Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Electrified Lampposts in Brooklyn

While taking a stroll yesterday, we ran across several lampposts in Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn that were blocked off with caution tape and guarded by black cars sporting orange traffic cones.

The one shown above is at the northwest corner of Cadman Plaza West and Clark Street. The Con Ed employee in the car told us that a voltage hazard existed in the lamp post and he was guarding it until the company could come by and fix it.

He was also guarding the nearby post in the middle of the intersection of Cadman Plaza West and Clark, shown above.

Another Con Ed employee in a "coned" car was guarding this post at the corner of Atlantic Avenue at Smith Street.

Con Edison apparently has their hands full. According to an article in the Dec. 15 New York Post, the utility found 7,117 electrified objects on city streets between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31 of 2008. That's 468 more than in all of last year.

In years past Con Ed hired livery cab drivers to guard the electrified posts. The NY Daily News reported in 2007:

"The dark cars and their drivers sit next to a roped-off area around the clock for days, with a placard explaining their mission. 'A stray voltage hazard was discovered here,' the card says. 'The coned/taped off area contains an extremely dangerous electrified object or structure.'"

We don't know if Con Ed is hiring livery cab drivers again this year, but if they are, it's a windfall for the drivers. USA TODAY says the drivers are paid $35/hour to sit and guard the posts.

You can protect yourself from many (but not all) shocks by wearing rubber-soled shoes. There are some tips for protecting your dog from shocks and other hazards at FidoBrooklyn.

Photos by MK Metz

Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.

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