The Dangers of Building Under High Tension Wires

Government destroyed facilities built illegally beneath NEPA (now Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) high tension power lines a few years ago.

More dwellings have sprouted up beneath these lines of death twenty-five years after the buildings were demolished. SIAKA MOMOH, Business Day’s Industry Editor, continues his investigation into Nigerians’ aversion to logic.

Many specialists have established that high-tension electricity lines pose a danger to human life. R.I. Salawu, one of them, had proposed scientific explanations for what he saw as a dance with death as early as 1985.

“Unlike cables used in homes or those buried that are covered with insulating materials (nonconducting materials), the insulation for erected high tension transmission lines is the air around it,” Salawu, who was then a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Lagos, said in an interview with his reporter.

This air insulation can degrade over time, resulting in electrical charging of reinforcement in structures, as well as electric shock and loss of liability.

“A constant flow of water from lines to iron roofs or any iron item, on the other hand, might cause electric shocks and death.” What is causing this? Iron, like water, conducts. Rainwater, according to C.C. Okoro, a senior lecturer in the same department, “is, therefore, an electric current link between high tension lines and iron items, which, if touched, shocks and may end in death.”

These experts also discovered that buzzing from high-voltage lines can induce air particle breakdown (distortion), which is a form of pollution in and of itself.

A document produced by Mukaila Sogbamu of the Lagos State Ministry of Information, Sports, Youth, and Social Development backs up the don’s claims.

According to the article, when an electric current passes through a conductor, such as a metal wire, it generates an electric field with a magnetic field surrounding it. “It’s similar to what we see with magnets – a magnet produces a field around itself within which it has impact,” it explains.

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When a magnet bar is moved closer to a metal blade or nail on a table, the point where the magnet produces the tiniest movement of the nail is considered the outer limit of the field around the magnet. The more the magnet’s force, the larger the field it produces around it. It’s the same with electricity.

It went on to say that “a big electric current – a large electric field is produced in the vicinity with around 33,000 volts of electric current running via high tension wire.” If any electric conductor, such as an iron rod, metal, or wet bamboo, is introduced into the electric field, current will flow owing to the potential difference.”

The report went on to say that the scenario is comparable to water flowing from a high point to a low place and that the high tension lines from which the electric field originates are analogous to the summit of a mountain from which a body of water derives its source. It asserts that current flows to the earth with zero potential as water flows from the lowest level, i.e. the ground.

Furthermore, as the electric current runs through any electric conductor in its route through which the water passes, it may soak any waterproof material in its course as it moves from top to bottom. It finds that here is where the fundamental hazard of constructing an item or moving about beneath high-tension electric lines lies.

Some dons highlighted the dangers that individuals who live near high-tension lines face, according to the Lagos State Government publication. Their opinions back up those of the responders this writer mentioned previously.

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Meanwhile, Bola Awobamise, an electrical engineer and former lecturer at the University of Lagos, said that anyone standing beneath high-tension wire functions as a current route and is vulnerable to electrocution.

He went on to say that animals have perished as a result and that the situation is worse during the rainy season when lighting helps to extend the electric field. “If a high tension wire is broken and falls on a home, immediate death is certain,” he says. This will result in direct contact electrocution and maybe a fire.” This is supported by the latest incident in Port Harcourt.

“Since most of our dwellings are not insulated; there is the threat of electrocution by induction,” says S. Ogunbunmi, a physics instructor. This indicates that a badly designed building can become a high equipotential surface, resulting in electrocution and the electrification of the entire structure.

The Dangers of Building Under High Tension Wires

A simple contact of the plug might also result in electrocution. Aside from that, any metallic fabric line placed beneath high tension wire becomes dangerous when touched since it is electrified and can cause death.”

Coronary Ejection 

Corona discharge, according to the study, is a hazardous activity that occurs around high tension. The ionization of air molecules in the gaps between two or more wires is also a factor. This is similar to what happens when we boil water.

It claims that when water is cold, it feels as wonderful as air on the skin. When it is cooked at a high temperature, however, the water molecules gain healing properties and exit as vapour.

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It is concluded that the effect of an electric field and its related magnetic field on air trapped between high tension wires is analogous to the action of heat on water. In a similar vein, ionized air molecules, such as water vapour, can harm the skin, and eyes, and even cause a fire.

Biological Maladies 

The relationship between magnetic and electric fields near high tension lines and biological alterations, according to Bode Ogunleye of the Department of Radiation Biology and Radiotherapy, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, “is still unclear.”

Experiments conducted in Europe, according to Ogunleye, reveal that there are variations in cardiac rhythm (pulses created by heartbeat) between people exposed to an electric field and those who are not.

Aside from that, the Lagos State paper cites a report from a Soviet Union pilot study on the effects of high-tension wire exposure. A number of neurological and cardiovascular diseases are included in the study. It claims that due to lower sperm counts in normal line service employees, fewer children were born to high tension wire workers than to other persons.

Furthermore, it is discovered that the discrepancy grows with the number of years of exposure. A link between overhead electricity lines and pediatric cancer was discovered in recent research. Another research found a greater rate of suicide in residences near high-tension lines than in other areas.

The report contends that continuing to approve the construction of dwellings beneath overhead transmission lines is a huge disservice to the public and that no agricultural or commercial operations should be permitted under these lines.

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