Betreff: Help eliminate electrical ground currents - Support WI LRB 1641/1, The Electrical Consumers Bill of Rights

Von: Martin Weatherall

Datum: Tue, 17 Jul 2007 23:08:29 –0400



Ground current electrical pollution is a major environmental problem in North America.  Ontario has recently announced that it will eliminate the problem.  This message is about the situation in the United States and an important proposal from Representative Barbara Gronemus, to eliminate ground current pollution.



----- Original Message -----


Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 10:48 AM

Subject: Help eliminate electrical ground currents - Support WI LRB 1641/1, The Electrical Consumers Bill of Rights


Representative Barbara Gronemus is circulating her bill to eliminate electrical ground currents for co-sponsors. It is LRB 1641/1, the Electrical Consumers Bill of Rights. Please call your legislators and ask that they co-sponsor it.

The bill is elegant in its simplicity. It merely codifies the National Electrical Safety Code requirement that the earth not be used as a continuous return path for electricity. The legislation requires that the utilities stop using the ground as a return path for electrical current. (At this time over 70% of electrical current returns via the ground, travelling uncontrolled on lawns, plumbing, playground equipment, us, and anything else conductive in its path, which is not necessarily anywhere near electrical wires.) It allows the utilities to determine the most effective and least costly method to use in each situation. There are a number of methods available see EPRI Publication TR-106003 Handbook for the Assessment and Management of Magnetic Fields Caused by Distribution Lines for details. It also provides recourse for citizens, besides lawsuits, if the utilities are not responsive to notification of current returning on the ground.

While the human health effects of exposure to electrical ground currents have gotten little media attention, that is not because they are non-existent. Electrical ground currents are pretty conclusively linked to an increase in the risk of childhood leukemia. The high frequencies that pollute our electricity and cause the electrical ground currents have been linked to increased blood glucose levels, ms symptoms, asthma, allergies, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome and an assortment of other symptoms, see for details. Dirty power cannot be totally cleaned up until we get all the electricity back under control on a wire.

The problem of electrical ground currents was noticed first by farmers for two main reasons. One, farmyards with animals are very conductive due to the urine and manure. Two, cows deliver a product that is quantifiable with an expected yield for certain care practices. When this is no longer being achieved, it is obvious something is wrong, especially if the cows are also dying right and left. When electrical ground currents are the culprit, milk production often varies wildly and only correlates to the electrical environment, see dose response curve, toward bottom of the page at . The dose response curve and repeatability, 50 or more cows per herd, makes it obvious. With humans, each one of us is viewed in isolation. There has been extreme reluctance to examine electrical exposure via plumbing, ground currents, dirty power on wires or any other source. People are much more likely to be treated symptom by symptom, illness by illness.

The increasing body of research on exposure to electrical pollution shows humans are profoundly affected. For the health of our society we should require electricity remain on electrical wires during normal operation of the electrical grid. Please support LRB 1641/1, The Electrical Consumers Bill of Rights. We are already paying for the illness caused by this problem wouldn't it make more sense to pay a pittance to get the electricity back on the wire. (Last time the legislation was introduced, it was estimated it would cost $1.20/ratepayer/month to implement.)

Below are links to the Assembly and Senate email directories, remember to include you name and address if you email. I am attaching both phone directories.

Please contact your WI Representatives and Senators as soon as possible and ask your family and friends to do likewise. This affects us all. (People out of state can contact their state representatives and have them introduce the legislation in their own state. Previous versions can be found at . They only differ in dates and such that need to update from version to version.) Never underestimate the power of contacting your representative.


P.S. Please contact your legislators even if it is after July 18 when you receive this.

<<Co-sponsorship of LRB 1641/1>>

"Rep.Gronemus" <>
Date: July 11, 2007 2:30:24 PM CDT
To: "*Legislative All Assembly" <>, "*Legislative All Senate" <>
Subject: Co-sponsorship of LRB 1641/1


DATE:   JULY 11, 2007


I am introducing legislation relating to objectionable flows of electrical current.  The intent of this proposal is to provide better consumer rights, to set forth standard procedure for the utility folks to follow, and to advance the elimination of objectionable flows of current.

