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NEW! Why does metal electrocute you?
Answer: Metal itself cannot electrocute you. However, metal is a good conductor of electricity, which means it allows electricity to flow easily through it. Electricity is a form of energy carried by moving electrons, which are particles that orbit the center of an atom. The electrons in the atoms of metals are only loosely attached, so electricity can travel through them easily. That's why, in order to protect yourself from electric shock, it's so important to never put a metal fork in a toaster, to stay away from metal fences and poles during a lightning storm, and to keep metal ladders away from power lines.
Do natural gas pipes have to be electrically grounded?
Answer: Yes, natural gas pipes do have to be grounded to protect them from stray electrical currents. Damaging electrical currents could come from buried or shorted electrical wires, static electricity, or even nearby lightning strikes. Any of these sources of electricity could create a spark that could damage a metallic pipe and potentially ignite the natural gas it carries.
I was putting raw chicken into a hot frying pan with one hand on the edge of the sink and I got a shock. Is this something to worry about (more than don’t try it again)?
Answer: There are several possible explanations for your shock. One is that you were actually “shocked” by a splatter of hot oil jumping from the pan as you put in the chicken. The body would respond in the same way to this as it would an electric shock, by jerking away. Another possibility is that if you live in an older home, you might have become electricity’s easiest path to the ground, due to your contact with the sink. For an explanation about this, read my earlier response to Dixie who asked a similar question about getting shocked by touching the stove and sink simultaneously. A third possibility is that if your range is electric, it might not be grounded properly. I’d advise your family to have an electrician come and check the circuit to the stove as a precaution, because if the grounding is bad, then operating the stove could be an electrical hazard.
Why is natural gas called “natural” gas?
Answer: Natural gas is called “natural” because when this type of gas was first discovered, it was a naturally occurring gas substance originating from the earth, and it could be used directly from the ground in its natural state without any processing. Today, gas utilities process natural gas by removing water, sand, and other compounds so that when the gas is delivered to your home it will burn as cleanly and efficiently as possible. And in its natural state gas has no odor, so that’s why companies like Dominion add a harmless but stinky chemical to it; the odor helps people smell a leak that otherwise, in the gas’s natural state, doesn’t smell.
What happens to you when you grab a fallen power line, and what effect does it have on the human body?
Answer: Never, ever grab or even go near a fallen power line!
If you were to touch a fallen power line, electricity would travel through you. You could be seriously hurt or even killed by the electric shock. Electricity from a power line can stop a person's heartbeat and/or breathing, and it almost always causes terrible burns inside and outside the body. People who do survive power line contacts often spend months or years recovering from the burns, and can also suffer permanent nerve damage, chronic pain, sleep disorders, seizures, and other symptoms.
Always stay away from a fallen power line and anything it is touching, and immediately call 911 to report it.
If I were hanging outside on a telephone wire would I get electrocuted if
I were not touching the floor?
Answer: Never attempt to hang from a telephone wire or any type of utility line!
In addition to the obvious safety risks associated with falling, there are wires on the utility pole, such as electric power lines, that could electrocute you. Electricity is always seeking a path to the ground. If you were to touch a wire and the utility pole (or a tree branch) at the same time, the electricity in the wire would travel through you on its way to the ground, causing a serious or fatal shock.
How close do you have to be to a wire to get an electric shock?
Answer: The safe distance for avoiding shock hazard from overhead power lines can vary with weather conditions, because the amount of moisture in the air affects electricity’s ability to travel through it. So your best bet is to always stay as far away as possible from power lines. Never climb a tree that has a power line going through or near it, or use a ladder or any long-handled tools near a power line. If you ever see a fallen power line, stay far away from the line and anything it is touching.
My grandparents tell me that they used to get shocked when they would touch their stove and sink at the same time. Why does this happen?
Answer: Electrical systems have been evolving to become safer over the years. In the past, a building’s wiring system had just two wires that fed electricity to and from the wall outlets, making a circuit or loop. (The “hot” wire brought it in from the fuses and the “neutral” wire carried it back out to the fuse panel.) A person could interrupt this circuit and get shocked by touching the metal of the stove and sink edge. The shock would occur because both metal and the water in a person’s body are good conductors of electricity—the electricity would be drawn to the metal and to the person standing on the ground, because electricity is always seeking a path to the ground. (Hence the expression “grounded.”) Nowadays, there is a third wire used to ground buildings’ electrical systems, so that a person can no longer become the “grounding” mechanism!
What are natural gas vehicles?
Answer: Vehicles that run on natural gas instead of gasoline are called natural gas vehicles (NGVs). There are about 110,000 NGVs on U.S. roads today and over 12 million worldwide. NGVs are a popular transportation choice because they run cleaner than other vehicles. Compared to gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles, they produce much lower levels of pollutants and cost less to maintain. Also, natural gas costs, on average, one-third less than conventional gasoline at the pump.
What is the energy source used to generate electricity for Virginia?
Answer: Electricity for Virginia comes primarily from coal and nuclear energy, and also from natural gas, oil, and renewable resources. Dominion's electric generation facilities produce about 27,600 megawatts of efficient electric power. Our fossil-fueled power stations use coal, natural gas, and oil to generate the electricity provided to our customers. Our nuclear stations have attracted international attention for their innovative programs, achievements, and efficiency. We also produce electricity using wind, biomass fuels, and water (also known as hydropower). Dominion uses this wide variety of energy sources to enhance our system's reliability. This guards against major problems that might be produced by economic, environmental, or technical problems that could arise with a single energy source.