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ConEdison Takes Action Against Climate Change; Receives EPA award for addressing the most potent greenhouse gas

Release Date: 02/04/2009
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez (212) 637-3664,

(Washington, D.C.) EPA today recognized two electric power companies for their actions to reduce emissions of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), a potent greenhouse gas, by the equivalent of the emissions from 1.5 million cars. The two winners, Consolidated Edison Company of New York (ConEdison) and Arizona Public Service (APS), were announced at an U.S. EPA workshop on SF6 emission reduction strategies in Phoenix, AZ.

“ConEdison is to be commended for its early action on climate protection and its commitment to sharing information across the sector,” said George Pavlou, Acting EPA Regional Administrator. “These companies demonstrate that through partnerships and dedication to emissions reductions, the power transmission sector can reduce emissions of SF6 significantly.”

SF6 is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere at a rate of about 23,000 times higher than carbon dioxide, making it the most potent greenhouse gas currently in use. One pound of SF6 has the same global warming impact of nearly 11 tons of carbon dioxide. Once emitted, SF6 remains in the atmosphere for over 3,000 years resulting in an essentially irreversible impact on the climate. SF6 is used by the electric power industry as an insulator in the high voltage equipment that transmits and distributes electricity between generating stations and customer load centers.

Consolidated Edison Company of New York, by replacing equipment and improving leak detection, prevented 670,000 pounds of SF6 from entering the atmosphere from 1999 to 2007, equivalent to the annual emissions from over 1.3 million cars.

Arizona Public Service in Phoenix, Arizona, prevented more than 100,000 pounds of SF6 from entering the atmosphere during the period from 2001 to 2007 by adopting improved handling and maintenance practices and increasing SF6 recycling. These actions prevented the equivalent of the annual emissions from over 200,000 cars.

The SF6 Emission Reduction Partnership for Electric Power Systems which was launched in 1999 is a collaborative effort between EPA and the electric power industry to identify and implement cost-effective solutions to reduce SF6 emissions. Currently 81 utilities participate in this voluntary program. More information on the partnership program and awardees: