The age-old adage First Do No Harm should be the tempering goal of not only medicine, but government and industry, especially when they team up to deploy new technologies, set policies and serve the people.

This blog exists to reveal and analyze areas in which these powerful groups are failing to "first do no harm."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Owen Veterinarian Fights Xcel Energy Over Electrical Pollution

I interviewed Dr. Pamela Jaffke, a veterinarian in Owen, Wisconsin, who is suffering because of the bullheadedness of her utility company, Xcel Energy. They, along with the other state power companies and the Public Service Commission, refuse to take action to improve the safety of their product in spite of the continuous stream of health complaints like Dr. Jaffke's over the years.

It is time for the Wisconsin utilities to stop releasing their voltage trash - known as transients and harmonics - into the ground, and upgrade the system statewide to protect people, and not just cows, from exposure to biologically harmful ground currents.
.........................................................................
I'm not after money. I don't care if Xcel would give me a million dollars right today. That's not going to buy my cat's health. That's not going to buy my health. --Pamela Jaffke
.........................................................................
Since realizing she was electrically sensitive, Dr. Pamela Jaffke, a dairy veterinarian in Owen, has worked to make her house safe. Stetzerizer filters helped a bit, but were unable to bring the electrical pollution levels down far enough. "The only thing that made things truly livable, I just unhooked the neutral from the water main," she says.

Then her home's electrical pollution levels spiked November 1 following some work to the sewer pipes, which stopped them from carrying the ground currents, and she and her cat, Magic, were hit hard with debilitating symptoms. "It was an absolute disaster for both of us and it's continued that way," says Jaffke, who has Multiple Sclerosis, and gets painful tingling in her legs from this electrical exposure. Her cat has trouble walking and stops eating.

Xcel came out and ran circles around her without addressing the problem, she told me. "If I was a dairy farm, they would be forced to do something. Anything over 1/2 volt, they are forced to do something," says the veterinarian. The current readings in her home range from 1/2 to one volt.

Wisconsin law currently protects cows from high levels of stray voltage, which Jaffke says is not "stray." "Xcel put it there and it is Xcel's problem," she says. The term stray voltage only legally applies to cows. The currents are referred to as electrical pollution in relation to humans. "But there's no laws to protect people," says Jaffke.

Not a New Issue
The health menace of stray voltage/electrical pollution is not a new issue. Wisconsin journalists have blazed a fiery trail to try to expose it. Reporter Chris Hardie at the La Crosse Tribune had won five Wisconsin journalism awards and was nominated for a 2000 Pulitzer Prize for work covering the issue, including a special website dedicated to it, while journalist Kurt Gutknecht had been fired as editor of the Wisconsin Agriculturist for continuing to write about the health affects on animals and the farmers themselves.

State Representative Barb Gronemus, D-Whitehall, had proposed legislation in 2003 to force the utilities to clean up their act. The legislation died in committee despite huge support exhibited at a public hearing September 18, 2003. Supporters blame pressure from the big utilities on the lawmakers for its failure.

At a volt, I'm objecting.
Today, Dr. Jaffke insists she is covered by the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) 92D, which states that there should be no objectionable flow of current over the earth. "At a volt, I'm objecting," she says.

It is likely to be an uphill battle. Xcel Energy has a history of fighting customers over health issues. They argued in a 2008 article that the cow deaths could be blamed on other factors than stray voltage. In an article in the La Crosse Tribune on December 11, 2006, Xcel and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin claimed that no credible scientific evidence had been raised "that suggests the electrical system in Wisconsin is unsafe or causes any health problems in humans."

Such resistance to customers' needs and safety is deeply ingrained in the untouchable utilities and their unaccountable defender despite numerous studies showing harm, and the nonstop procession of people reporting illness over decades. (See Research and Technical sections at Electrical Pollution , and the Stetzer site for some of the studies and cases. Here is a case involving cancer.)

