Con Edison's dedication to public safety and its ability to innovate have made the company a leader in preventing, detecting and repairing contact voltage.
The result of Con Edison's aggressive program has been a sharp reduction in shock reports.
The company recently filed a report that showed the number of shocks in its service area last year remained dramatically lower last year than when the company began its industry-leading testing and repair program. The company reported 74 confirmed shocks, only 23 of which were from Con Edison equipment.
Click here to read Con Edison's 2013 Contact Voltage Test & Facility Inspection Report to the New York State Public Service Commission.
In 2004, the first year of Con Edison's program, 285 shocks were reported. Of those, 210 were the company's responsibility.
Con Edison tests nearly 778,000 structures, including manholes, service boxes, underground transformers, and city or municipally-owned street and traffic lights.
When Con Edison crews find contact voltage, the company guards the site until repairs are made, even if the defective equipment causing the problem does not belong to Con Edison.
The company has deployed a hand-held, directional electric-field sensor that zeros in on objects that are energized. Con Edison crew members investigating contact voltage reports sweep the device from side to side until the lights on the device glow bright red.
The lights indicate the device is near an energized streetlight, sidewalk grating, fence or other object.
Con Edison developed the technology with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a leader in researching the delivery of electricity.
The e-field sensor complements the other sophisticated tools Con Edison uses to locate objects energized by contact voltage (which is also known as stray voltage). The heart of the program is a fleet of 15 mobile contact voltage detectors developed by the company's Research and Development department. The detectors are mounted on trucks that roll along city streets at night.
Con Edison continues to develop, tools, techniques and management applications to improve public safety through its partnerships with EPRI and Columbia University.
Anyone who suspects contact voltage should call 1-800-75-CONED. The company also recommends that people keep pets away from metal objects.
The following publications and Web pages are designed to help contribute to a safe, accident-free environment:
"Electric Safety: What You Need to Know" brochure, outlining the rules and safeguards that can help you prevent all manner of electrical accidents
"Power Problems? Let Us Know!" brochure, what you should do when your power goes out
"Natural Gas Safety - What You Need to Know" brochure, containing facts about natural gas and carbon monoxide
More online safety tips: