Skip to comments.$4 Million Settlement Reached In Edison Stray Voltage Case
Posted on 03/19/2013 1:01:54 PM PDT by BenLurkin
REDONDO BEACH (CBSLA.com) A multi-million dollar settlement has been reached after residents fell victim to stray voltage from a local Edison substation.
The substation sits right next to Knob Hill, a neighborhood in Redondo Beach. For years, residents have reported incidents of being shocked, as well as sickness, caused by electromagnetic fields which are generated by the power lines.
Simona Wilson filed a lawsuit against Southern California Edison after suffering from low-voltage electrocution due to her shower-head becoming electrically charged. Her homes gas line was reportedly also carrying a charge.
Wilson, who lived in the home for four years, ended up in the emergency room on numerous occasions, and the electrocution has caused nerve damage. A jury ruled in her favor, and Wilson was awarded $4.05 million for her damages.
Residents had reportedly been buying homes in the area for 30 years, with no knowledge of stray voltage in the houses.
Edison released a statement disagreeing with the verdict.
it is disappointed in the conclusions reached by the jury and believes that the outcome is inconsistent with the totality of the evidence presented at the trial.
The investigation of the neighborhood to see the extent of danger to other homes is still underway.
Junk science makes sleazy plaintiff lawyers rich?
Well, there are problems in a power system that could lead to what is described in the article, in particular, phase imbalances in a three phase system with a poor ground (or no ground).
Stray voltage is not junk science.
It is typically caused by improper grounding. It can be caused by grounding in too many places and sending neutral current through the ground system.
A few technical articles for those interested in stray voltage.
Wouldn’t that mean that the house wiring must be more protected from the magnetic fields?
or am I missing something
There is no ‘leak’ - either you are shorted to ground or not... but any coil within the magnetic field around the wire will generate a current
For several years it seemed that whenever there was a really soaking rain, the power would surge and/or go out on my street. It’s at the very edge of the PEPCO boundary with BGE outside Washington, DC. Finally PEPCO did something and it hasn’t happened again since. The lights still go out but only when the lines are actually down.
Utter garbage “science.”
“Junk science makes sleazy plaintiff lawyers rich?”
Improper grounding at the electrical entrance COULD indeed create a situation where water pipes and gas lines could be “hot”. Improper grounding at the substation could do the same thing.
Seems that it would be easy to test for though...
EM fields causing illness is utter junk.
Magnetic fields are not the problem in creating stray voltage.
It is typically caused by either multiple location groundings of a the neutral in a power system, or by multiple path groundings of neutrals in separately derived systems (from different transformers for example).
Agreed. That is a very different topic than stray voltage.
No, not always. But it’s also true that it’s often cheaper to settle junk lawsuits than try to win in court.
Here’s a piece from a publication which I’m guessing is not widely read among the health nut types who are given to believing junk science:
Now, I’ll give you another example of unbalanced three phase systems. There’s a persistent thought among meth-heads that they can chop out the neutral conductor on a wye-connected three phase system, because the neutral shouldn’t be carrying any current. In the dry textbook world of three phase, all phases should be balanced and therefore, cancel out the neutral leg currents and voltages, right?
Some clowns have been killed while cutting the neutral leg on a wye system.
BTW2: pipeline operators get concerned about things like new transmission lines going up in their area due to ground currents:
Page down to “Stray Current Corrosion.”
This is why we pay engineers to design these systems, and not health food restaurant reviewers.
Thanks. You were correct, too.
PS self-nit: these types of EM field a causing illness is junk. X-rays and gamma rays on the other hand isn’t, but those are far higher energy levels.
Yep, there is an apartment building alongside which I walk my dog and he occasionally dragged me out of there.
Didn’t know what it was until another dog owner cued me into the mild electric current leakage from some outdoor lights.
I didn’t notice, but the dog walking barefoot sure did!
Unbelievable, the word electrocution is used to describe the execution of a person via electricity. Electric-execution. no one has survived electrocution.
