Monthly Archives: March 2012

Contact Voltage: The Invisible Danger That Killed Our Daughter

Huffington PostBy Mr. Anthony “Bubba’ Green & Mrs. Nancy A. Green

On May 5, 2006, our daughter, Deanna Camille Green, was electrocuted and killed after she touched a normal everyday fence that was electrified by current leaking from a faulty underground electric cable. We now know, this dangerous condition known as “contact voltage” has taken the lives of countlesspeople and pets across the country.

May 5 started as a typical day for the Green family, but would end in tragedy at approximately 8:30 pm. Our lives would never again be the same. Dad took Deanna to school and as he dropped her off, he told her he loved her and would see her on Sunday because he was going to the Men’s Retreat for Church. I took our son, Tony to school that morning, knowing he would somehow make it to end his day on the sales floor at work. As I headed to work I was anxiously anticipating picking Deanna up at the end of the work day for the start of a weekend with a double-header softball game.

At about 5:15 p.m. Deanna and I started our drive into the City for the game. Along the way we stopped for a bite to eat, shared some girl talk about starting high school, plans for the summer, driving and singing. During a pause in our conversation, I reached over and stoked her cheek and told her I loved her, not knowing this would be the last time she would hear me say those words.

Once we arrived at the park and Deanna changed into the black slacks I had brought with me as “a just in case she forgot,” both teams gathered at the pitcher’s mound for prayer. Around the bottom of the first inning it was starting to get dark. The umpire went to the box, flipped the switch and turned on the field lights. Little did we know, he had just turned on the death switch.

Death is difficult. Seeing death come is difficult. Electricity is a silent killer. Unless you’ve seen your child electrocuted right before your eyes, you can never know how I feel. You can never understand what I experienced that horrific day, everyday, and for all the days to come. New mobile slot sites can help to overcome mourn. No one can know of my helplessness. No one can understand how worthless I felt as a mother that night when I failed to protect my daughter.

On May 5, 2006 in Baltimore, Maryland, Deanna Camille Green, at the tender age of fourteen was electrocuted on a metal safety fence that had become electrified by electricity leaking from damaged underground cable.

Since Deanna’s death, we have educated ourselves about the danger that killed our daughter. When underground electric utility cable has reached its useful life or become damaged, it can leak electricity. Electricity is not selective. It energizes all conductive surfaces in its proximity including sidewalks, manholes, roadways, and fences that people and pets come in contact with.

Those conductive surfaces must be tested to find and fix hazards buried beneath the ground. While all surface level structures are not owned by utilities, the buried cable beneath them certainly is, and it is the source of these hazards.

In 2011, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) passed a set of regulations requiring utilities to perform comprehensive contact voltage tests in city parks. This will ensure public safety in our parks by testing all structures and surfaces capable of conducting electricity. Unfortunately, the Maryland regulations ignore the greater risk in our streets, around our schools, or in our neighborhoods.

The Maryland PSC has defined certain cities and public areas as “Contact Voltage Risk Zones.” Within these zones, current Maryland regulations call for utilities to test only manhole covers and streetlights for leaking voltage. Since contact voltage is the result of failing underground cable, tests of manhole covers and streetlights ignore the greatest area of risk stemming from the aging and leaking buried cable beneath our feet. It was a leaking underground cable that killed our daughter, not a manhole or streetlight.

To address this issue, Maryland State legislators have filed a bill requiring utilities to performtesting of all energized conductive surfaces in our streets, just as they are required to perform in our parks. These tests have been performed across New York City for years and have proven successful in reducing public shock incidents.

There is no excuse or justification for the PSC and utilities to provide greater safety in parks than the areas they call “Risk Zones” where we live, work, and play.

If utilities are allowed to ignore various structures their equipment has electrified, who will test and fix them? Should the postal service test their mailboxes for voltage leaks caused by the utility? Should business owners test their fences for underground utility cable faults? Should residents test the sidewalks in front of their homes for utility cable leaks in the ground beneath them? Utilities cannot be allowed ignore any structure or surface which their aging infrastructure has caused to become an electrified public hazard.

Our mission is to prevent others from going through what we have suffered. We never heard of this danger until it was too late. As members of the public, we rely on our utilities and the PSC to keep our family safe from such problems. We urge readers to reach out to the Maryland’s House Economic Matter committee and Public Utilities Subcommittee and urge them to pass House Bill 520 to make our streets safe for pedestrians and pets.

By voting in favor of this House Bill 520, legislators have a chance to speak on behalf of the families and lives this bill will protect. We would give anything to have been afforded those same protections.

Anthony “Bubba” Green is a former NFL defensive lineman. He and his wife Nancy lost their daughter Deanna Green in 2006 when she was electrocuted by contact voltage in Baltimore, Maryland. Following Deanna’s death, Mr. and Mrs. Green embarked on a mission to educate others about the dangers posed by aging electrical infrastructure, and advocate for improvements in public electrical safety. The Green’s story has been featured by major national news outlets including CBS, FOX, and NBC. The Green’s were recently recognized by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators when the organization adopted a resolution adding the contact voltage to their 2012 policy agenda.


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State of Rhode Island Senate Hearings

March 14, 2012 – Legislation mandating the use of the most effective technology available to locate and fix instances of Contact Voltage has been introduced in both Houses of the Rhode Island Legislature.

S-2387 was introduced by Senator Rhoda Perry.  H-7532 was introduced by Representative Michael Tarro.

Hearings have now been held in both the Senate and House Corporations Committees to consider testimony from the parents of Deanna Camille Green who lost her life to electrocution when the young teen touched an energized fence in a Baltimore park.  Also speaking in support of the legislation were representatives from the RI Veterinary Medical Association, the RI SPCA, electrical engineering expert Dave Kolakitis and Roz Rustigian of CVIC.  Lobbyist Frank McMahon spoke on behalf of National Grid.


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Dog killed by electric shock as cable makes pavement live

The London Evening Standard
Emer Martin

1 Mar 2012

An electric shock from a faulty wire under a pavement killed a beloved family dog out for a walk.

Owner Deborah Eaton is planning legal action against Kensington & Chelsea council and an electricity firm for negligence after Casey, a 10-year-old black labrador, was electrocuted when she and another family pet walked across a “live” pavement after a poorly-insulated power cable rose close to the surface.

Mrs Eaton said: “It had been raining quite heavily and there had also been a bit of lightning. As I crossed the road both dogs started leaping up and down and crying.

“I touched Casey to calm her down and was thrown back by an electric shock which shot through my body.

“Casey bit me as I tried to help her, then both dogs collapsed on the ground and I screamed for help. I didn’t know what was happening.”

When help arrived, Mrs Eaton’s daughter, Stephanie, 31, picked up the smaller of the two dogs, Baby, a podenco crossbreed, insulating her against the current and saving the dog’s life.

Stephanie said: “When I knelt on the pavement to comfort Casey I felt the current through my knees and realised it was in the ground.”

Mrs Eaton, 54, from Kensington, is now planning legal action against energy distribution company UKPower Networks and Kensington & Chelsea, whose highways department is accused of not making proper checks before laying the pavement.

But because the law treats pets as possessions the family are only likely to get compensation for the actual cost of the dog.

A spokeswoman for UKPower Networks said today that the incident, last June, was a “rare occurrence”.

“We repaired an underground cable fault at the corner of Courtfield Gardens and Collingham Road in Kensington and we were concerned to receive a report that a dog had received an electric shock,” she said.

A council spokeswoman said: “UK Power Networks is responsible for ensuring that electricity cables buried in the pavement are safe. After the incident we immediately informed UK Power Networks and reported it to the Health and Safety Executive.”


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