Under the 110 kV power line

Radiation is the emission or sending out of energy from any source. Generating, transmitting, distributing, and using electricity all expose people to ELF radiation. Power lines, household wiring, and any device that uses electricity can generate ELF radiation. How much electromagnetic radiation you are exposed to depends on the strength of the electromagnetic field, your distance from the source of the field, and the length of time you are exposed. Several large studies have looked at the possible effects of ELF magnetic fields on cancer in rats and mice with fields much stronger than what people are normally exposed to at home ranging from 2 to 5000 microtesla (µT). Scientific evidence suggesting that ELF exposure poses a health risk is “weak“.

It’s not clear that exposure to ELF radiation is harmful. People who are concerned about ELF radiation exposure from high-power electrical lines should keep in mind that the intensity of any exposure goes down significantly as you get farther away from the source.

All overhead lines produce electric and magnetic fields. The field is highest directly under the line and falls to the sides. On the ground, the strength of the electromagnetic field is highest directly under the power line. Below power line you are exposed to electromagnetic field that consists of electrical field and magnetic field. The electrical field you are exposed depends on the line voltage used on the line and how near you are to the line wires.

Magnetic field depends on the amount of current carried on the power line. As current moves through a power line, it creates a magnetic field called an electromagnetic field. The strength of the EMF is proportional to the amount of electrical current passing through the power line and decreases as you move farther away. You can measure the magnetic field strength with a device called a gaussmeter.

Where there is more than one current forming part of one or more electrical circuits (like in typical three phase overhead power line), there is also partial cancellation between the magnetic fields and partial cancellation between the electric fields produced by the voltages on individual conductors. Cancellation depends on the way the wires are located in relation to your location and generally becomes better at greater distances. To get ideas of field levels involved take a look at Average fields at various distances from high-voltage power lines data.

Under 110 kV power line picture:

20201028_185307

Light bulbs under power line

In some cases the electromagnetic field surrounding the power lines is enough to make fluorescent tubes glow.
There are videos that show how you can Light up a Bulb Under High Voltage Power Lines

Abnormal phenomenon under a high voltage PTL – LIGHTING BULBS RIGHT IN MY HANDS without any wires!!!

The effect of the electrical field under very high voltage line has also been used to create art.

The image below shows an example of electrostatic coupling as mentioned by Ilmari Karonen. Note that the site where this photos first appeared and others relating to fluorescent tube lighting frequently refer to electromagnetic coupling. Ibn fact (as far as I know) what is incolved is electrostatic or capacitive coupling.

Tube & Field Study

Shock under power lines

If in some cases the electrical field is enough to light a bulb, can it cause electrical shock? Daily Mail magazine wrote:
Cyclists who ride beneath overhead power lines occasionally suffer a small electric shock, according to the National Grid. So-called ‘micro shocks’ can happen when a cyclist passes through the electrical field surrounding a power line and picks up a small electric charge. In some cases on some conditions it might be possible to feels some shocks, but not always and everywhere near power line.

Links:
https://www.eta.co.uk/2010/11/29/cyclists-can-suffer-electric-shocks-near-power-lines/
https://www.emfs.info/effects/microshocks/
https://www.quora.com/Is-it-safe-to-walk-under-electric-power-transmission-lines
https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/29016/cyclists-electrical-tingling-under-power-lines
https://www.quora.com/What-happens-if-we-carry-an-umbrella-under-a-high-power-line

Umbrella under powerlines!!

Measurement under 110 kV line

When there is a lot of material and different views on the electrical and magnetic fields below power line, the best idea is to make yourself some testing to see what is the real situation. Here are two EMF measurements I made near and under the 110 kV power line:

20201114_144318

20201114_144246

To see what kind of effect an electrical field can cause, I took an umbrella on my hand and walked below a power line (with shoes that had isolating rubber bottom). Then I measured the voltage and current from the umbrella to ground. The umbrella top was at around 2.5 meters from ground during measurements.

