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Watt a mess! Power lines hit homeowner with financial jolt(Stupidity alert)
Boston Herald ^ | Thursday, December 28, 2006 | Jay Fitzgerald

Posted on 12/28/2006 5:17:17 AM PST by GQuagmire

A North Attleboro man faces financial ruin because he built a new home so close to dangerous high-voltage transmission lines that fluorescent bulbs inside the house light up without even being plugged in. The electric currents running through the two-story home are considered so potentially harmful that the town’s fire department has strung “caution” tape around the house while an electrical inspector has refused to issue a final permit out of fear someone might get electrocuted. The home’s metallic door knobs and exterior shingles give off mild electric jolts when touched, while flowing currents are strong enough to light up fluorescent bulbs on their own, the homeowner and experts agree. “I spent everything I had,” said Chris Zagami, who invested up to $70,000 of his own money and took out a $290,000 construction loan to build the 1,700-square-foot home just 27 feet from giant overhead 345,000-volt transmission lines owned by National Grid. Zagami, 30, whose bank is now threatening to call in its loan, blames the fiasco on others, including the town of North Attleboro for issuing him a building permit and National Grid for allegedly constructing one transmission tower years ago too close to his property.

“Financially, I’m so in over my head that it’s ridiculous,” said Zagami, a phone-company technician who grew up only 50 yards away from his new home on Lindley Street in North Attleboro.

The building inspector who issued the permit no longer works for the town. John Rhyno, a town selectman, said he wants to know why the town issued a building permit in the first place, though he maintained there’s nothing in state statutes that sets guidelines for building homes close to transmission lines.

“You would think common sense would have prevailed” before construction started, he said of everyone involved, including Zagami.

A spokeswoman for National Grid, which owns the transmission lines, said Zagami has no one to blame but himself for proceeding with construction last year without getting the company’s permission.

Debbie Drew, the spokeswoman, said Zagami built his home on National Grid’s easement and ignored its repeated warning to stop.

Zagami, who is single and whose now largely completed home sits abandoned, said his surveys show that National Grid actually built one transmission tower off of its easement years ago.

“My life is being destroyed,” said Zagami, of the financial crunch he’s now facing. “I was trying to live the American dream and now I’m getting killed.”


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; US: Massachusetts
KEYWORDS: ac; amp; bolt; circuit; conductor; current; dc; electric; electron; grounded; imaginary; jolt; potential; shocking; static; tinfoil; volt; watt; wired; zot
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Watt an idiot!
1 posted on 12/28/2006 5:17:19 AM PST by GQuagmire
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To: GQuagmire

Perhaps he could sell to a nice family of robots.


2 posted on 12/28/2006 5:20:05 AM PST by atomicpossum (Replies must follow approved guidelines or you will be kill-filed without appeal.)
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To: GQuagmire

Most people have to get building permits in every county in the USA before building. Not sure how he got around this. This could have been prevented with just a little planning.


3 posted on 12/28/2006 5:21:51 AM PST by DownInFlames
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To: DownInFlames
This story is absolutely shocking.
4 posted on 12/28/2006 5:23:10 AM PST by Long Island Pete
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To: atomicpossum
Maybe he could turn it into a second generation power concession and compete with Reddy Kilowatt...


5 posted on 12/28/2006 5:23:46 AM PST by battlegearboat
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To: DownInFlames
This could have been prevented with just a little planning.

Maybe he did plan it...

6 posted on 12/28/2006 5:24:34 AM PST by johnny7 ("We took a hell of a beating." -'Vinegar Joe' Stilwell)
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To: GQuagmire

Usually phone techs are a little sharper than this guy.
His first clue should have been when the redimix truck turned into a giant welding rod.


7 posted on 12/28/2006 5:25:24 AM PST by em2vn
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To: GQuagmire

“You would think common sense would have prevailed” Big mistake - That was so yesterday!

Today you must go on the premise that everyone you meet is an idiot with no common sense. Much safer.


8 posted on 12/28/2006 5:25:47 AM PST by Esther Ruth
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To: DownInFlames
The building inspector who issued the permit no longer works for the town. John Rhyno, a town selectman, said he wants to know why the town issued a building permit in the first place, though he maintained there’s nothing in state statutes that sets guidelines for building homes close to transmission lines.
9 posted on 12/28/2006 5:26:41 AM PST by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: GQuagmire

I can't see how anyone working on the house when it was being built could fail to notice that slight tingling sensation every time they handled a metal object. You would think that would serve as a warning something was wrong.


10 posted on 12/28/2006 5:27:28 AM PST by saganite (Billions and billions and billions-------and that's just the NASA budget!)
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To: GQuagmire

bump


11 posted on 12/28/2006 5:27:29 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: GQuagmire

Well... The power company has to have an easement for their towers. Either the home owner built his home on the easement or the power company put their tower on his property. If he's on the easement he's screwed - and stupid. The city may have some liability if the house is where it was approved to be. Now if the power company put their tower on his land - and not the easement - the power company has a problem. They're going to own the lot and the house for whatever market value is.