Owen Council Meeting
Dr. Jaffke is enlisting the help of her city to help deal with the powerful utility. She explained her case and read a list of lies Xcel told her during the Owen city council meeting on December 15. For example, the utility told her that the 5-wire system is unsafe. But, adding a fifth wire would easily correct the problem of electrical pollution for her - and for all residents statewide.

This acceptable, effective method appears in the 1995 report from the research arm of the utilities, the Electric Power Research Institute. It states: "A method that practically eliminates ground currents associated with primary distribution line and still maintains the advantage of a four-wire multi-grounded system is a five-wire system."

It would just cost pennies to do, says Jaffke. It is such a simple solution, she told Owen council members, who were alarmed to hear about the serious health effects the respected veterinarian and her cat were experiencing. The council meets in a building right behind her house, "which pretty much implies that they're getting fried, too," says the human "canary in the mine."

Jaffke hopes her city will have the will and the legal clout to get results. She says, "The city has an obligation to protect their citizens and make sure that any corporation doing business in town is up to code."

Owen mayor Tim Swiggum said during a telephone interview that they plan to go at this from both ends: They will talk to the guys who help them when they are extending power lines to see if that area of town is overloaded, and they also will meet with the higher-ups at the utility to see what they have to say about this problem.

"It's fairly new to me," says Mayor Swiggum, who has begun to educate himself on this controversial issue. "I don't want to burn any bridges. We need the electric company," he adds, though he agrees that Pam Jaffke definitely needs help with the problem in her house.

Jaffke told me she warned the city, "Xcel is going to try to tell you that everything's fine just like they told me. You'll have to be able to refute every one of their arguments. They're not just going to roll over and do whatever you say."

The Owen resident says she just wants a resolution to the problem, and hopes the city can help. But she would not mind if the utility ended up suing her because "in court they'll be exposed as a fraud."

"I'm not after money. I don't care if Xcel would give me a million dollars right today. That's not going to buy my cat's health. That's not going to buy my health," the Owen veterinarian says.

How Can People Check Their Own Homes?
Jaffke says the way to check for voltage coming into your home is to borrow or buy a $50 volt meter. A trifield meter will show the microwave frequencies coming into the house. So, for about $200 people could get together and purchase both meters. "Between a trifield meter and a volt meter you have all the tools you need to figure out the garbage that's coming into your house," she says.
.........................................................................

And I say, if the utilities got up to speed and took care of the mess they have made, everyday people would not need to try to do this kind of detective work or have to battle the power companies for their health. What a racket.

6 comments:

  1. Disconnecting the Neutral from the water main, might cause more problems than it solves, IE: the water main and attached taps/pipework could rise to a high potential and give you a shock. I don't know if you have a plastic water main, or a metal one coming into your house from the ground, but generally all exposed metalwork in a situation like this needs bonding to the main earthing conductor in the houses fusebox, this would ensure that there is no potential difference between any exposed metal work and the greater mass of earth.
    Your problem could be due to a bad neutral connection on one of the overhead poles, if you have an overhead supply that is, this can create current flow in the ground, as current passes from one pole to another underground. Or is can be caused by very badly balanced load on the distribution network, resulting in too much current on the Neutral conductor, the conductor then deteriates with overuse, and the current is bypassed into the ground. You need the services of a very good electrician if you can find one. We call this Step voltage. You may be able to solve this by earth bonding the metal framework in the concrete floor of your house if you have one, or earth bonding the metal framework of the house, you will have to check with local wiring codes to see if this is allowed though. I have measured it at up to 1.75V over 3mtrs in New Zealand. With Bare feet the Human body can detect around 1.5V, but some people are more conductive than others. I hope this helps, Obviouslt the elctrical codes are different all over the world, so check it out, ask your electrician some basic theory questions, like what does zS-zE= the answer is r1+r2, the sort of electrician that can answer a question like this is the sort of person you want. Generally as a rule of thumb, when you take on the power companies, they are always right, no matter how wrong they are. Dave.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello! I'll be looking forward for your other posts. You have such a nice page. I'll try to visit this page again some other time. Thank you so much for sharing this blog post. Before electricians are allowed to work without supervision, they are usually required to serve an apprenticeship lasting from 3 to 5 years under the general supervision of a Master Electrician and usually the direct supervision of a Journeyman Electrician. Schooling in electrical theory and electrical building codes are required to complete the apprenticeship program. Many apprenticeship programs provide a salary to the apprentice during training. A Journeyman electrician is a well rounded craftsman who has met the experience requirements for on the job training (usually 4080 to 6120 hrs) and classroom hours (about 144 hrs.); they may also have a two year relevant degree and another two to three years of apprenticeship training and have passed a licensing exam for their jurisdiction, be it state, county or city. They are trained in all phases of electrical construction installation in various building styles (residential, commercial, industrial, basic electronics) and maintenance of equipment after installation. All of their time is well documented under the jurisdiction of the state government in order for their time to be credited. A Journeyman is usually permitted to perform all types of electrical work except the design of electrical systems, although in some jurisdictions a Journeyman may design systems within certain limits. By contrast, a residential electrician is only permitted to work on residential projects with limitations (for example under 4 stories), and apprenticeship is typically four to five years. In certain states like Michigan, to go on to be a Master Electrician and then an electrical contractor, a journeyman has to work another two years past his passing of the extensive exam given and then apply to take the Master's exam which is another very rigid exam. Then they can apply for an electrical contractors license according to the guidelines of that government.

