Seattle City Light contractors have completed safety testing on more than 37,000 metal streetlight poles and associated pieces of equipment. City Light initiated testing after the death of a dog that stepped on an energized groundcover plate in Queen Anne in November and two other unrelated reports of energized metal streetlight equipment.
The latest round of testing during the weekend identified no new instances of contact voltage.
Two contractors – Davey Resources Group and Power Survey Co. – conducted the initial testing. Quality assurance checks are underway this week.
City Light’s contractors identified a total of 49 utility facilities with contact voltage in addition to seven previously recorded by City Light for a total of 56. Contractors also discovered a metal pole for a traffic sign and several privately owned lights that were energized. City Light has notified all commercial, business, institutional, and other governmental entities about the potential for contact voltage associated with metal lamp posts that may be on their property. City Light is encouraging these customers to get the poles and associated equipment tested to ensure public safety. City Light does not maintain equipment that is located on private property.
The industry average for contact voltage potential is 0.3 percent. City Light’s testing found about 0.13 percent of its equipment had contact voltage above 30 volts. While the industry standard for a hazard is 50 volts, City Light set a lower threshold as an added safety measure.
City Light crews continue to work on necessary repairs identified by the inspections in order to return those streetlights to service.
Equipment tested (approximately): 37,000
Voltage incidents more than 30 volts since last report: -0-
Total elevated voltage incidents: 56