12 posted on 12/28/2006 5:28:34 AM PST by DB
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To: GQuagmire
Zagami, who is single and whose now largely completed home sits abandoned,

Most wives wouldn't have allowed this. Sometimes nagging and bitching has a purpose.

13 posted on 12/28/2006 5:28:54 AM PST by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: GQuagmire

Well, he needs to turn his house into a grounded Faraday cage - i.e. tinfoil wrap it, [aluminum siding would do, if he grounds it well]. Ditto for the external doors- the surface on which the doorknobs are mounted is to be connected to the ground as well.


14 posted on 12/28/2006 5:29:52 AM PST by GSlob
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To: GQuagmire

Needs a Faraday shield.......


15 posted on 12/28/2006 5:30:10 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: DB

Wouldn't the architect/builder bear some responsibility too?.....


16 posted on 12/28/2006 5:31:39 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: GQuagmire
surveys show that National Grid actually built one transmission tower off of its easement years ago.

If the power company has made the land unusable by misplacing the transmission lines then the power company is responsible for reimbursing the owners for the use of their property. Also the power company would be responsible for any persons injured by this action.

17 posted on 12/28/2006 5:32:46 AM PST by Between the Lines (Liberalism: the insanity that results from too many people living in close proximity to one another.)
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To: GQuagmire

This story has POTENTIAL!


18 posted on 12/28/2006 5:33:01 AM PST by YouPosting2Me
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To: DownInFlames
Most people have to get building permits in every county in the USA before building. Not sure how he got around this. This could have been prevented with just a little planning.

The guy was issues a permit. From the article:

The building inspector who issued the permit no longer works for the town. John Rhyno, a town selectman, said he wants to know why the town issued a building permit in the first place, though he maintained there’s nothing in state statutes that sets guidelines for building homes close to transmission lines.

19 posted on 12/28/2006 5:35:51 AM PST by The_Victor (If all I want is a warm feeling, I should just wet my pants.)
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To: GSlob

Bravo
A realistic solution to the problem...shielding.


20 posted on 12/28/2006 5:36:32 AM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. .... you'll run the bill up kid!....)
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To: Red Badger

The first order of business is, is it on his property or the power company easement?

If it is on the easement and a architect/civil engineer did the lot plan and the easement is properly marked they likely share in the liability. It is also the reponsibility of the civil engineer to know the set back requirements, not the home owner.


21 posted on 12/28/2006 5:37:01 AM PST by DB
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To: GQuagmire

AC come, DC go.


22 posted on 12/28/2006 5:37:12 AM PST by reagan_fanatic (A liberal is a suicide bomber without the guts)
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To: The_Victor
issues = issued

typing like a cat this morning....

23 posted on 12/28/2006 5:37:19 AM PST by The_Victor (If all I want is a warm feeling, I should just wet my pants.)
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To: GQuagmire

What steps did the power grid take to stop him beyond "warnings"? The home owner will prevail.


24 posted on 12/28/2006 5:37:40 AM PST by tiger-one (The night has a thousand eyes)
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To: DB
They're going to own the lot and the house for whatever market value is.

What is just about squat.

25 posted on 12/28/2006 5:39:35 AM PST by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: GQuagmire

The dope should grow dope under the fluorescent bulbs...lol


26 posted on 12/28/2006 5:39:41 AM PST by Geronimo
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To: DB
They're going to own the lot and the house for whatever market value is.

Which is just about squat.

27 posted on 12/28/2006 5:39:50 AM PST by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: YouPosting2Me

Through his own stupidity, the man's life has GROUND to a halt and is now in NEUTRAL.


28 posted on 12/28/2006 5:39:57 AM PST by savedbygrace (SECURE THE BORDERS FIRST (I'M YELLING ON PURPOSE))
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To: saganite
I can't see how anyone working on the house when it was being built could fail to notice that slight tingling sensation every time they handled a metal object. You would think that would serve as a warning something was wrong.

THat and the fact that thier power tools worked without plugging them in, and the batteries on the hand held ones stayed fully charged even through a full days use.

29 posted on 12/28/2006 5:41:19 AM PST by commish (Freedom tastes sweetest to those who have fought to protect it.)
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To: tiger-one

What steps did the power grid take to stop him beyond "warnings"? The home owner will prevail.

Bigger question;Why on earth would anyone build a home that close to power lines in the first place?


30 posted on 12/28/2006 5:41:33 AM PST by GQuagmire
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To: GQuagmire
A North Attleboro man faces financial ruin because he built a new home so close to dangerous high-voltage transmission lines that fluorescent bulbs inside the house light up without even being plugged in.