Voltage measured with digital multi-meter from the umbrella was 30-40V AC.
The current with multi-meter current range from umbrella only was 1-1.5mA AC.
When I touched the umbrella (so human+umbrella) I got up to 2 mA AC reading at current range and 15-20V at voltage range.
The magnetic field with EMF meter was around 4 uT and electrical field more then 1999 V/m (maximum EMF meter reading).

Stealing power

Could you steal power from the power line this way? Maybe a little but nothing significant near the ground. With my umbrella I could maybe able to get 1 mA at 10V or so maximum form umbrella, meaning theoretically 10 mW or less.

There are some “Free Energy” or “Radiant Energy” cell phone charger video that claim to uses high tension power lines to charge cell phones. High tension power lines give off electric fields as well as electromagnetic fields, but according to my measurements on my case not that much that those claims would be possible (maybe at some other countries field are much stronger). Enjoy the videos but take the claims with grain of salt.

Charging from the power lines.

Charging Cell Phones From Power Lines?

Theoretically you could get somewhat more power if you get more near to line, but Messing with the high voltage power line and its proximity is very dangerous, potentially lethal and most certainly illegal. There are stories of people stealing power from power lines, but it is practically pretty hard to steal any considerable amount of power without needing huge set-ups and being noticed.

Dangers of power lines

Links:
https://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/138499/can-the-wire-of-a-high-voltage-power-line-be-used-as-the-primary-coil-of-an-air
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277277559_Magnetic_Field_Energy_Harvesting_Under_Overhead_Power_Lines
https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/3005516/1/TPEL2436702%20Sheng.pdf

Links to more information

https://www.who.int/peh-emf/about/WhatisEMF/en/index3.html
https://www.emfs.info/sources/overhead/
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235671761_Electromagnetic_field_underneath_overhead_high_voltage_power_line
https://emwatch.com/power-line-emf/
https://www.epanorama.net/blog/2019/01/21/optical-ground-wire-on-power-line/

46 Comments

  1. Maureen Rieras says:

    Hello!
    I tried posting this comment to the post your wrote about LED lights in 2018. but i kept having an error so i’m trying to comment on a more recent post.

    i have a question that I think you’d have an answer to. I have LED christmas lights that I purchased in Switzerland. I am now living in the states again and would like to use the lights. My lights look very similar to the ones in your pictures that use a 24V transformer. Can I buy an american transformer that will connect to the lights? i appreciate your help! feels like a waste to through them out.

    happy thanksgiving!
    Maureen

    Reply
    • Tomi Engdahl says:

      You must be referring to my this post:
      https://www.epanorama.net/blog/2018/11/20/christmas-lights-technology/

      > My lights look very similar to the ones in your pictures that use a 24V transformer. Can I buy an american transformer that will connect to the lights?

      You should be able to use the LED lights with American transformer that outputs the same kind of power than the original one.
      If the original one took 23V and gave out for example 24V and 100 mA, the light should work work as well with an American transformer with similar output specifications. The output voltage should be same, the output type (DC or AC) should be the same and the output current should ideally be same as the original or it can be slightly higher than the original rating.

      For connecting the lights easily, the new transformer should have similar connector for lights as the original one had.

      Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fields from specific power lines
    Use the links in the table to find the field for any specific power lines.
    https://www.emfs.info/sources/overhead/specific/

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    What is EMF (Electromagnetic Fields) 101 – By EMF & RF Solutions
    http://www.emfrf.com/what-is-emf-101-report/

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    It seems that the electrical field and magnetic fields under this line are under public exposure limits
    listed at https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/radiation-electromagnetic-fields

    For 50 Hz fields Public exposure limits (Occupational exposure limits)
    Electric field (V/m) 5000 (10000)
    Magnetic field (µT) 100 (500)

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    An increased risk of brain tumors was associated with living near power lines.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935120303662

    There was no evidence that electrical utility workers who were exposed to pulsed electromagnetic fields produced by power lines were more likely to develop brain tumors or leukemia than the general population
    https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/electromagnetic-fields-fact-sheet

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The hidden background noise that can catch criminals
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0elNU0iOMY

    Electrical Network Frequency analysis, ENF analysis, matches background hum against power grid logs. I talked to one of the researchers who works on it, and also set them a challenge.

