City Light completes streetlight inspections, identifies total of 56 elevated voltage sites citywide

Posted on January 19th, 2011 by Editor


Seattle City Light completed its systematic inspections of more than 37,000 metal streetlight poles and associated equipment yesterday, identifying a total of 56 sites across the city that were found to have elevated voltage, the utility said in a report released Tuesday.

The city began inspections last month after a dog passed away after stepping onto an energized groundcover plate on Queen Anne Avenue on Thanksgiving Day. Stories of other unrelated, but potentially dangerous energized streetlights quickly followed, spurring the utility to take swift action. As inspections continued, more and more reports of energized streetlights and equipment rolled out (including ten sites found in neighboring Magnolia last week). You can find City Light’s inspection reports for all electrified sites on its Power Lines blog. From the City Light report.

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 worked with two contractors, Power Survey Co. (PSC) and the Davey Resources Group, to handle the inspections. The utility is currently conducting quality assurance tests of the findings, and continues to work on necessary repairs to return all streetlights to working service.


  • ric

    Why does this blog republish, republish, and republish the same huge photo of a dog every time the story gets updated? How about a photo of the locations of the dangerous lightpoles? Or maybe what portion of the poles might cause a threat? Seriously, do you care about the dog or the danger?

    What the hell? The story is the danger, not the dog.

  • ric

    Why does this blog republish, republish, and republish the same huge photo of a dog every time the story gets updated? How about a photo of the locations of the dangerous lightpoles? Or maybe what portion of the poles might cause a threat? Seriously, do you care about the dog or the danger?

    What the hell? The story is the danger, not the dog.

  • That photo is my dog, a very special dog that meant the world to me. The journalist is only being sympathetic toward the victim–my dog. I also believe the journalist does care about BOTH–the dog and the danger. There has been a lot of great press about lightspoles and metal plates, even showing images of them, so please try to have a heart, my dog was killed, I watched him die, I could do nothing to save him. I, too, suffered a shock. Sam will always be so special to me, words cannot describe how much I miss him. I am grateful that the City began a safety program by inspecting over 30,000 lightpoles. Let’s just hope they will continue with such a program in an effort to prevent another tragedy from happening again.

  • That photo is my dog, a very special dog that meant the world to me. The journalist is only being sympathetic toward the victim–my dog. I also believe the journalist does care about BOTH–the dog and the danger. There has been a lot of great press about lightspoles and metal plates, even showing images of them, so please try to have a heart, my dog was killed, I watched him die, I could do nothing to save him. I, too, suffered a shock. Sam will always be so special to me, words cannot describe how much I miss him. I am grateful that the City began a safety program by inspecting over 30,000 lightpoles. Let’s just hope they will continue with such a program in an effort to prevent another tragedy from happening again.

  • Cathy

    This dog and his owner are heros. If it weren’t for their sacrifice, this problem would never have been brought to the public’s attention, and many others might have had to endure similar fates.

    I care about the danger AND the dog and I’m more than happy to look at his picture as often as it’s posted.

  • Cathy

    This dog and his owner are heros. If it weren’t for their sacrifice, this problem would never have been brought to the public’s attention, and many others might have had to endure similar fates.

    I care about the danger AND the dog and I’m more than happy to look at his picture as often as it’s posted.

  • ric

    Sorry for your loss and all that but if you think the city inspected all those poles because of a dog’s death, you’re delusional.
    They realized a massive liability, likely imagined a scenario where a child or adult could get killed, and acted fast before they were sued for several million. The city really doesn’t give a damn about your dog.

  • ric

    Sorry for your loss and all that but if you think the city inspected all those poles because of a dog’s death, you’re delusional.
    They realized a massive liability, likely imagined a scenario where a child or adult could get killed, and acted fast before they were sued for several million. The city really doesn’t give a damn about your dog.

  • Kim

    okay, Ric, Enough.

  • Kim

    okay, Ric, Enough.


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