Stray voltage believed to kill puppy, sparks legislation

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A resolution is on its way to the state House urging National Grid to comb the streets of Rhode Island in search of stray power lines similar to the one that appears to have killed a dog back in January.

The utility says there have been no similar incidents in recent history.

State Senator Rhoda Perry of Providence says National Grid needs to check streets for any electrical hot spots that could harm or kill people and pets. Her legislation was prompted by the death of a Labrador puppy that died after it stepped on an electrified manhole near a frayed wire connected to a utility pole.

National Grid says there have been no similar incidents in recent history. And it has searched for stray voltage in 400,000 pieces of equipment during a five-year safety inspection.

The power company says it's working on a thorough review that it will deliver to the Rhode Island Public Utility Commission by March 15th.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported that the legislation also focused on down power lines when it only focuses on stray voltage, which is found in places where electricity is not expected such as manholes.

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