Tonight’s Orange Township trustees meeting will include a presentation by the American Electric Power Co. to address reports of electrical shocks in North Orange Park.
The 7 p.m. meeting will be at the township hall at 1680 Orange Road, Lewis Center.
The Gazette earlier this summer reported on people receiving electrical shocks near or under power lines crossing over bike trails.
While testing her new bike in North Orange Park, Tamra Potts told The Gazette that she was electrically shocked near the power lines hanging over the trail.
“I thought my legs were getting pinched by my seat,” Potts said. Then she touched the metal of the bike. “I got shocked,” she said.
According to AEP officials, the occurrence of the shocks are dependent on the weather and other variables. Officials also said the shocks have been occurring since the park was built.
“The power lines were built in 1968 before the park existed,” said Fay White, AEP Ohio spokeswoman.
Potts also reported hearing crackling of electricity when she was near the lines.
“It’s not uncommon to hear crackling around power lines,” said White after The Gazette reported Potts’ experience. “It’s safe. It’s similar to static electricity.”
Potts’ rebuttal: “The public needs to be made aware. Even static electricity hurts.”
White told The Gazette she would alert AEP’s transmission department about the situation so they could send someone to check the lines for any serious problems. However, later in that week, White told The Gazette that “AEP couldn’t take a reading without knowing the exact location the shocks occurred.”
Trustee Debbie Taranto said, “It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a complaint,” she said. “AEP insists that it is harmless.”
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?”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.