Maura In The News

Hennigan sponsors hearing on electric manhole hot spots

Thursday, March 4, 2004 - West Roxbury Transcript

At-Large Boston City Councillor Maura Henngian is set to convene a hearing with NSTAR on Monday, March 8, to discuss the recent dog electrocutions that have taken place in the city of Boston. The aim of the hearing is to find out how these hot spots occur and how in a systematic way NSTAR plans to identify and prevent them from hurting anyone in the future.

Hennigan called the hearing after the death of a 6-year old, 115-pound Labrador retriever named Oscar who suddenly collapsed in the middle of a rain-soaked street in Charlestown. In a Boston Globe article (On 'hot spots,' NSTAR on hot seat, 2/22/2004) NSTAR freely admitted that Oscar wasn't the first dog to die of electrocution in Boston and insisted that such "hot spots" of wayward current exist throughout the area. They are also worried the electricity packs enough power to kill a person.

Although hot spots in Boston have resulted in the death of dogs throughout the city of Boston, a hot spot claimed the life a 30-year woman, Jodie Lane, in New York City, who died from stepping on an electrified manhole cover. After her death, the electric company (Con Edison) found 110 hot spots throughout the city, 30 of which carried charges of more than 50 volts.

Since calling for the hearing, Hennigan's office has received numerous phone calls and e-mails from citizens with similar experiences. "Obviously this is not an isolated incident," said Hennigan." It is essential that we locate these hot spots before they hurt more people. I don't care what it takes if it saves one life."

The Boston City Council's Committee on Public Utilities and Cable Communications is holding the public hearing on Monday, March 8, at 1 p.m. in the Christopher Iannella Chamber, fifth floor, Boston City Hall. The public is invited to testify.

For more information, contact Hennigan's office by e-mail at: [email protected] or by phone at 617-635-4217.

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