BRICK, NJ: August 27, 2002
Gary Smith, of Driscol Drive in Brick, is one of several residents here who've felt the jolt of stray voltage. It happened when he dipped his hand in the family hot tub.
Stray voltage occurs when lines that are supposed to carry unused energy back to the power station can't handle the load. The electric current strays into the ground and connects with whatever will conduct it, such as swings, sprinklers, pools and hot tubs.
The water in the Smith's hot tub showed a reading of up to 4.7 volts. Because of that, both the tub and the pool have been declared off limits, and the kids aren't allowed to set foot in the backyard unless they've got shoes on. Their mom is worried about them.
Across the street, Mike Kulik has an electric fence that's not supposed to be.
After his kids were shocked in the pool, Kulik now pulls the plug to the filter before they swim. And even without any power going to the pool his volt meter still gets a reading.
Residents in Brick are annoyed with the inconvenience, but more importantly, worried about their safety and the possible health effects. The Smith's dog Holly has begun losing all of her hair, and they wonder if the clumps falling out are caused by stray voltage, which has been known to make animals ill in the Midwest.
PSE&G says it has engineers trying to figure out the source of the problem.
In the meantime Driscol Drive residents are afraid to be in their own backyards.
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Mike's Comment: Visit my Stray Voltage/Current page (http://www.mikeholt.com/technical.php?id=technicalgeneral#StrayVoltage) for more information on this subject.
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