No, not always.
Can you give an example where it is caused otherwise? Even a case as complicated as the one referenced in the link below, comes back to neutral connections in multiple locations, although those connections were eventually made through corrosion associated with buried cables.
Right after I moved into my new house I happened to be turning off my outside faucet barefoot while standing in a puddle that formed under the leaky hose.
Got one hell of a shock, called and complained to the electrician and he swears the system was fine when he did the work, ends up my electronic air cleaner on my furnace was all messed up they said.
I pounded a 20’ copper rod in the ground and ran a line to the water line just because anyway.
use WiFi, but she didn't believe me.
ok that makes sense
but my question remains- isn’t the problem more in the wiring in her house?
I bet it is a great place to find worms after a rain
Not in this case.
Mystery at Topaz substation
...Brett Lacy of Web Electric in Redondo Beach. Lacy used a voltmeter and confirmed that the shower head was carrying a charge of about three volts. Perhaps even more disturbing, he checked the gas line outside the house and found an 12 volt charge.
Lacy turned off the homes main breaker, and the voltage readings remained the same. He realized then the problem had nothing to do with the house itself. The earth under and around the home was carrying a charge.
Also note, that eventually, they made repairs to the substation and modified the gas piping in the area.
Redondo Beach Residents Still Concerned About Stray Voltage
On Monday, crews from Southern California Edison, The Gas Company, and a corrosion control company out of Gardena worked in and around the Topaz Substation, which sits next to the Knob Hill neighborhood.
Edison said workers were installing a new grounding system at the substation, while The Gas Company said its replacing 3,000 feet of an 8-inch diameter steel gas line with 8-inch diameter plastic pipe.
Good Lord, don’t these morons have any idea what the word “electrocution” means?
Remember about twenty five years ago when “stray voltage” became a worry? Lots of con artists started plying the trade of claiming to “find” safe places in your home to put your child.
Others claimed that you could be hurt or killed by being under a high voltage power line.
A few years after this, a local man bought and sub divided an area right under a main power line running from the local power plant. He even made the power line service road the main street of this sub division.
There have been NO complaints from anyone living under those power lines. Ever!
You are confusing stray voltage with EMF fields.
But then, so are some of the people in the article.
Regardless of the EMF talk, this home and others in the area had measurable voltage on the water piping and the gas line piping, even after shutting off the main breaker to the house.
Not junk science at all. Stray voltage is real and it can cause problems.
I was on a 4 week jury trial several years ago where a local farmer was suing the power utility for the damage stray voltage was doing to his milk production.
It's as simple as this: All electricity generated and sent out the wire must come back to the generation point. How much of that returns via the neutral vs through the earth depends primarily on the condition of the neutral. Electricity ALWAYS follows the path of least resistance. In the testimony I heard, the utility itself indicated that something like 12% returned on the neutral, which meant that 88% returned through the earth. It;s been a long time and those numbers are probably not exact, but I was shocked (no pun intended) how much current was going through the earth. If the conditions are right, the path could indeed be down the metal of a water line which could indeed cause you issues if you became part of that circuit.
It's simple really.
I have a circuit tester (the one with the little light bulb) that showed me I had a “HOT” line with the power off.
I later found that if I took a short piece of copper conduit and touched one end to the tester, the other end to the other wire on the tester, I still got a dim “hot” light even though there was no connection to anything electrical anywhere.
I still can’t figure that one out.
Others claimed that you could be hurt or killed by being under a high voltage power line.
I think this is only a problem when there are other serious issues with the power lines. In my experience High Voltage lines make nice lightning rods.
Good post, but to clarify this statement. Electrical current flow will follow ALL paths, it will be in reverse proportion to the resistance.
too bad she didn’t plug into the ground and tap that power!
Its real. Maybe you should look it up before discounting it.
That reminds me of the famous problem: To find the resistance between opposite corners of a cube whose edges have a constant resistance. No pens, pencils, computers or calculators!
Hmmm, now how did that go?