Friday, February 21, 2014

Con Ed unveils new signage to warn pedestrians and their pets of stray voltage

Last night, Con Ed displayed its first, new warning sign in the East Village along an electrified sidewalk in front of the Key Food recycling center on East Fourth Street and Avenue A. Con Ed created these signs to more clearly communicate possible electrical danger (as opposed to some tape and cones and some dude sitting in a car with an orange vest on).

East Village resident Garrett Rosso, a board member of NYCdog (the New York Council of Dog Owner Groups) told us this last night:

Perhaps it's too soon to know whether the new signs will be effective in warning pedestrians and dog owners of the danger of electric shocks in the area. Or perhaps New Yorkers are too busy to even notice.

NYCdog urges dog owners to recognize Con Edison's new signange. People walking pets should change their route whenever they see the signs. The area is usually safe for pedestrians to pass because their shoes provide some insulation. However, dogs can recieve shocks anywhere around the area through their bare paws — especially when the ground is wet.

This past weekend, Bella, an 11-year old pit bull terrier mix, was electrocuted by frayed wiring from a scaffolding light on Clinton Street.

This prompted the following warning from NYCdog:

NYCdog (the New York Council of Dog Owner Groups) has issued a emergency alert for dog owners in all 5 boroughs. There have been numerous reports of dogs and their owners being shocked from sidewalk voltage.

The predicted warm weather combined with street flooding over the next few days are likely to trigger more incidents of dogs and their owners recieving shocks.

NYCdog urges all pet owners to exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings. Avoid manhole covers, sewer caps, metal gratings, Con Edison repair locations as well as all overhead scaffolding at constructions sites. The public is urged to call 911 if you or your dog is shocked.

If you suspect your dog is recieving a shock, dog owners should not touch their pet or the ground. Pet owners are adivised to immediately about face and use their leash or other non-conductive object to maneuver their pet away from the area — voltage may increase as you travel forward.

For more information, please email:

There were several reports of stray voltage around the East Village back in December … The stray voltage reportedly shocked several dogs… and some residents were upset that Con Ed took too long to respond to the issue… as well as did a lousy job of communicating, what, exactly, all the tape and cones were for on sidewalks.

Following this, Community Board 3 officials as well as Councilmember Rosie Mendez's office contacted Con Ed officials about how to better manage and communicate issues related to stray voltage.

Con Ed officials will also be present to answer any questions or hear any concerns at the CB3 Public Safety/Transportation meeting on March 11 at 6:30 p.m. Location: University Settlement at Houston Street Center, 273 Bowery.


Anonymous said...

Con Ed is on it. They care! That's the best they could do with all the money they charge us?

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps it's too soon to know whether the new signs will be effective in warning pedestrians and dog owners of the danger of electric shocks in the area. Or perhaps New Yorkers are too busy to even notice."

You have to be blind to not see these florescent cones and tape then again if you walk your dog while texting your dogs chances are not too good.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:39 AM:

Same thing I've been thinking... We pay close to the most (if not the most) for electricity / gas in the entire country, but they can't come up with clearer signage? Obscene.

PS. Love my bill this month; thanks, ConEd!

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:27 AM:

If this neighborhood, especially near the substation on Ave A and E 6th St, ConEd often uses cones for myriad other reasons, e.g. to block parking spots for their employees. It helps that these are a different color, but I can see how people could not be aware of what this is until they get very close, so that they can actually see the small sign.

Anonymous said...

I know this is a dumb question, but the concrete on the sidewalk is not electrified, right? It's the metal grates and other metal items that are electrified, right?

Anonymous said...

Cones and yellow tape are the exact same protocol for denoting fresh cement, wet paint, side cracks, potholes and reserved parking. I'm not sure the addition of tiny type on a small flyer is sufficient to warn pedestrians (or cyclists unlocking their bike) that a potentially deadly shock lies ahead -- or that the parking meters, tree fences, curb or street plate could be electrified.

Anonymous said...

The concrete on the sidewalk IS indeed electrified

rubygirl said...

The second photo clearly shows a dog being walked by it's owner on the path left close to the building by Con Ed. The sign is clearly too small, and does not indicate enough of a threat, especially if Con Ed allows a pathway right next to the area voltage has been found. Pavement is subject to becoming electrified as well as metal objects... if this is the best Con Ed can do, it's not enough... Then there are the construction sites to worry about.

EVGrrrl said...

Always avoided that corner by Key with the dogs because of broken glass from the recycling center.
RIP Jodie Lane 2004.
Can't we walk the streets without worry of being fried?

Anonymous said...

So the concrete is electrified. That is scary. I always try to avoid metal, but I had no idea stray voltage could spread across a sidewalk. That is terrifying.

John said...

It was thoughtful of them to put the signs at a convenient height for dogs to read.

Garrett Rosso said...

Con Ed stationed at one hot zone said she was worried about cars parking alongside the electrified sidewalk and then passengers stepping onto the voltage when they exit their car. These signs can not be seen from a car -- I had to put on my glasses and bend down to the ground to read them. Perhaps they should look at NYC film permit No Parkings signs which used LARGE FONTS, florescent paper and are posted at eye level every few car lengths.

Anonymous said...

I was just walking down East 9th Street between Avenue A and First Avenue, and there are also cones and a sign on that block warning of stray voltage. Just a few steps away from that area I saw a woman walking with her dog who wasn't on a leash. The dog, a cute little black and white pooch, was walking about ten feet behind her while she strolled ahead not paying any mind to what the dog was doing. I told her to watch out for the stray voltage area, but I don't think she heard me because she didn't respond. I hope her dog doesn't wander into that area while she isn't looking.

Anonymous said...

I saw a group of 20 or so schoolkids with their teachers walk two-by-two directly next to the roped-off stray voltage area on 4th street next to the Key Food this afternoon. I was on the other side of avenue A but held my breath and watched until they all made it past that area. The adults didn't seem to pause for a second nor to be be aware of the danger. This is really scary stuff. These were kids! One of them could easily be horsing around and send the kid next to him directly into the live voltage part of the sidewalk.

Anonymous said...

any way of getting some free electricity off of those leaks?