Based upon recent court cases in which producers and consumers have spent thousands, for both sides, dealing with objectionable electrical flows under this proposal could be dealt with without spending all of one’s time and financial recourses in court.  This proposal offers consumers the option to take action, and provides a progressive time table for remedial action.

If you are interested in co-sponsoring this bill, please contact my office at 6-7015 by July 18, 2007. 

Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau

This bill prohibits electric utilities and cooperatives from causing objectionable flows of current on the property of others. The bill states that the legislature finds that objectionable flows of current are detrimental to public health, safety, and welfare and that the bill’s purpose is to advance substantially the state’s legitimate interest in eliminating, and providing remedies for, objectionable flows of current.  “Objectionable flow of current” is defined as a steady state of load electrical current for five seconds or more on a grounding conductor or any other conductor that normally does not carry electric current. However, certain temporary flows of current that result from the performance of a grounding conductor’s protective functions are excluded from the definition. A “grounding conductor” is defined as a conductor that connects the distribution system of an electric utility or cooperative to a grounding electrode or electrodes.

The bill allows a person who owns, leases, or occupies property on which an electric utility or cooperative violates the prohibition to bring an action in court to enjoin the violation and for any damages resulting from the violation. In addition, if the person prevails in the court action, the court is required to award the person attorney fees and costs. Also, if the person provided written notice to the electric utility or cooperative about the violation before bringing the court action, and the electric utility or cooperative failed to remedy the violation within 30 days after receiving the notice, the court must award treble the damages resulting from the violation.

In addition, the bill requires each electric utility and cooperative to remedy all problems associated with its plant or equipment that cause objectionable flows of current on the property of others. The deadline for meeting this requirement is January 1, 2012. However, if an objectionable flow of current is discovered in 2011, the electric utility or cooperative must remedy problems with plants and equipment no later than one year after the discovery. The penalty for failing to comply with the 2012 deadline is a forfeiture of between $500,000 and $1,000,000. The penalty for failing to remedy problems discovered in 2011 within the one-year deadline is a forfeiture of $1,000 for each day of failure to comply.

The bill provides that an objectionable flow of current that an electric utility or provider causes on the property of another person is a trespass on that property. If a person brings an action for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the trespass, the bill provides that the person is not required to show irreparable harm for the court to grant the preliminary injunction. Under current law, a person seeking a preliminary injunction must show irreparable harm and satisfy other requirements. The bill also prohibits an electric utility or cooperative from obtaining a prescriptive right to cause, or an easement or other property interest for causing, an objectionable flow of current on the property of another person.

The bill allows a person to bring a products liability action against an electric utility or cooperative that causes an objectionable flow of current on property owned, leased, or occupied by the person. Under current law, Wisconsin courts have specified the elements that must be satisfied for a plaintiff to prevail in a product’s liability action. The first two elements are 1) the product sold must be in a defective condition; and 2) the product must be unreasonably dangerous. In addition, in Koplin v. Pioneer Power & Light Co., Inc., 154 Wis. 2d. 487, 500 (1990), the Wisconsin Court of Appeals held that a plaintiff could not bring a products liability action against an electric utility for stray voltage. (The Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed

the court of appeals on other grounds and did not address the products liability holding.) This bill reverses the court of appeals holding regarding products liability by specifying that, in a products liability action, an electric utility or cooperative that causes an objectionable flow of current on the property of another person is considered to have provided a product in a defective condition that is unreasonably dangerous. As a result, the first two elements required for a products liability action are satisfied.

Finally, the bill does all of the following:
1. The bill allows the attorney general to enforce the prohibition regarding objectionable flows of current and the requirements regarding the deadlines for remedying problems with plants and equipment. A court is allowed to award the attorney general prosecution expenses, including attorney fees.

2. The bill provides that an electric utility that causes an objectionable flow of current on the property of another is considered to have violated its duty under current law to provide reasonably adequate service.

3. The bill allows a person who shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the person is injured by a public utility’s violation of laws enforced by the Public Service Commission to collect treble the damages resulting from the injury. Under current law, treble damages are allowed only if the violation is willful, wanton, or reckless. In addition, under current law, the evidentiary standard that applies is clear and convincing evidence, which requires more evidence than the standard under the bill.

For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.

Christopher Kent
Office of State Representative Barbara Gronemus 
Room 114 North, State Capitol
Madison, WI 53707



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