Investigator: City reducing shock hazards on streets

8:39 PM, Jul 8, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The city of Cleveland has seen an 80 per cent drop in the number of dangerous street light poles since Channel 3 News exposed the shocking problem two years ago.

Contact voltage -- or stray voltage as it's called -- is potentially deadly. It can be found on light poles and objects that can be energized, such as manhole covers and junction boxes that are scattered along city sidewalks.

If wires are frayed or corroded, the pole can become "hot" and cause unsuspecting pedestrians to be shocked on contact.

Two years ago, the Investigator Tom Meyer found potentially deadly contact voltage on a number of poles, including 453 volts on a pole near St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.

According to experts, that's enough power to kill an elephant.

Cleveland Public Power -- CPP -- has since been doing regular testing of 3,600 light poles in Cleveland.  Before the Channel 3 News investigation, routine testing was not done.

The city reports that the number of dangerous poles has dropped from 100 to 56, and the latest testing shows the number should drop to 20, which would mean an 80 percent reduction in two years.

The Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood had the highest number of "hot" poles with 26. They have been repaired and are now considered safe.

"We've been very aggressive since 2011. We don't want to run into this problem again. That's why we test, test, test," said CPP's Jim Ferguson.


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