Consolidated Edison, Inc., commonly known as Con Edison or Con Ed, is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the United States, with approximately $13 billion in annual revenues as of 2016, and over $47 billion in assets. The company provides a wide range of energy-related products and services to its customers through its subsidiaries:
In 2015, electric revenues accounted for 70.35% of consolidated sales (70.55% in 2014); gas revenues 13.61% (14.96% in 2014); steam revenues 5.01% (4.86% in 2014); and non-utility revenues of 11.02% (9.63 in 2014%). Though the company provides an indispensable service to New York residents, a number of major incidents and service problems have negatively impacted its reputation with the public.
In 1823, Con Edison’s earliest corporate predecessor, the New York Gas Light Company, was founded by a consortium of New York City investors. A year later, it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. 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 Battery Park to 96th Street.
Con Edison’s electric business also dates back to 1882, when Thomas Edison’s Edison 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 $13 billion in annual revenues and $47 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. Under a number of corporate names, the company has been traded on the NYSE without interruption since 1824—longer than any other NYSE stock. 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 660 square miles (1,700 km) with a population of nearly 9 million.
To date, Con Edison has invested $3 billion in solar and wind projects. In September 2017 it was announced that the company would invest $1.25 billion in “renewable energy production facilities over the next three years.”
The company’s “renewable portfolio” contains more than 1.5 gigawatts of operating capacity. Seventy-five percent of that capacity comes from solar energy. Clean energy accounts for around eight percent of the company’s earnings, as of fall 2017.
The Con Edison electrical transmission system utilizes voltages of 138 kilovolts (kV), 345 kV, and 500 kV. The company has two 345 kV interconnections with upstate New York that enable it to import power from Hydro-Québec in Canada and one 345 kV interconnection each with Public Service Electric and Gas in New Jersey and LIPA on Long Island. Con Edison is also interconnected with Public Service Electric and Gas via the Branchburg-Ramapo 500 kV line. Con Ed's distribution voltages are 33 kV, 27 kV, 13 kV, and 4 kV.
The 93,000 miles (150,000 km) of underground cable in the Con Edison system could wrap around the Earth 3.6 times. Nearly 36,000 miles (58,000 km) of overhead electric wires complement the underground system—enough cable to stretch between New York and Los Angeles 13 times.
The Con Edison gas system has nearly 7,200 miles (11,600 km) of pipes—if laid end to end, long enough to reach Paris and back to New York City, and serves Westchester County, the Bronx, Manhattan and parts of Queens and Westchester County. Gas service in Brooklyn, Staten Island and the rest of Queens is provided by National Grid USA's New York City operations, with the exception of the Rockaway peninsula, which is serviced by National Grid's Long Island operations. The average volume of gas that travels through Con Edison’s gas system annually could fill the Empire State Building nearly 6,100 times.
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 distributing 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.
ConEd offers a variety of programs and resources for its customers and stakeholders, organized in such categories as, "For Renters", "For Residential Owners", "For Small & Medium Businesses", "For Commercial & Industrial", "Business Partners", "Investors", "Community Affairs", and "Municipalities". Examples of such resources include:
ConEd Solutions is a member of Real Estate Board of New York.
On January 14, 2009, eleven Con Edison supervisors were arrested for demanding more than $1 million in kickbacks related to work done by a construction company that was repairing the midtown stream pipe eruption of 2007. According to federal prosecutors, the employees had approved payment for work that was unnecessary or not performed, and promised faster payment for some work performed by the construction company in exchange for the bribes. The FBI had two retired Con Edison employees and the president of the construction company wear recording devices that recorded the suspects demanding bribes of between $1000 to $5000. Later that year Con Edison sued Brendan Maher, one of the construction supervisors who was arrested and later admitted taking bribes that the utility company claimed amounted to $10,000.
In April 2016, Con Edison agreed to pay over $171 million, about 1.5% of its annual revenue, back to its customers in compensation for harm resulting from the bribery. The Public Service Commission had found that Con Edison failed to supervise the employees. Con Edison admitted no wrongdoing.
In March 2002, Fortune magazine named the company as one of "America's Most Admired Companies" in the publication's newest corporate ranking survey. In 2003, Con Edison ranked second on the top ten list for electric and gas utilities.
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 five executives.
In 2014, Con Edison was named the #1 utility and #16 overall among corporations, in Newsweek's Green Rankings, and one of the 50 best companies for Latinas by Latina Style Magazine. In its "Best of the Best" issue in 2015, Hispanic Network Magazine named the company a top employer among energy, gas, and oil companies. Con Edison was also selected as a top regional utility by DiversityInc magazine. In 2016, the company was listed among America's best large employers by Forbes.
A former Con Edison building on West 53rd 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.