Con Edison employees win honors for safety

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New York City, March 17, 2011 – Five Con Edison researchers have received industry awards for projects that protect the safety of our customers and company employees.

The researchers were honored with Technology Transfer Awards from the Electric Power Research Institute, a leader in research that makes the delivery of electricity safe, reliable and clean.

“It’s our responsibility to be vigilant in protecting the public and our employees,” said Craig S. Ivey, president of Con Edison. “That means conducting a never-ending search for technologies that make the delivery of electricity safer. It’s incredibly gratifying to see these employees earn recognition for their work in this area.”

The Con Edison honorees included four researchers who developed a device that protects utility workers from arcing faults in manholes. They are: Neil Weisenfeld, a department manager in Distribution Engineering; Yingli Wen, senior engineer in Distribution Engineering; Tomasz Faryna, engineer in Distribution Engineering; and Frank Doherty, project manager in Research and Development.

An arcing fault is an electrical discharge from a defective wire or cable. They can cause burns or spark combustible materials and gases.

The arc detector is lowered into an underground structure before a Con Edison worker enters. It detects abnormal variations in electric current caused by arcing faults. The detector performs continuous monitoring while workers are in the structure and will sound an alarm if arcing is detected, allowing workers to safely exit the structure.

The fifth Con Edison winner was Stuart Hanebuth, manager in Distribution Engineering, who worked on the development of a device that helps detect contact voltage, also known as stray voltage.

Contact voltage is electrical current from a defective cable or wire that energizes objects such as manhole covers, scaffolding and gates.

The E Field Meter that Hanebuth helped develop is faster and more accurate in locating energized objects than previous devices.

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