Legislation and Regulation of Electrical Pollution
Electrical pollution originates from misdirected currents. Instead of flowing back to its neutral due to overload, the currents flow into the ground to produce high frequency currents. These currents can be harmful to people who are 'electrically sensitive' causing health problems in some cases.
Electrical pollution researchers and those trying to stop its spread claim that the only way to fix this growing problem is to encourage the passage of legislation and the enforcement of regulations to be strictly followed by utility companies. This is difficult, however. The difficulty stems from the fact that electrical pollution is not yet an issue being addressed nationally, or by federal agencies. With this in mind, regulatory actions would have to be taken on a state and local level.
The Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) have identified remedies for electrical ground currents (www.electricalpollution.com/legislation.html). These remedies correct routing problems and keep electricity at clean levels of 60 Hz when entering environments like homes or office buildings. These remedies would be templates for regulation of utility companies to clean up its dirty electricity. But getting the regulations to be passed and installed is the hard part.
Legislation has been introduced in the state of Wisconsin in 2002 to require that utilities allow no current on the grounding rods except during a fault situation. Simply put, this would control the ground currents problem, which is considered the center of the electrical pollution origination.
In the 2003 Wisconsin assembly, more legislation was introduced to protect consumers from dirty power. Rep. Barbara Gronemus introduced the Electrical Consumer Bill of Rights, Bill AB 529. The Electrical Consumer Bill of Rights included provisions that would have defined objectionable current flow on grounding rods as a current, steady state of five seconds or more. The bill would have also required that utility companies remedy any current objectionable flow problem within one month of receiving a compliant. It also states that if a suit is filed due to the failure of the utility company to fix the problem, treble damages must be awarded. In addition, the Electrical Consumer Bill of Rights would have levied considerable fines on electrical utility companies that did not follow regulations or remedy problems within stated timelines.
A Wisconsin Assembly hearing was held for AB 529 in the Committee of Energy and Utilities. Many of those Wisconsin residents affected by electrical pollution came forward to share with the legislature the details of the effects of electrical pollution. Those affected were not just the ones with health problems, but even farmers who had lost their farms because of stray voltage effects on cattle. The hearing was reported to have been very long, and included perspective from many residents and the utility companies, who have insisted there is no problem. The bill failed to progress any further in the legislature.
The Electrical Consumer Bill of Rights was similar to legislation previously introduced in 2001, called the Electrical Pollution Bill. The Electrical Pollution Bill would have also levied considerable fines to utility companies for not following regulation and fixing problems with ground currents. It would have also established time frames the utility company must follow with regard to addressing consumer complaints and correcting problems.
The Wisconsin legislature was has not been successful in passing the electrical pollution legislation yet. No similar bills have yet to be introduced into the 2005 Assembly regarding electrical pollution problems.
Those trying to stop the worsening of electrical also say that other things can be done, on the national level to stop electrical pollution. In Europe, harmonic filters for non-linear, time varying loads are required for certain electrical devices. Legislative force could be used in this case, as it could be a law to require that electronic devices contain the filters. It is more costly to manufacture the products with the filters, but proponents say it is worth the extra costs to alleviate electrical pollution. Instituting laws to require the harmonic filters would be a complimentary action to legislation to regulate utility companies in their grounding rod practices.
The legislation introduced in Wisconsin could serve as guides for other states, including Texas Electricity, looking to regulate its electrical pollution problems. Those trying to stop the spread of electrical pollution say that customer education and the spread of information is their best tool against this growing problem.