PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Rhode Island lawmakers have voted to require the state’s main electric utility to check for so-called “stray voltage” following the death of a dog that stepped on an electrified manhole cover in Providence.
The House and Senate have both signed off on legislation directing National Grid to check its systems for spots in which voltage from frayed power lines electrifies metal objects like street lamps or manhole covers.
Supporters of the legislation say utilities must quickly repair these areas of stray voltage to protect residents and pets. The bill was prompted by the accidental electrocution of an 8-month-old Labrador retriever in Providence last year.
The legislation now moves to Gov. Lincoln Chafee (CHAY’-fee), who is expected to sign the measure into law.
PROVIDENCE, RI (NBC10) – The Rhode Island Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed legislation that would require electric companies to routinely test for stray voltage and quickly make repairs.
The proposal was prompted by an NBC 10 I-Team investigation that uncovered stray voltage in dozens of locations around Providence.
The problem is caused by damaged underground lines that electrify light poles and manhole covers.
A couple of years ago, a woman was walking her dog on Wayland Square in Providence during the winter when they passed over a metal grate. The dog was shocked by stray voltage.
The Labrador later died at a nearby veterinarian’s office.
The cause was later determined that the dog was electrocuted by a frayed underground wire.
Legislation introduced by state Sen. Rhoda Perry directs the state’s public utility commission to watch over electric companies like National Grid, and requiring them to test for stray voltage and make timely repairs.
“It was appalling. It was extraordinarily frightening for many of my constituents,” Perry said.
Julia Bush walks her dog everyday on the same sidewalk where the stray voltage was a problem.
“I walk her by there every day and I’ve been lucky so far, but I think it would be great for the utility companies to make sure all the streets are safe for the dogs,” Bush said.