Consolidated Edison Company of New York Asbestos Litigation & Lawsuits

con edison

Consolidated Edison (Con Ed or Con Edison) currently distributes natural gas to more than a million customers in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, and Westchester County. It also provides electric power to more than 3 million customers and steam to New York City. The company has the world’s largest system of underground cables (extending 94,000 miles) in addition to 36,000 miles of overhead wires. Its headquarters are in Manhattan.

Asbestos Exposure at Con Edison

Consolidated Edison built its energy empire at a time when asbestos was used heavily by the utilities industry. Until the early 1970s, Con Ed workers were not required to wear protective gear or warned of the potential dangers of asbestos exposure.

As a result, many workers were exposed to asbestos and developed mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. A 1990 screening of more than 500 Con Edison workers found that 20 percent had scarred lungs or mesothelioma.

Asbestos-containing materials were used on various types of equipment at Consolidated Edison’s New York powerhouses, including boilers, turbines, pipes, pumps, heaters, coolers, air compressors, blowers, and fans. Plant workers were possibly exposed to asbestos when they installed, inspected, maintained, repaired, removed, or replaced asbestos-containing equipment.

Because mesothelioma has a latency period of 15 to 60 years, workers who were exposed to asbestos decades ago may only now begin to show signs of illness. At Belluck & Fox, our experienced New York mesothelioma attorneys know exactly where asbestos was used at Consolidated Edison plants, how workers were exposed to asbestos, and which companies supplied the asbestos to Con Edison. We will use this knowledge and our decades of legal experience to fight for the rights of you and your family.

Have you been diagnosed with an asbestos disease after working in a power plant? 

Con Edison Power Plants

Consolidated Edison 59th Street Powerhouse
The original New York City Subway line was built by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) and opened in 1904. This underground transit system required high levels of electrical power and necessitated the building of a huge power generation station.

The 59th Street Powerhouse, better known as the IRT Powerhouse, occupies the entire city block between 11th and 12th avenues and 58th and 59th streets in Manhattan. To power the subway system, it used up to 1,000 tons per day of Hudson River-delivered coal and generated 132,000 horsepower. At the time, it was hailed by an electrician trade magazine as the largest steam-driven power plant in the world.

The IRT Powerhouse powered the subway until 1959, when it was sold to Consolidated Edison. Con Ed today uses the plant to generate steam that is used for heating, cooling, and sterilization in large city buildings that include the Empire State Building and the United Nations.

Although still an active steam-generating plant, it is the exterior of the former IRT Powerhouse that has caught the attention of some New York City residents. The building, designed by a renowned architectural firm that also designed the old Penn Station, has ornate French-Renaissance-style facades made of Roman brick, terra-cotta, and pink granite. There are ongoing efforts to have the architecturally significant building designated as a historical landmark, but Con Ed has opposed such efforts in the past, saying that they would interfere with the plant’s day-to-day operations.

Have you been diagnosed with an asbestos disease after working in a power plant? 


  • New York Times: The IRT Generating Plant on 59th Street; A Push to Make a Con Ed Steam Plant a Landmark
  • IEEE: The Railway Power Stations of New York City
Consolidated Edison Arthur Kill Generating Station
The Arthur Kill Generating Station is a former Consolidated Edison oil- and gas-fired power plant located on Staten Island.

Arthur Kill — also known as Staten Island Sound — is the body of water that separates the New York City borough of Staten Island from mainland New Jersey and connects Newark Bay and Raritan Bay. The Arthur Kill Generating Station is located along this straight and withdraws cooling water from it.

The original 25-megawatt Unit 1 at the Arthur Kill site was put in place by Staten Island Edison in 1947, a time when Staten Island was mostly rural and no bridges yet connected it to greater New York. Staten Island Edison merged into Con Edison in 1952, and two additional Arthur Kill units followed in 1959 and 1969.

The Arthur Kill Generating Station today produces 810 megawatts. It was sold by Con Ed to NRG Energy in 1999 as part of a divestiture plan.