That would be spooky as hell!

31 posted on 12/28/2006 5:42:14 AM PST by BeHoldAPaleHorse (Dyslexics of the world, UNTIE!)
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To: GQuagmire

You've got to understand this is Massholechusetts. The bureaucracy in this state will have you doing back flips over what type and size grease trap you need for a dishwash sink in a restaurant, but will turn around and give a building permit to build a house 27 feet from high voltage lines. Socialism,ain't it great !!!


32 posted on 12/28/2006 5:42:36 AM PST by Obie Wan
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To: savedbygrace
Yep. That sums up his current problem.
33 posted on 12/28/2006 5:42:50 AM PST by MaryFromMichigan
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To: GQuagmire

Yeah, but how low are his electric bills?


34 posted on 12/28/2006 5:43:12 AM PST by LRS
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To: GQuagmire; All
Uncle Fester Builds His Dream House
35 posted on 12/28/2006 5:44:32 AM PST by dighton
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To: Long Island Pete

Ohm man, you just couldn't resist, could you?


36 posted on 12/28/2006 5:45:06 AM PST by andy58-in-nh
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To: GQuagmire
You think he's got trouble with the house; you should see his fiancee!


37 posted on 12/28/2006 5:45:59 AM PST by 6SJ7
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To: Izzy Dunne

It would be what the market value would be if the power line were properly located on the easement.

And this is all assuming that it is not properly on the easement.

If he built his house on the power company easement then his only recourse is if the easement isn't properly recorded and if it is properly recorded why the civil engineer that did the site plan didn't locate the house with the required set backs. In California anyway, only a certified engineer can do the site plan. There are many issues to consider. Drainage, set backs, easements, topology, fire truck access etc.


38 posted on 12/28/2006 5:46:23 AM PST by DB
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To: Red Badger

Wouldn't the architect/builder bear some responsibility too?.....

Guaranteed this moeron got some of his buddies in the trades and built the house themselves.The blueprints for the house were probably gotten online.


39 posted on 12/28/2006 5:47:56 AM PST by GQuagmire
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To: bert

C'mon guys... we have a new mission! Lets get charged up!"

40 posted on 12/28/2006 5:48:26 AM PST by YouPosting2Me
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To: DB

I used to live in an apartment 30 years ago that was practicallly right underneath some HV Tower power lines. My stereo system of the time (Pioneer/Marantz) had a constant BUZZZZZZZZZZ................


41 posted on 12/28/2006 5:51:29 AM PST by Red Badger (New! HeadOn Hemorrhoid Medication for Liberals!.........Apply directly to forehead.........)
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To: andy58-in-nh

No I couldnt. In fact I am still laughing about it.


42 posted on 12/28/2006 5:51:59 AM PST by Long Island Pete
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To: atomicpossum

LOL


43 posted on 12/28/2006 5:52:32 AM PST by bmwcyle (I believe in Jesus Christ, the reason for the season.)
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To: GQuagmire
I remember hearing about some farmer in Alabama who put a huge coil in a chicken house, and ran his entire farm for almost ten years before they caught him. (The nature of TVA's easement allowed him to put farm buildings on the easement).
44 posted on 12/28/2006 5:53:32 AM PST by DreamsofPolycarp
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To: Red Badger

Pretty much does in AM reception too...


45 posted on 12/28/2006 5:55:26 AM PST by DB
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To: GQuagmire

Can a tech savvy FReeper explain how power "leaks" from transmission lines? I should think they'd be well insulated.


46 posted on 12/28/2006 5:58:45 AM PST by JimRed ("Hey, hey, Teddy K., how many girls did you drown today?" (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help m)
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To: DreamsofPolycarp
Two thoughts.

1. The house is not properly grounded. Proper grounding will make any static buildup next to impossible.

2. When given a lemon. make lemonade. If his property is close enough I wonder if he could be inductively coupled to the power lines. Say the power line is the primary side of a transformer, he could run a parallel length of wire and treat it as a secondary side of a transformer and have it drive a load. Free power! Another way of looking at it is the power company was broadcasting on to his property and he was merely receiving the signal.
47 posted on 12/28/2006 5:58:55 AM PST by Mark was here (How can they be called "Homeless" if their home is a field?.)
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To: GQuagmire
“You would think common sense would have prevailed”

Ya think?

Look up, see wires, feel buzz...

48 posted on 12/28/2006 5:59:44 AM PST by SouthTexas (I'm not through with this year.........)
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To: Long Island Pete

Lots of live wires on this thread.


49 posted on 12/28/2006 6:03:22 AM PST by andy58-in-nh
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To: GQuagmire

50 posted on 12/28/2006 6:06:41 AM PST by M. Dodge Thomas
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