Have you ever gotten a little shock from touching a parked car or a random metal object when you’ve been near a power line? Such shocks are startling and a bit of a nuisance, yet rest assured - they won’t hurt you. AEP Transmission follows the National Electric Safety Code, which specifics guidelines for safeguarding the public and utility workers around electricity devices and equipment, such as power lines.
Energized power lines, electrical wiring, appliances, TVs, hair dryers, computers and other electrical devices all produce electric fields. An electric field - invisible lines of force produced by electric voltage - is a natural occurrence that can’t be eliminated or confined.
Electric fields can cause such shocks when a person touches a metal object that is near electrical lines and equipment. A good example is a vehicle parked near or within a power line right of way.
Typically, such shocks occur when vehicles are parked in or next to the right of way of a 345-kilovolt (kV) or larger line. Vehicles and other objects that are metal can conduct electricity. These objects are more likely to build up a charge and may deliver an annoying shock when you touch them. You feel the shock because you become a path to ground for electric current.