    Electric guitar players know this hum very well haha

    Especially if you play a guitar with single coil pickups

    Reply
  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Stealing Electricity (The safe way)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLS8pbDNHbk

    In this video i build a coil that’s effectively a huge loopstick antenna with tuning capacitors to resonate at 60 Hz, which is mains frequency in North America. The coil can generate over 5 volts near running appliances or power cables, and charge a capacitor or light up some LEDs. It works by collecting the small magnetic flux leakage that every AC device produces.

    The power generated is less than 100 μW in most cases, so it can’t do anything very exciting, but it’s really interesting to stand under a power line and see a capacitor charge from its leak. The biggest limiting factor seems to be that transmission lines which have opposite phases very close to each other result in a near-zero magnetic field at a distance from canceling out most of each others magnetic flux.

    Some figures:

    Coil Wire Gauge: 28 AWG
    Number of turns: ~12,000
    Coil Inductance: 28.1 H
    Capacitor Value: 250 nF

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Electric Insulators | Why are they Crucial?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xDncegzcW8

    You might have seen brown shiny devices around you on an electric pole, on transformers, and even in electric trains. What are they? Let’s explore more about them in this video.

    Reply
  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IS IT SAFE TO LIVE UNDER HIGH VOLTAGE POWER LINES?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Xbfo8jxvsU

    High tension power lines can give off strong magnetic fields. Some people will develop health problems from prolonged exposure. Even buried lines can be a problem. Before buying or renting a new home, test it first!

    Cancer risk from exposure to power lines and electrical appliances
    https://www.saferemr.com/search?q=magnetic+fields

    The association between childhood leukemia and extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) generated by power lines and various electric appliances has been studied extensively during the past 40 years. However, the conditions under which ELF-MF represent a risk factor for leukemia are still unclear. Therefore, we have performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to clarify the relation between ELF-MF from several sources and childhood leukemia.

    Reply
  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Power Line Fears | Retro Report | The New York Times
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf7KWkod3Zw

    News media coverage in the 1980s and early 1990s fueled fears of a national cancer epidemic caused by power lines and generated a debate that still lingers today.

    LIVING NEAR POWER LINES | ARE POWER LINES DANGEROUS? | EMF READER | BUYING A HOME NEAR POWER LINES
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUXi4UiAkAE

    Reply
  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why vegetation must be kept away from power lines
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIieU1TP2ig

    Under power transmission lines, there is a strip of cleared land called the right-of-way, where there are no buildings or trees. This helps ensure transmission system security and reliability. The video explains why and how Hydro-Québec keeps the transmission line rights-of-way cleared.

    https://www.hydroquebec.com/safety/

    Reply
  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why don’t birds get electrocuted on power lines?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtnmCf2QFTc

    Reply
  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Are The Power lines In Front Of YOUR House Safe?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzG9VoPpokM

    Part 6: Residential Distribution Lines and Magnetic Fields with IBE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQMOpc0i9F4

    Reply
  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Homesteading under power lines, is it dangerous?! | Uncommon Roots Homestead
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjPT-RSILzk

    Today, we’re talking about homesteading under power lines. Should you even consider it? Well, here we are. We bought the property fully understanding the implications of having these power lines run through the back acre.

    After TONS of research, we’ve decided that our risk (when weighed) is no greater than it would be on any other property. I’ve linked a portion of my research below!

    https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/electromagnetic-fields-fact-sheet#:~:text=Studies%20have%20examined%20associations%20of,and%20cancer%20has%20been%20found

    Reply
  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Why Every Power Line Isn’t Underground
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_tGMQtClO4

    Learn about the challenges underground power lines face and the reasons we choose to still have above ground power lines in some places.

    Reply
  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Underground Transmission Lines
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5WvDpjqXuo

    Georgia Transmission explains why high-voltage power lines are rarely installed underground: prohibitive construction costs, shorter life expectancy, and slower repair time during outages.

