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City Light finds two more energized streetlights

December 30th, 2010 by Thea

During continued inspections of 20,000 metal streetlights and connected equipment throughout the city, Seattle City Light discovered and repaired two more streetlights giving off contact voltage this week, the utility announced in an inspections update released yesterday. No one was injured in either case. Here are the details of each instance:

  1. Tuesday night, Power Survey Co. (PSC), one of two contractors hired by City Light to help inspect all 20,000 metal streetlights and associated equipment, discovered a faulty streetlight near the intersection of Second Avenue and James Street. Old wiring had deteriorated, sending about 35 volts of electricity into a nearby mailbox, parking meter and bike rack. City Light crews immediately cut power and made repairs.
  2. About 10 a.m. Wednesday, a customer called City Light to report a suspicious streetlight in her Blue Ridge neighborhood. The woman’s dog had yelped when it approached the pole and a friend’s dog had shied away from it.

A City Light crew responded immediately and measured 48 volts of electricity on the pole near the intersection of NW Blue Ridge Drive and NW 100th Street. Workers determined that the photo cell that turns the streetlight on and off had melted, shorting out the pole. They cut power and completed repairs by 12:30 p.m.

City Light began a systematic inspection of metal streetlights citywide after a Queen Anne dog, Sammy, died due to stray voltage on Queen Anne Ave N on Thanksgiving day. While originally believing the incident to be isolated (caused by a pinched wire and improper grounding), it was later discovered that the city lacked proper inspection records at that site and at others around town. As of last week City Light had identified and repaired six energized streetlights, including the one that killed Sammy. The two sites discovered this week brings that total up to eight.

City Light is contracting with two other companies to complete the inspections. On Tuesday Power Survey Co. completed inspections in about 20 percent of the Downtown area, while the Davey Resources Group has so far inspected 125 streetlights around Seattle Center/Lower Queen Anne. Last week City Light crews completed inspections in Seattle Housing Authority developments, including those in High Point, GreenBridge, New Holly and Rainier Vista. No other potentially dangerous sites were  identified.

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