Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Update on Roosevelt Island Electric Box Incident - Not a Stray Voltage Occurrence

Image of Stray Voltage Detector from Gothamist

RIOC's Director of Engineering provides the following information on the recent incident involving sparks coming from an electric box near 425 Main Street that resulted in this "stray voltage" post.
I have contacted ConEd for information on 2004-2007 stray voltage
testing cycles and any scheduled testing for 2008.

The 3/19/08 Public Safety Incident Report referred to in the blog
occurred within the confines of the Southown construction site of
building 5 & 6. A 4 foot by 4 foot guard shack was being supplied with
power for lighting via an old construction extension cord from the
building. The cord was laying in water and shorted out.

This had nothing to do with ConEd power distribution or street lights.
The cord was replaced by the contractor Monadnock.

I am not aware of any reported stray voltage incidents on the island
since my arrival in September of 07, nor have any such incidents been
related to me by those with longer island memories. Since arriving here
there have been two light poles accidently knocked down resulting in
exposed wiring with potential consequences, and both instances were
responded to immediately by Public Safety and the areas cordoned off.

I will pass along any information I receive from ConEd and keep you
informed of any planed testing and test results.
Good job by RIOC in responding so quickly and thoroughly with explanation on what occurred and in monitoring potential problems with stray voltage.

UPDATE - 4/15/08: InfraShock is a resource for all things concerning stray voltage including a map of stray voltage hot spots.

Protect yourself, your family, and your pet

Your first step may be your last!

Pedestrians, distance yourself from street and traffic lamps and make it a routine to avoid metal grates and manholes when possible. All of them have the potential to be energized year-round. Wintry moisture and accumulated rock salt will heighten the risk, as will precipitation and flooding conditions. Try to minimize the chance of injury by being focused and alert on your stroll. Avoid propping a metal object against the lights; cyclists, lean or lock your bike onto non-electrical equipment instead.

Dog walkers, utilizing a non-metal leash is a safer option. If your dog is resistant to an area it may be energized, so choose an alternative route and notify Con Edison (800-75-CONED) if you are suspicious. If your canine is reacting, do not touch your pet or the live area with your hands or any conductive material.