    Repairing Underground Power Cables Is Nearly Impossible
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-wQnWUhX5Y

    In 1989, this story about an underground electrical transmission line spread across the early internet like wildfire. It had a big impact on me as a kid, and I wanted to share it with you! I think the Scattergood-Olympic transmission line is probably LA’s most famous power line, although it has now been replaced with a more modern line since 2018.

    Reply
  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    500kV transmission line single L-G fault analysis through string #500kv #electrical #gridsystem
    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/Ylvo0ksrsuw

    Reply
  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Power Line Fears | Retro Report | The New York Times
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf7KWkod3Zw

    News media coverage in the 1980s and early 1990s fueled fears of a national cancer epidemic caused by power lines and generated a debate that still lingers today.

    Viewer comments:

    Thank you for this! I live in Europe and everybody still believes power lines are dangerous. It’s absurd and I think it’s an embarrassment for our country. Here’s a little story from my own experience: years ago I went hiking and came by a cell phone tower. it reminded me of all the stories I had heard about strong EMF sources, etc and I got a headache. My body must have became tense from worrying. Part of me wanted to believe it was the tower, another part knew it could just be my worries. Not long after I went hiking again near another cellphone tower, but didn’t notice it and was distracted. I had a great day that day. No symptoms. I have hiked past that tower a few times now and am usually very distracted and don’t worry. I never get a headache. People forget how fast and strongly our bodies react to stress/worry/fear. If anything causes cancer it’s stress and worrying about these kinds of things! (Also: If EMFs were that harmful we would have had steadily increasing cancer rates in young people for the past 50 years and a rapid increase in the past 30, since our world has been becoming more and more electrical.)

    One possibility for the leukemia rate difference between high and low emf is that since so many people don’t want to live near powerlines, and thus houses near powerlines are about 30% cheaper, poorer people might live near powerlines. Since they may be poorer, they might not be able to afford removing lead pipes or covering over lead paint. So it might be correlation and not causation, but who knows?

    Power lines, a reminder of man’s ability to generate electricity – Dale Kerrigan from the Castle said that. Thing is, I have looked at a few houses near these and I always think, if I have a choice between with and without. I’d go without being close to them. Also the buzzing noise is enough to give me a headache when close by. They certainly look ugly too. Those things all bring down house prices for those in close proximity.

    I held a fluorescent tube over my head under a high voltage power corridor between Pickering Nuclear Generating Station to all the air conditioners of Toronto on a sweltering night. It glowed! Fun with electromagnetism. Good thing I’m not a fluorescent tube.

    The real risk of those huge power line towers is ice forming on the lines and dropping off from such a tall height.

    Power lines are gorgeous. I am extremely attracted the ominous setting created by their presence.

    Reply
  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Fluorescent tube lights under transmission lines
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_DIjsB3eu-Y

    It is not good for you to be near transmission lines for long periods of time but for a little experiment we took the participants of the EMF2 practical EMF consultant training workshop to transmission lines and let them see the effects of the radiation on fluorescent lights (tube lights).
    The way you hold them has an effect on how ‘well’ they light up but its shocking to think how much radiation there is here and people live so close as if its not a problem.
    There are studies highlighting the health risk of transmission lines up to quite a great distance.

    Normal small local distribution lines in the street can also produce enough magnetic fields to be an issue and this should be investigated.

    Reply
  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Drone Harvesting INVISIBLE High Voltage From The Skyhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HBiX9BT9ME

    How Powering with Atmospheric Electricity Works
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rVdEhyMR6A

    Reply
  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Free Energy from the Ground Wire
    The Energy of Earth / errant electricity
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF0CS8aY1CY

    Viewer comments:

    Over 45 years ago my physics teacher said it was possible to obtain unmetered electricity from between neutral and ground. Due to the small voltage we thought it would not be of any use but I guess it was this he was talking about.

    Reply
  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    EP 51 – Power Through Dirt: Single-Wire Earth Return @ 120V
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCVr0B0u_r4This video describes the basic principle of operation of a single-wire earth return power distribution system. After introducing the theory, I then attempt to set up a SWER system using 120V mains power. Will it work? Can I get any useful power out of it? Find out here!

