Federated Rural Electric in Jackson is seeing more vandals cutting off ground wires on its poles.
The ground wire connects the neutral wire on the pole top to the ground. It moves dangerous lightning strikes to the ground and equalizes voltage between the lines and the earth.
“Federated is seeing the ground wire cut off at dirt level and then up as far as can be reached,” Operations Manager George Madden said in a press release. “This greatly affects the reliability of Federated’s system for stray voltage and lightning strikes. It is especially dangerous on poles that have equipment mounted on them such as transformers. Without a ground wire the home or barn could become “the ground wire” instead, causing shocks and tingles if people or animals touch the metal water lines.”
As of today, about 25 poles have been identified, but it's suspected that there are more, mainly in Martin County. Federated crews will patrol the lines and make repairs as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, people who see something suspicious occurring near poles, report it to the local sheriff by calling 911.