# What happens to this potential energy?

Let's say I turn on a Van de Graaff which creates a large positive charge. Now let's say I have an object with a positive charge in my hand and I start walking toward the Van de Graaff from $x$ meters away. If I walk an arbitrary distance towards the Van de Graaff, I am doing work and the charge in my hand is gaining potential energy. Now somebody standing next to the Van de Graaff suddenly turns it off. What happens to that potential energy of the charge? By the conservation of energy it should be conserved somehow, but it appears not to be. Any help is appreciated.

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