Skip to Content

Knowing the Danger of Stray Voltage on City Walks

Share with fellow dog lovers!


Did you realize that stray voltage could be lurking along urban streets? If you walk your dog on city streets, we’ve got some important tips today from Blair Sorrel, who confers with Con Edison’s Stray Voltage and Public Affairs Units. Your first step, according to Sorrel, is:

Eyeball the Block, Avoid the Shock

Dangers lie in many places and wintertime, with wet sidewalks (and possibly with dog booties that have leaked) are a risk to dog walkers and dogs (especially dogs urinating on metal objects with potential stray electrical current.) Sorrel notes that dog walkers should first

take just a few seconds to survey the immediate surroundings and make your trajectory toward a non-conductive surface, ie., plastic, wood, cardboard, rather than risking any metal or electrical fixture. The lowly, free-standing garbage bag, is you and your dog’s best friend, most of the time, unless it’s snowed and salted.

The list of places where that potential stray voltage may lurk is extensive. Sorrel says to keep an eye out for:

  • Street & Traffic Lights. These can leak if damaged internally, even if the compartment is fully closed and the light is not illuminated
  • Scaffolding or Sidewalk Sheds. While anchored by wooden blocks, be aware that sloppy wiring by a contractor and/or the use of lighting equipment that’s not waterproofed even suitable for outdoor usage, may still shock a passerby.
  • ATM Vestibules
  • Decorative Lighting
  • Electrical Boxes
  • Fire Hydrants
  • Fire Police Call Boxes
  • Manhole Covers
  • Muni Meters
  • Phone Booths
  • Service Boxes
  • Street Light Boxes
  • Traffic Boxes
  • Work Areas