Seattle City Light Completes Annual Contact Voltage Testing

A contractor from Power Survey Co. demonstrates the equipment used to detect stray voltage.

Seattle City Light identified and repaired 14 instances where metal structures or equipment were improperly energized with at least 30 volts of electricity due to short circuits or damage to wiring during its 2014 annual contact voltage testing.

“Safety is our first concern at Seattle City Light,” General Manager and CEO Jorge Carrasco said. “We have taken a proactive approach and made great progress in the elimination of contact voltage exposure.”

The recent findings were similar to 2013, when 13 instances of voltage of at least 30 volts were identified and fixed.

City Light started the annual tests along with a number of maintenance improvements and internal business process improvements after a dog was electrocuted in Queen Anne when it stepped on an energized hand hold cover.

All 14 instances of contact voltage over 30 volts found during 2014 involved City Light equipment. Crews determined that four of those cases were the result of wires in the door of the luminaire being pinched during conversion to LEDs. City Light provided retraining on proper luminaire installation for the contractor crews providing that work.

Whenever testing identified contact voltage of at least 30 volts, crews immediately de-energized the equipment and made repairs.

Testing also identified 57 instances of contact voltage less than 30 volts. Crews made repairs or de-energized all City Light equipment involved in those cases as well.

You can read the full report here.