steam system. Con Edison produces 30 billion pounds of steam each year through its seven power plants which boil water to 1,000°F (538°C) before pumping it to hundreds of buildings in the New York City steam system, which is the biggest district steam system in the world. Steam traveling through the system is used to heat and cool some of New York’s most famous addresses, including the United Nations complex, the Empire State Building, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Consolidated Edison Company Building, designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh, was built between 1910 and 1914. The building, at 4 Irving Place, takes up the entire block between East 14th and 15th Streets and Irving Place and Third Avenue, and was originally built for the Consolidated Gas Company, although its predecessor companies, such as the Manhattan Gas Light Company, were located at the same address as early as 1854. The new building's location had been the site of the Academy of Music, New York's third opera house, as well as the original Tammany Hall building.
Warren & Wetmore's 26-story tower - topped by a "Tower of Light" designed to look like a miniature temple and capped by a bronze lantern which lights up at night - was added between 1926 and 1929.
- 1989: A steam pipe explosion in Gramercy Park killed three, injured 24 and required the evacuation of a damaged apartment building due to high levels of asbestos in the air. Workers had failed to drain water from the pipe before turning the steam on. The utility also eventually pleaded guilty to lying about the absence of asbestos contamination, and paid a $2 million fine.
- 2004: In Manhattan, stray voltage killed a woman walking her dog in the East Village when she stepped on an electrified metal plate.
- 2007: On July 18 an explosion occurred in midtown Manhattan near Grand Central Terminal when an 83-year-old Con Edison steam pipe failed, resulting in one death, over 40 injuries, as well as subway and surface disruptions.
- 2007: The day before Thanksgiving, an explosion critically burned Queens resident Kunta Oza when an 80-year-old cast iron gas main ruptured. Oza died on Thanksgiving Day, and her family later settled with Con Edison for $3.75 million.
- 2009: Another gas explosion claimed a life in Queens while Con Edison personnel were on the scene. There was a leak in a manhole and a fault in an electrical feeder at the same time. The fault in the feeder caused the explosion due to the sparks being generated. When the mechanic opened the manhole more oxygen entered and the explosion took place. Due to that event Con Edison has changed its procedure on outside gas leak calls.
- Kevin Burke, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
- Craig S. Ivey, President
- Robert Hoglund, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
- Carole Sobin, Secretary
- Robert Muccilo, Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer
- Scott L. Sanders, Vice President and Treasurer
- Elizabeth D. Moore, General Counsel
- A former Con Edison building on 48th Street in Manhattan was converted first into the studio for the television game show Let's Make a Deal, and later into a recording studio called “The Power Station” because of its Edison history. In 1996, the studio was renamed Avatar Studios.
In December 2011, the non-partisan organization Public Campaign released a report criticizing ConEd for spending $1.8 million on lobbying and not paying any taxes during 2008-2010, instead getting $127 million in tax rebates, despite making a profit of $4.2 billion, and increasing executive pay by 82% to $17.4 million in 2010 for its top 5 executives.
Notes and References
- Web site: 'A Tale of Two Cities - New York' - The New York City Steam System. International District Energy Association. With district steam service commencing in 1882, Con Edison owns and operates the largest downtown steam system in the world, serving over 1600 buildings with steam supplied from multiple combined heat and power facilities with total capacity of 21,755 (Mlbs/hr) and 627 MW. In 1999, Con Ed completed the ten-year Steam Enhancement program investing over $200 million in system upgrades and maintenance.. 2008-01-09.
- Web site: Electric System. Con Edison. Con Edison operates one of the most complex electric power systems in the world. It is also the world's most reliable.. 2008-01-09.
- Web site: Gas System. Con Edison. Con Edison distributes natural gas to 1.1 million customers in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, and Westchester County, making us one of the larger gas distribution companies in the United States.. 2008-01-09.
- Web site: Steam. Bevelhymer. Carl. Gotham Gazette. When John Velez, co-owner of Sutton Cleaners, arrives at work at 7 a.m. on Manhattan's East Side, he opens a steam valve in the back of his shop. "When I come into the shop in the morning, it's one, two, three," he says, "and you're up and running in less than a minute.". 2008-01-09.
- Web site: Steam System. Con Edison. The New York Steam Company began providing service in lower Manhattan in 1882. Today, Con Edison operates the largest steam system in the world. The system contains approximately 105miles of mains and service pipes and 3,000 steam manholes. Steam is provided from seven Con Edison steam-generating plants, five in Manhattan, one in Queens, and one in Brooklyn, along with receiving steam under contract from a steam plant at the Brooklyn Navy Yard..
- The Academy of Music was preceded by the Italian Opera House of the short-lived New York Opera Company (1833-1835), the first American building designed specifically for opera; and the Astor Opera House (opened 1847) which closed soon after an infamous riot on May 10, 1849 sparked by competing performances of Macbeth by William Charles Macready and Edwin Forrest. p.585, pp.761-765
- News: Evacuation For Asbestos Near Blast Site. Pitt. David E. 1989-08-24. The New York Times. More than 200 residents of a Gramercy Park apartment building that was heavily damaged in a steam-pipe explosion over the weekend were ordered from their homes last night after tests showed what a Consolidated Edison official called "extremely high" levels of asbestos fibers throughout the building.. 2008-01-09.
- News: Con Ed Finds 1,214 Stray Voltage Sites in One Year. Chan. Sewell. 2006-03-04. The New York Times. Consolidated Edison, responding to testing requirements imposed after a woman was electrocuted while walking her dog in the East Village in 2004, found 1,214 instances of stray voltage during a yearlong examination of electrical equipment on city streets, officials disclosed at a City Council hearing yesterday.. 2008-01-09.
- Web site: STEAM REPORT: BUBBLE COLLAPSE WATERHAMMER CAUSED LEXINGTON AVENUE INCIDENT. Con Edison. The steam pipe rupture at Lexington Avenue and East 41 Street on July 18 was caused by a bubble-collapse water hammer that generated a momentary force against the pipe's wall that was more than seven times greater than the pipe's normal operating pressure, according to reports issued today by two independent experts commissioned by Con Edison. The pipe itself was found to be in good condition and did not contribute to the event.. 2008-01-09.
- Web site: Anger over gas explosion death. New York Daily News. 2007-12-20.
- News: House Exploded Just Before a Check, Con Ed Says. New York Times. 2009-04-26. Michael. Wilson. 2010-04-30.
- Web site: Portero. Ashley. 30 Major U.S. Corporations Paid More to Lobby Congress Than Income Taxes, 2008-2010. International Business Times. 26 December 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/64D9GyQG0. 26 December 2011.