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Have you ever wondered why shoes hanging on a power line don’t get fried? Now you can get answers to these and all your energy-related questions. Just Ask an Expert!

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Answer: Yes. A magnet can induce an electric current in a circuit made of any conducting material, and superconductors are no exception. In fact, because superconductors offer zero resistance to the flow of electrons, a superconducting circuit always has a small current flowing through it.

Answer: Yes, a magnet can induce an electromagnetic field in a semiconductor. Though semiconductor chip makers try to prevent the chip from being exposed to a strong magnetic field, because the tiny flows of current running through the chip will be disrupted.

Answer: A coil of wire is an efficient configuration for induction, because each turn of the coil amplifies the magnetic field in the wire. But, induction can occur in any material that is a good electrical conductor.

Answer: A coil of wire is an efficient configuration for induction, because each turn of the coil amplifies the magnetic field in the wire. But, induction can occur in any material that is a good electrical conductor.

Answer: A magnet can induce an electromagnetic field in materials that are good electrical conductors. These include: copper, iron, tin, and certain ceramics—all of them contain metallic particles.

Answer: The City of Los Angeles gets its power from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), which is the largest municipal electric utility in the nation. LADWP generates electricity from a variety of sources, including renewables like biomass and waste, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, and wind, and nonrenewables like coal, nuclear power, and natural gas.

Other areas of Los Angeles County receive power from Southern California Edison (SCE). SCE has been at the forefront of adopting cleaner power sources for decades. Our 2016 power label lists our energy resources along with percentages of each resource. To learn more about our clean energy projects, please review our stories at: http://insideedison.com.

Answer: Voltage, or the force of electricity, begins with the electrons that orbit the center of atoms. The electrons of some atoms – like those of copper and other metals – are only loosely attached, which allows electricity to travel through these materials easily. (Materials with loosely attached electrons are known as conductors.) When an outside force is applied, electrons may break free and get “bumped” from one atom to the next within a conductor. A continuous flow of electrons from atom to atom results in electric voltage.

Turbine generators in electric power plants rely on this atomic process. The turbines turn electromagnets that are surrounded by heavy coils of copper wire. The moving magnets create the outside force that causes the electrons in the copper wire to move from atom to atom, generating electricity.

Answer: Thanks for your question, Joe. Southern California Edison has been at the forefront of adopting cleaner power sources for decades. Our 2016 power label lists our energy resources along with percentages for each resource. To learn more about our clean energy projects, please view our stories at: http://insideedison.com.

Answer: Shoes hanging on a power line don’t get burned for the same reason that birds standing on a power line don’t get shocked: they don’t give electricity a path to the ground, so electricity stays in the line and does not go through them. But if the shoes were to touch a power line and a power pole at the same time, they would provide a path to the ground and would get blasted with electric current. It wouldn’t be pretty! Shoes hanging on a power line can be bad news. They can damage the power line affecting the power that you rely on each day, or someone trying to get the shoes down could be seriously shocked or even killed.

Also, someone named Will asked this same question a long time ago – you can find the Q&A (and many others!) in the See More Questions archive at the bottom of the Experts Page.

Answer: Thanks for your question, Chris. Southern California Edison has been at the forefront of adopting cleaner power sources for decades. Our 2016 power label lists our energy resources along with percentages for each resource. To learn more about our clean energy projects, please view our stories at: http://insideedison.com.

Answer: Don't count on rubber boots to protect you from the hazards of downed power lines. Rubber is an insulator, which means electricity does not flow easily through it. However, standard rubber boots are not designed to insulate against electricity from any source. Even utility power-line workers don't rely on their boots alone for protection—not only do they wear boots and gloves made from special rubber designed to protect against electrical shock, they also use special equipment for handling energized power lines and other electrical facilities. If you see a fallen power line, always stay far away from the line and anything it is touching no matter what shoes or boots you are wearing, and immediately call 911 to report it.

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