    We offer:
    * 24/7 emergency service
    * Same-day service
    * Free estimates
    * Free phone consultations
    * Free visual electrical safety inspection and written report with every service call
    * Free design / build (with commitment letter)
    * Complete repair, diagnosis, installation, and design services
    Electrician Burlington MA

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your post gives good insight for everybody to become aware of electrical pollution. Thank you very much for sharing this, this will help every reader a lot.
    good and professional electricians sydney

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really appreciate on your post.... and I got an usefull information about the matter... I just tried to write the same post...read here

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just tried to write the same post on your blog I really appreciate your post
    Thanks for sharing your post :)


    sydney electricians

    ReplyDelete
  6. Organized content is the best way to display or post an article, thank you for making it easy to digest your post.


    Electrician los angeles

    ReplyDelete

Friday, December 17, 2010

Owen Veterinarian Fights Xcel Energy Over Electrical Pollution

I interviewed Dr. Pamela Jaffke, a veterinarian in Owen, Wisconsin, who is suffering because of the bullheadedness of her utility company, Xcel Energy. They, along with the other state power companies and the Public Service Commission, refuse to take action to improve the safety of their product in spite of the continuous stream of health complaints like Dr. Jaffke's over the years.

It is time for the Wisconsin utilities to stop releasing their voltage trash - known as transients and harmonics - into the ground, and upgrade the system statewide to protect people, and not just cows, from exposure to biologically harmful ground currents.
.........................................................................
I'm not after money. I don't care if Xcel would give me a million dollars right today. That's not going to buy my cat's health. That's not going to buy my health. --Pamela Jaffke
.........................................................................
Since realizing she was electrically sensitive, Dr. Pamela Jaffke, a dairy veterinarian in Owen, has worked to make her house safe. Stetzerizer filters helped a bit, but were unable to bring the electrical pollution levels down far enough. "The only thing that made things truly livable, I just unhooked the neutral from the water main," she says.

Then her home's electrical pollution levels spiked November 1 following some work to the sewer pipes, which stopped them from carrying the ground currents, and she and her cat, Magic, were hit hard with debilitating symptoms. "It was an absolute disaster for both of us and it's continued that way," says Jaffke, who has Multiple Sclerosis, and gets painful tingling in her legs from this electrical exposure. Her cat has trouble walking and stops eating.

Xcel came out and ran circles around her without addressing the problem, she told me. "If I was a dairy farm, they would be forced to do something. Anything over 1/2 volt, they are forced to do something," says the veterinarian. The current readings in her home range from 1/2 to one volt.

Wisconsin law currently protects cows from high levels of stray voltage, which Jaffke says is not "stray." "Xcel put it there and it is Xcel's problem," she says. The term stray voltage only legally applies to cows. The currents are referred to as electrical pollution in relation to humans. "But there's no laws to protect people," says Jaffke.

