High-level “nuisance shocks” received in North Orange Park are as safe as a static shock, American Electric Power Co. representatives told Orange Township trustees Tuesday night.
“Some people may be more sensitive to shocks,” said Brett Schmied, project outreach specialist with AEP. “They are unpleasant but there is no ill-health effect.”
Orange Township officials invited AEP representatives to the trustees’ meeting Tuesday night to gain further information about the shocks that have been reported by some residents.
According to Schmied, they are called “nuisance shocks” and are possible from anything running power through it, creating an electro-magnetic field. “There is never a zero electro-magnetic field,” he said.
Schmied said weather conditions can elevate the possibility of receiving a nuisance shock, such as high humidity or rain. “We can’t predict when a nuisance shock will occur,” Schmied said. “There are lots of factors.”
“If one factor is high and others are lower, they could mitigate the chance of a shock,” Schmied said.
According to Schmied, AEP has heard of other reports outside of Orange Township. AEP has miles of power lines running through Ohio and other states.
“We have parks and trails across all our lines,” Schmied said. “The North Orange Park isn’t an isolated incident.”
“Transmission lines are not insulated,” said Schmied. “The further away from transmission lines and towers the least likely the chance of exposure to shock.”
Schmied said rubber tires can insulate a person from shock when riding a bike or driving a car near power lines. “It’s when there is ground contact, a shock could occur,” he said.
According to Schmied, AEP ran test at many different points along the transmission lines crossing North Orange Park. “In all cases, the lines met or exceed the standards,” Schmied said. “AEP’s standards are based on third-party standards.”
Schmied also warned Pokemon Go players not to climb into a power station to capture one. “Please play safe,” he said.
Trustee Debbie Taranto asked Schmied if he had an example of anyone being electrocuted. “No, not without direct contact to the wires,” Schmied said.
Taranto then asked if Schmied had heard of anyone with a pacemaker having problems while near the high power lines. “No,” he replied.
Township administrator Lee Bodnar asked about possible preventive actions to protect residents from shocks. “How about on-site signage?” he asked.
Schmied said he would look into the possibility.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.