UTILITY POINTS TO UNCORRECTED FACTUAL ERRORS IN EMF BOOK
HARTFORD, Conn., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The following press release was issued on Friday, Sept. 17 by Northeast Utilities: A recently published book, "The Great Power-Line Cover-Up" by Paul Brodeur, alleges health dangers and international conspiracy involving electric and magnetic fields (EMF). About a third of the book deals with facilities operated by The Connecticut Light and Power Company (CL&P), a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities (NYSE: NU) (NU). The book, most of which was originally published in The New Yorker magazine, repeatedly errs in describing CL&P's electric facilities, including an electric distribution substation on Meadow Street in Guilford, Conn. In the more than three years that Brodeur, a reporter, has been writing about the substation, he has avoided discussions with CL&P or NU. He claims that a general position paper NU published for employees in 1989 gave him all the information needed. That paper, however, contained no engineering information pertinent to Meadow Street or any other company facilities. Further, when CL&P provided The New Yorker with proof of the mistakes, the magazine's editors failed to either correct them or justify what they presented as fact. The errors, some of which are noted on the attachment, are repeated in the book. Copies of NU's correspondence with the magazine are available to reporters. Robert E. Carberry, manager of Transmission Line and Civil Engineering for NU, said: Northeast Utilities officials are not health experts or scientists or epidemiologists, and we are not looking to debate science or policy with Paul Brodeur. But we are engineers, and we know our equipment. Mr. Brodeur has made fundamental errors and misrepresentations in describing this equipment, its functions and history, and has continued to do so after we pointed out the problems. If Mr. Brodeur can so casually disregard engineering certainties, why should his views on less clear scientific matters be trusted?
NU REBUTTAL TO MISSTATEMENTS IN 'THE GREAT POWER-LINE COVER-UP'
-- The electrical supply to the Meadow Street substation in Guilford was never 115,000 volts, nor was that facility ever anything other than a small distribution substation solely serving Guilford. The 13,800-volt feeders from Guilford substation are supplied by two transformers from a single 27,600-volt line from our Branford substation. (Pages 18-19) -- Brodeur implies that 27,600-volt distribution lines close to 48 and 56 Meadow Street carry high currents. In fact, none of these lines has carried currents greater than 22 amperes (a typical electric clothes dryer draws more current than this amount) since the early 1980s. (Pages 22-23) -- The book said measurements at various places near our Guilford substation fence gave readings between 20 and several hundred milligauss but does not say who took them or where they were taken. CL&P took measurements on a number of occasions on Meadow Street. Our readings near the substation fence have been under 20 milligauss, and magnetic fields in the street and nearer to homes were much lower. (Page 17) -- The book claims that many of the residents of Meadow Street were "undoubtedly" subjected "daily" (or even "continuously") to magnetic fields approximating those to which electricians, etc. are exposed, implying exposure from CL&P facilities. If many residents were so exposed, then in-home sources, such as grounding or wiring sources, would be likely cause, not the substation and power lines, which make comparatively small contributions, if any, in some of the homes. (Pages 81, 86) -- Brodeur refers to substation expansions in the late 1950s to mid- 1960s "to handle higher and higher voltages." The supply voltage has never increased from 27,600 volts, and the feeder voltage did not increase to its current 13,800 volts until the late 1960s. (Page 39) -- Brodeur makes a correlation between cancers among residents living within 150 feet of three-phase distribution circuits, but he offers no evidence that those homes, which make up 11 percent of Guilford's dwellings, have or had higher magnetic fields than the other 89 percent. He also fails to note that proper epidemiological analysis could point to other explanations. In fact, because of wire configurations, many of these dwellings probably would not experience higher levels of background magnetic field from these lines. His categorization by dwelling proximity to a particular type of power line neglects the different exposures that people receive at locations away from the home and those due to appliance use or wiring circumstances within the home. (Pages 99-101) -- Spreaders were part of the original construction of these lines in the early 1970s, and were not added in 1990 as the book states. Any work in 1990-91 on spreaders was to replace them with new and slightly larger spreaders to improve reliability, not reduce EMFs. Magnetic field levels along most of Meadow Street would only be higher today than in the past because (a) feeder line currents have increased every year and (b) CL&P has made no changes to the substation or lines running up the street that would reduce those levels. (Page 96) -- Brodeur misidentifies the three-phase backbone routes of three 13,800-volt circuits through Guilford. Actually, there are four 13,800-volt circuits; he mistook one as being a branch of another. In describing the routes of these circuits, he doesn't mention some of the three-phase branches. He also misidentified a 27,600-volt line through Guilford which serves only one customer. (Pages 95-101) -- CL&P does not serve New Haven and does not have an office there. (Page 6) -- Utility company workers in Guilford the week after the local TV news broadcast in January 1990 had nothing to do with the news report. They were following a preset schedule to improve service reliability in the area. (Page 15) -- No "infrared survey" van was used in Guilford around the Jan. 29 time frame to which Brodeur referred. Infrared equipment is used to pinpoint areas requiring line maintenance and has absolutely nothing to do with measuring magnetic fields. (Page 15) -- A meeting between CL&P and Guilford officials took place on Feb. 7; it was not "canceled, however, and not rescheduled." (Page 18) -- Our October 1992 bill insert went to press in September, before we knew of results from the "Swedish studies." We invited readers to write for more information. We sent a number of informational pieces, including a subsequent review of the Swedish studies, to anyone who contacted us. (Page 272) -- When we share appliance field data with inquiries, we normally would do so by sending an Environmental Protection Agency (not a utility) brochure on that subject. We are always careful to note that time of exposure may be an important dose consideration, and so appliance exposures are different from power line exposures. (Page 272) -0- 9/21/93 /CONTACT: Robert E. Carberry, 203-665-6774 or 203-563-8311 (home); or Myra H. Ahern, 203-665-3366, or 203-633-1608 (home), both for Northeast Utilities/ (NU)
CO: Northeast Utilities ST: Connecticut IN: UTI SU:
DD -- NE012 -- 4326 09/21/93 16:16 EDT
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|Date:||Sep 21, 1993|
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