    Disclaimer: The actions performed in this video are for informational and experimental purposes only and do not constitute electrical advice. Follow all local building codes and do not attempt anything you see in this video at home.

    Reply
  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Siphoning Energy From Power Lines
    https://hackaday.com/2023/06/11/siphoning-energy-from-power-lines/

    The discovery and implementation of alternating current revolutionized the entire world little more than a century ago. Without it, we’d all have inefficient, small neighborhood power plants sending direct current in short, local circuits. Alternating current switches the direction of current many times a second, causing all kinds of magnetic field interactions that result in being able to send electricity extremely long distances without the resistive losses of a DC circuit. The major downside, though, is that AC circuits tend to have charging losses due to this back-and-forth motion, but this lost energy can actually be harvested with something like this custom-built transformer.

    [Hyperspace Pilot] hand-wound this ferromagnetic-core transformer using almost two kilometers of 28-gauge magnet wire. The more loops of wire, the more the transformer will be able to couple with magnetic fields generated by the current flowing in other circuits. The other thing that it needs to do is resonate at a specific frequency, which is accomplished by using a small capacitor to tune the circuit to the mains frequency. With the tuning done, holding the circuit near his breaker panel with the dryer and air conditioning running generates around five volts. There’s not much that can be done with this other than hook up a small LED, since the current generated is also fairly low, but it’s an impressive proof of concept.

    Stealing Electricity (The safe way)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLS8pbDNHbk

    Reply
  24. metro rubber says:

    Rubber mats play a vital role in the electrical and electronics industry, where they provide insulation and protection. Silicone and EPDM rubber sheets, known for their excellent electrical properties, are used as insulating materials for cables, wires, and electronic components.

    Reply
  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Aluminium is used because it has comparatively less weight than copper and is also available at a cheap rate. Aluminium wire will be much thicker but it will be lighter compared to copper since the density of aluminium is only one third of that of copper. The conductivity-to-weight ratio of aluminium is better than that of copper that is why we prefer aluminium in overhead power connections.Technically , aluminum wire is 1.4 times thicker than the wire we would use if it was copper:we reduce 20% in resistance and hence I²R power losses from about 6% to 5%, saving 1% of all energy produced and transmitted for years to come. we save 33% in construction costs – tower strength required is less as the wire is 66% of the copper weight which save 90% of the cost of the wire itself due to material costs.

    https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid03dBMQxzoLwA2dsMMdkBKiQoCDumJ59UVovRkYobnDJrVhUSGQWVv8frYCuEh4kUsl&id=100047373702938&post_id=100047373702938_pfbid03dBMQxzoLwA2dsMMdkBKiQoCDumJ59UVovRkYobnDJrVhUSGQWVv8frYCuEh4kUsl

    Reply
  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Copper is actually a common material for transmission lines, but it’s not used in all cases because of its high cost and limited durability. Copper is expensive to manufacture and can corrode over time, so it’s not always the best choice for long-term use. Instead, many transmission lines are made from cheaper and more durable materials like aluminum or steel.

    Copper is a good electric conductor but we use aluminum as conductors for transmission lines. The main reason for not using copper is cost. the conductivity of copper is higher than that of aluminum. So for the sake of cost, we use aluminum instead of copper.

    With a high tensile steel wire through the middle for support

    Reply
  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Copper is not cost-effective for large-scale transmission lines. Copper is a good conductor of electricity, but it is also expensive and heavy. Aluminum is a much better choice for transmission lines due to its low cost, light weight, and high conductivity.

    that why we use aluminium for fixed Connections and copper for panel to machine connection …

    Reply
  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Aluminum is harder to work with than copper to make safe electrical installation. USA tried once to use aluminum wiring in house widely, but gave up that idea due increased number of house fires caused by bad aluminum wiring.

    Aluminum is a softer metal than copper, and besides being prone to damage during installation, it also expands more when heated. The expansion and contraction of the wire can lead to wire creeping out from its place under the screw holding it in place, causing loose wires and overheating.

    Reply

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