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    B.C.’s buzzing umbrellas

    From Richard Johnson, STOP representative on the Aurora – Markham Hydro Task Force. < http//www.stop-emf.ca >

    NATIONAL POST (British Columbia)
    Latest News
    B.C.’s buzzing umbrellas

    Ethan Baron
    CanWest News Service

    October 26, 2005

    VANCOUVER – A B.C. woman whose umbrella attracted a surge of electricity from overhead power lines says B.C. Hydro officials suggested she try walking a different route to school or using a wooden-handled umbrella.

    Tena Miller was walking in heavy rain, heading for a bus stop a few hundred metres from her home in Cloverdale, a Vancouver suburb, when pain shot through her left arm. “When I looked up, there were sparks spinning around inside my umbrella,” she said.

    She dropped her umbrella to the concrete. “I thought, ‘What the hell was that, did I just get hit by lightning?”She tried to pick the umbrella up, but it was still buzzing with electricity, she said.

    Ms. Miller, a mother of two who is training to be a hairstylist, later called B.C. Hydro to explain what happened. “This was unbelievable,” Ms. Miller said. “She basically told me to take a different path. I said, ‘This is on the sidewalk, and I have to go through there to catch the bus to get to school.’ ”

    B.C. Hydro receives about two complaints a year from people suffering from “induction” created by 500,000-volt lines in Surrey and Langley, spokeswoman Elisha Moreno said.

    When hydro lines are carrying a lot of power, “it kind of forms a little bit of a field around the lines,” Ms. Moreno said.

    If a person walks into that field, particularly in rainy or foggy conditions, electricity can travel to them through metal, such as an umbrella, Ms. Moreno said.

    “This is not something that the public should be worried about at all.”

    Ms. Miller is not so confident since the incident a week ago.

    “We’re actually thinking of moving,” she said, who has a six-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter. “A child could get electrocuted.”

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