Aging infrastructure an issueAttalah said the city's aging electricity infrastructure is partly to blame, but there are also other causes, like vibrations from streetcars. "That'll cause wires underground to shift. And freezing and thawing, which also affect [wiring]," she said. Toronto Hydro is upgrading some of the infrastructure, Attalah said. New polymer concrete handwells that don't conduct electricity are replacing the metal ones that currently dot the city.
The utility also has trucks patrolling the streets fitted with technology that can pinpoint contact voltage hotspots. Toronto Hydro has been conducting annual safety campaigns about contact voltage since a dog was electrocuted in west Toronto in 2008. The latest leaflet advises customers to walk as close to storefronts as possible in order to stay away from streetlights. It also advises pet owners to ensure they are using a leash made out of non-conductive material like nylon and to try and keep away from sources of contact voltage.
The danger is intensified in wet weather, the leaflet says.