AEP: Power lines were there first

Reports of shock are not uncommon

By D. Anthony Botkin -

Reports of electrical shock in Orange Township’s North Orange Park have been occurring since the park was built, according to AEP Ohio.

“The power lines were built in 1968 before the park existed,” said Fay White, AEP Ohio spokeswoman.

Earlier this week, The Gazette reported on a person receiving electrical shocks last Saturday when she rode her bike near the power lines that cut through North Orange Park.

“I thought my legs were getting pinched by my seat,” Tamra Potts said earlier this week. When she touched the metal of the bike, “I got shocked,” she said.

White told The Gazette on Monday that she would alert AEP’s transmission workers about the situation so they could send someone out to check the lines for any serious problems. However, White on Thursday told The Gazette, “AEP couldn’t take a reading without knowing the exact location the shocks occurred.”

Potts reported Monday hearing the crackling of electricity when she was near the lines and feeling the sensation of needles in her feet.

“It’s not uncommon to hear crackling around power lines,” said White on Monday after The Gazette told her of Potts’ experience. “It’s safe. It’s similar to static electricity.”

Potts rebutted: “It’s more than static electricity. I don’t think static electricity would shock me through my tennis shoes.”

Orange Township trustees say they have heard reports about people being shocked near the power lines in the past and have reported the problem to AEP before.

The Gazette contacted Trustee Debbie Taranto on Monday about the report. “It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a complaint,” said Taranto. “AEP insists that it is harmless.”

According to White, the occurrence of the shocks are dependent on the weather and other variables.

Katie Byers told The Gazette on Monday that while she and her wife were walking their dogs in the park, she noticed one of the dogs acting strange. “Our younger dog started doing a twitching thing,” she said. “We were under the lines in the parking area near the basketball court.”

“The public needs to be made aware,” Potts said. “Even static electricity hurts.”

On The Gazette’s Facebook page, several readers indicated that they had also been shocked near the lines. Another reader asked: “Isn’t the real story here why communities build paths underneath high voltage power lines?”

Reports of shock are not uncommon

By D. Anthony Botkin

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.