Not a New Issue
The health menace of stray voltage/electrical pollution is not a new issue. Wisconsin journalists have blazed a fiery trail to try to expose it. Reporter Chris Hardie at the La Crosse Tribune had won five Wisconsin journalism awards and was nominated for a 2000 Pulitzer Prize for work covering the issue, including a special website dedicated to it, while journalist Kurt Gutknecht had been fired as editor of the Wisconsin Agriculturist for continuing to write about the health affects on animals and the farmers themselves.

State Representative Barb Gronemus, D-Whitehall, had proposed legislation in 2003 to force the utilities to clean up their act. The legislation died in committee despite huge support exhibited at a public hearing September 18, 2003. Supporters blame pressure from the big utilities on the lawmakers for its failure.

At a volt, I'm objecting.
Today, Dr. Jaffke insists she is covered by the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) 92D, which states that there should be no objectionable flow of current over the earth. "At a volt, I'm objecting," she says.

It is likely to be an uphill battle. Xcel Energy has a history of fighting customers over health issues. They argued in a 2008 article that the cow deaths could be blamed on other factors than stray voltage. In an article in the La Crosse Tribune on December 11, 2006, Xcel and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin claimed that no credible scientific evidence had been raised "that suggests the electrical system in Wisconsin is unsafe or causes any health problems in humans."

Such resistance to customers' needs and safety is deeply ingrained in the untouchable utilities and their unaccountable defender despite numerous studies showing harm, and the nonstop procession of people reporting illness over decades. (See Research and Technical sections at Electrical Pollution , and the Stetzer site for some of the studies and cases. Here is a case involving cancer.)

Owen Council Meeting
Dr. Jaffke is enlisting the help of her city to help deal with the powerful utility. She explained her case and read a list of lies Xcel told her during the Owen city council meeting on December 15. For example, the utility told her that the 5-wire system is unsafe. But, adding a fifth wire would easily correct the problem of electrical pollution for her - and for all residents statewide.

This acceptable, effective method appears in the 1995 report from the research arm of the utilities, the Electric Power Research Institute. It states: "A method that practically eliminates ground currents associated with primary distribution line and still maintains the advantage of a four-wire multi-grounded system is a five-wire system."

It would just cost pennies to do, says Jaffke. It is such a simple solution, she told Owen council members, who were alarmed to hear about the serious health effects the respected veterinarian and her cat were experiencing. The council meets in a building right behind her house, "which pretty much implies that they're getting fried, too," says the human "canary in the mine."

Jaffke hopes her city will have the will and the legal clout to get results. She says, "The city has an obligation to protect their citizens and make sure that any corporation doing business in town is up to code."

Owen mayor Tim Swiggum said during a telephone interview that they plan to go at this from both ends: They will talk to the guys who help them when they are extending power lines to see if that area of town is overloaded, and they also will meet with the higher-ups at the utility to see what they have to say about this problem.

"It's fairly new to me," says Mayor Swiggum, who has begun to educate himself on this controversial issue. "I don't want to burn any bridges. We need the electric company," he adds, though he agrees that Pam Jaffke definitely needs help with the problem in her house.

Jaffke told me she warned the city, "Xcel is going to try to tell you that everything's fine just like they told me. You'll have to be able to refute every one of their arguments. They're not just going to roll over and do whatever you say."

The Owen resident says she just wants a resolution to the problem, and hopes the city can help. But she would not mind if the utility ended up suing her because "in court they'll be exposed as a fraud."

"I'm not after money. I don't care if Xcel would give me a million dollars right today. That's not going to buy my cat's health. That's not going to buy my health," the Owen veterinarian says.

How Can People Check Their Own Homes?
Jaffke says the way to check for voltage coming into your home is to borrow or buy a $50 volt meter. A trifield meter will show the microwave frequencies coming into the house. So, for about $200 people could get together and purchase both meters. "Between a trifield meter and a volt meter you have all the tools you need to figure out the garbage that's coming into your house," she says.
.........................................................................

