National Grid: Stray Voltage Inspections

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The New York Public Service Commission now requires all New York electric utilities to survey for and correct any hardware malfunctions that generate potentially dangerous stray voltage. This was mandated to prevent injury or death to members of the public who may accidentally come into contact with this voltage. Davey Resource Group (DRG) performed this testing for National Grid in western New York and in New England.

A DRG team of more than 25 field inspectors assessed about 400,000 National Grid poles throughout the greater Buffalo area and elsewhere throughout the state (see New York project territory map below) for voltage conditions that should not ordinarily exist. Crews also assessed about 35,000 street lights at nighttime for stray voltage. Work began in June and was completed in New York in December 2005. Work in New England concluded in December 2006.

DRG field personnel were trained to work around electrical infrastructure. They wore personal protective equipment, including specialized boots, gloves and other safety clothing, while testing poles. With the use of DRG's ROWKeeper software and GIS data provided by the utility, they recorded test results for each pole, underground enclosure or streetlight standard. If excessive voltage was found, facilities were noted and, in extreme cases, guarded until they could be repaired.

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