Wichita Man Has Shocking Problem

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Monday, May 14, 2012

A northwest Wichita man has quite a shocking story to tell after discovering electricity running through his home in all the wrong places. Carroll Threet can't get the electric company to solve the problem so he's turning to KAKE News in hopes of turning off the electric current running through all of his water faucets.

Imagine every morning as you do your normal routine, stepping into the shower, turning on the water faucet and having to worry about electric current.

"Okay, it's 2.5 today with no water running," explains Carroll Threet as he connects a voltmeter from his shower drain to the faucet.

But as Threet turns on the faucet and places the meter in the water stream, it jumps to more than three volts. While that's certainly not going to kill a person, you can imagine it's a troubling problem to have.

"You just get in the shower and gamble and hope it's not 110," Threet said.

Threet has hooked up a ground wire behind his shower to help control the current, but the problem still isn't solved. A professional electrician even disconnected his meter completely. The house still had current running through it. The spigot outside is even worse.

"You can't touch the hydrant outside," Threet explained. "If the concrete is wet, you have to stand on a board or you have to have your shoes on. When you touch the hydrant outside, it's enough to make you want to let go."

Although Threet says Westar Energy has been helpful in the past, now they want him to sign a release of liability in order to pay the bills he has incurred trying to solve the problem.

"They are willing to pay it, but I have to sign a legal document releasing them of all liability from the onset of this up to right now," Threet said. "I don't think I should sign it until I have zero electricity in my water or my shower drain."

Westar Energy Spokesperson Erin La Row said in a phone call Monday that the company is doing "everyting we can to determine if this is a problem on our end and, if so, to correct it."

"Stray voltage issues are difficult to troubleshoot," La Row said. "There can be multiple causes, including other utilities. We've had troubleshooters, line crews and engineers all working to try to help this customer determine what is causing the problem."

When we looked at the legal document Westar gave Threet to sign, it clearly stated they would not be held responsible for future problems, even though the problem isn't fixed.

"I've put it off since September," Threet said. "I worked with them through the whole thing. I tried to stay on good terms, but I just think it's time to turn up the heat."

With the Westar substation literally a stone's throw from his backyard, that obviously could be the problem. But at this point, Threet says nobody can seem to pinpoint what the problem is.

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