And I say, if the utilities got up to speed and took care of the mess they have made, everyday people would not need to try to do this kind of detective work or have to battle the power companies for their health. What a racket.

6 comments:

  1. Disconnecting the Neutral from the water main, might cause more problems than it solves, IE: the water main and attached taps/pipework could rise to a high potential and give you a shock. I don't know if you have a plastic water main, or a metal one coming into your house from the ground, but generally all exposed metalwork in a situation like this needs bonding to the main earthing conductor in the houses fusebox, this would ensure that there is no potential difference between any exposed metal work and the greater mass of earth.
    Your problem could be due to a bad neutral connection on one of the overhead poles, if you have an overhead supply that is, this can create current flow in the ground, as current passes from one pole to another underground. Or is can be caused by very badly balanced load on the distribution network, resulting in too much current on the Neutral conductor, the conductor then deteriates with overuse, and the current is bypassed into the ground. You need the services of a very good electrician if you can find one. We call this Step voltage. You may be able to solve this by earth bonding the metal framework in the concrete floor of your house if you have one, or earth bonding the metal framework of the house, you will have to check with local wiring codes to see if this is allowed though. I have measured it at up to 1.75V over 3mtrs in New Zealand. With Bare feet the Human body can detect around 1.5V, but some people are more conductive than others. I hope this helps, Obviouslt the elctrical codes are different all over the world, so check it out, ask your electrician some basic theory questions, like what does zS-zE= the answer is r1+r2, the sort of electrician that can answer a question like this is the sort of person you want. Generally as a rule of thumb, when you take on the power companies, they are always right, no matter how wrong they are. Dave.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello! I'll be looking forward for your other posts. You have such a nice page. I'll try to visit this page again some other time. Thank you so much for sharing this blog post. Before electricians are allowed to work without supervision, they are usually required to serve an apprenticeship lasting from 3 to 5 years under the general supervision of a Master Electrician and usually the direct supervision of a Journeyman Electrician. Schooling in electrical theory and electrical building codes are required to complete the apprenticeship program. Many apprenticeship programs provide a salary to the apprentice during training. A Journeyman electrician is a well rounded craftsman who has met the experience requirements for on the job training (usually 4080 to 6120 hrs) and classroom hours (about 144 hrs.); they may also have a two year relevant degree and another two to three years of apprenticeship training and have passed a licensing exam for their jurisdiction, be it state, county or city. They are trained in all phases of electrical construction installation in various building styles (residential, commercial, industrial, basic electronics) and maintenance of equipment after installation. All of their time is well documented under the jurisdiction of the state government in order for their time to be credited. A Journeyman is usually permitted to perform all types of electrical work except the design of electrical systems, although in some jurisdictions a Journeyman may design systems within certain limits. By contrast, a residential electrician is only permitted to work on residential projects with limitations (for example under 4 stories), and apprenticeship is typically four to five years. In certain states like Michigan, to go on to be a Master Electrician and then an electrical contractor, a journeyman has to work another two years past his passing of the extensive exam given and then apply to take the Master's exam which is another very rigid exam. Then they can apply for an electrical contractors license according to the guidelines of that government.

    We offer:
    * 24/7 emergency service
    * Same-day service
    * Free estimates
    * Free phone consultations
    * Free visual electrical safety inspection and written report with every service call
    * Free design / build (with commitment letter)
    * Complete repair, diagnosis, installation, and design services
    Electrician Burlington MA

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your post gives good insight for everybody to become aware of electrical pollution. Thank you very much for sharing this, this will help every reader a lot.
    good and professional electricians sydney

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really appreciate on your post.... and I got an usefull information about the matter... I just tried to write the same post...read here

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just tried to write the same post on your blog I really appreciate your post
    Thanks for sharing your post :)


    sydney electricians

    ReplyDelete
  6. Organized content is the best way to display or post an article, thank you for making it easy to digest your post.


    Electrician los angeles

    ReplyDelete