New York, NY, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — April 22, 2008 – U. S. utility Con Edison reports that two of its employees have developed a device that provides for a safer and more efficient way to connect and disconnect electric meters. James Rispoli, a customer operations supervisor, made a prototype current transformer (CT) disconnect device in his garage on his own time. John Gaffney, a manager for revenue protection, then offered some changes. Their joint experimentation produced a new invention; a device that will be used throughout Con Edison’s Customer Operations’ group to disconnect electric meters.
With 325 disconnects a year, the Rispoli-Gaffney device, manufactured by Richards Manufacturing Corporation of Irvington, NJ, will become an industry standard.
CTs are used to measure customers’ use of electricity. Before the Con Edison veterans customized their device, older models of CTs required electrical cables from the power lines to be physically disconnected from the CTs to shut off power. That process sometimes took up to two hours.
Performing any type of work in a CT cabinet is an inherently hazardous function since it involves working near live electricity. Con Edison mechanics often spend a prolonged amount of time in hazardous environments because of rusted and stripped CT bolts, which take extra time to remove. Sometimes the employees also have to reach over the current transformers to hold the back of the bolts and prevent them from turning.
Instead of disconnecting electrical cables, employees can use commonly available hand tools to activate the switch designed by Rispoli and Gaffney and disconnect the electrical power. The new device makes the disconnection safer, faster, and more efficient, and slashes the amount of time an employee spends in the hazardous situations to approximately five minutes.
In the tradition of Thomas Edison, who secured more than 1,000 patents, Con Edison encourages its employees to cultivate ideas with the help of the Research and Development department. The Rispoli-Gaffney CT Disconnect Device is one of eight Con Edison patents pending applications filed in 2007. The applications focus on smarter and safer innovations.
The CT prototype was developed after two years of research, development, and testing, and is the first in the industry.