There have been ongoing concerns about the environmental impacts of the powerhouse on marine wildlife. The facility takes about 713 million gallons per day of cooling water from Arthur Kill, which is then returned to the tidal straight through a 900-foot canal. Environmental groups have charged that the antiquated “once through cooling” system found on older plants such as Arthur Kill not only kills large numbers of fish upon intake, but also alters surrounding ecosystems due to the warmer water it discharges.

Have you been diagnosed with an asbestos disease after working in a power plant? 


  • Bureau of Habitat, Steam Electric Unit: Biological Fact Sheet
Consolidated Edison Astoria Generating Station
Astoria Generating Station is a 1,335-megawatt natural gas and fuel oil power plant in the borough of Queens, New York City.

Formerly owned by Consolidated Edison, Astoria Generating Station was sold to Orion Power Holdings in 1999 as part of a Con Ed divestiture plan and is now owned by US Power Generating Company (USPowerGen). It is located on the Con Ed Electric Generating Complex in northwest Queens, a 300-acre site along the East River that is the center of electric generation in New York City. USPowerGen shares the property with three other tenants, including New York Power Authority and NRG Energy.

The Astoria facility has five generating units, including four large steam units that were built in the 1950s and 1960s. Three of the units are dual-fueled (natural gas and oil), while another is natural-gas fueled.

USPowerGen has plans for a repowering project at the Astoria plant that would increase its generating capacity by about 15 percent while reducing its air emissions. The plan calls for installing a state-of-the-art 410-megawatt combined-cycle generating unit, retiring one of the existing units, and capping emissions on the other three units. In addition, the new facility will not use the East River for cooling. The plant’s four primary generating units withdraw more than 1.2 billion gallons of river water per day and have been blamed for the death of millions of fish each year.

Have you been diagnosed with an asbestos disease after working in a power plant? 


  • New York Power Authority: Astoria 500 Megawatt Combined-Cycle Power Plant
  • Times Ledger: Astoria Power Plant to Receive Upgrade
  • Queens Chronicle: Power Station to Build New Unit
  • USPowerGen: The Luyster Creek Energy Project
Consolidated Edison East 74th Street Station
The Manhattan Elevated Railway Company began construction of the East 74th Street Power Station in 1899 with the purpose of supplying electricity to several elevated railroads that were in the process of being converted from steam power to electric.

Con Ed took over the power plant in 1959 and continued to supply power to the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) — operator of New York City’s original subway line — for a number of years. Today, the East 74th Street Station supplies Con Edison’s steam distribution system, which provides steam to Manhattan buildings for heating, cooling, and hot water. It is the largest commercial steam system in the world.

In an effort to cut uptown fossil fuel emissions, Con Ed recently undertook a greening project that will convert the 74th Street plant and another Con Ed steam plant on West 59th Street from fuel oil to natural gas. The work at 74th Street entails cutting out the facility’s nine boilers — three the size of a large tenement building and six more the size of a VW beetle — upgrading them, and then reinstalling them. Miles of new piping must also be replaced by hand.

While the upgraded facilities will still use fuel oil as a backup, the primary use of natural gas to fire boilers and produce steam is expected to cut emissions by 40 percent — the equivalent of taking 26,000 cars off the streets.

Have you been diagnosed with an asbestos disease after working in a power plant? 


  • IEEE: The Railway Power Stations of New York City
  • Daily News: Conversion of ConEd Steam Plants in Manhattan Will Save Money and Clear the Air
Consolidated Edison East River Generating Station
The East River Generating Station is a 43,000-square-foot, 660-megawatt oil and natural gas-fired power plant located along the East River at 14th Street in Lower Manhattan.

East River Station was built as a coal facility in 1926 by the New York Edison Company. The plant’s original six-story boilers were so large that one of them accommodated a 100-person luncheon held in honor of the plant’s opening in 1926. Queen Marie of Romania dedicated the plant by flipping the switch that started the 100,000-horsepower turbine generator, prompting a ConEd official to note that the queen had, “released the energies of one machine that could supply more than three times the electricity at present used by all of Romania.”

Coal-burning electric-generating units 6 and 7 were added to East River in 1951 and 1955 and converted to dual fuel (oil/natural gas) during the late 1960s. Around this time, Con Ed also in