Since I'm moving to my own place for the first time, I'll write a series of posts about dealing with the various companies involved.
First thing was of course dealing with brokers and the apartment management, but I'll save the post about that for a bit later. (I have had a good experience with both so far.)
Dealing with ConEdison was extremely easy. Just called 1 800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633) at which point I was directed to call 212-243-1900 since my cell phone area code is outside NYC.
So I called the second number, tried using the Express self-service phone option, but when I pressed 2 to open an account and 1 to say I was not a current account holder, I was redirected to the waiting queue again, and was put on hold for about 15-20 minutes (probably reasonable for 10am Saturday in early May). Then the guy answered, didn't catch his name though. I told him I wanted to open a gas/electric account.
He took down my address, borough (Manhattan), phone number, and social security number. Asked about things like if I needed special consideration for always-on electrical equipment for health purposes. Asked if the electricity was already on, which it was. Asked for move-in date, which was May 3 this year. Asked if I wanted a 7% discount on this thing where I select a particular electric company; I didn't know what it was, even after asking him I was unclear, so I declined. Didn't provide my email address, since I asked about it and he said there would be some promotions sent along with regular notifications. He asked about direct billing, which I declined, since I will probably enroll in e-billing instead.
And that was that. Extremely simple, hassle-free setup of standard utilities with a large company.