Con Edison’s program to detect, fix and prevent stray voltage on city streets continues to improve public safety for New Yorkers, with the company recording the fifth straight year of decline in reported electric shocks.
The company said 84 shocks were reported last year, 11 percent fewer than the 94 reported in 2008. The 2009 total was 71 percent lower than the 285 shocks reported in 2004, the year the program started. The figures are included in an annual report the company filed recently with the New York State Public Service Commission.
“The significant reduction in reported shocks each year since 2004 shows our intense campaign to find and correct stray voltage conditions is working,” said John Miksad, senior vice president, Electric Operations. “We are an industry leader in this area, and will continue to invest in new technologies and procedures to protect the public.”
Con Edison said it detected and eliminated 6,266 sources of stray voltage in 2009, the most since the program started in 2005, as a result of increased system-wide surveys by the company. Con Edison’s mobile detectors scanned the company’s New York City underground service area 12 times, covering more than 66,000 miles, in 2009.
The testing program checks more than 750,000 structures, including 264,000 manholes and service boxes, 36,000 underground transformers, and nearly 223,000 city or municipally-owned street and traffic lights.
Con Edison uses a fleet of 15 specialized vehicles that cruise the company’s service area, using state-of-the-art sensors to find voltage on service boxes, manhole covers, traffic lights, fences, gratings, gates and other objects.
These mobile detectors allow Con Edison to conduct scans more quickly than the manual tests conducted by crews with hand-held detectors.
Last year, 60 percent of the sources of stray voltage conditions found were the result of failures of non-company equipment. Even when stray voltage is found on structures that do not belong to Con Edison, company employees eliminate the condition and notify the property owner.
The number of shocks from company equipment rose to 24 last year from the 13 recorded in 2008, and the number of shocks from non-company equipment decreased from the 81 recorded in 2008 to 60 last year.