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US utility Con Edison started installing smart natural gas detectors to reduce leakages and non-revenue gas under a pilot in Westchester County.

Con Edison is partnering with New Cosmos and Itron to implement the pilot.

The smart natural gas detectors can detect gas leaks early and notify emergency responders faster than customer calls usually do.

The detectors communicate directly with Con Edison’s Gas Emergency Response Center in the event of a leak.

The system will sound an alarm if it detects natural gas in the atmosphere, send alerts to Con Edison, which will notify the local fire department for quicker response and investigation.

The alarm will continue to sound until Con Edison silences the unit. The alarm includes a voice recording advising building occupants to evacuate and to call 911.

The smart natural gas detectors are being installed near where the gas service pipe enters a building or near the gas meter.

Marc Huestis, senior vice president for Con Edison’s Gas Operations, said: “These detectors could help save lives by using smart technology to communicate directly from a customer’s home to our emergency department.

“We’re proud to be the first utility in the country to pilot this game-changing gas safety initiative.”

Yoshinori Nishiue, senior director of engineering at New Cosmos said, “We are excited to launch the industry’s first battery-powered methane detector with wireless communication. As a leading manufacturer of gas detection products, we are proud to be partnering with Con Edison to develop this innovative life safety product.”