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If you have a wire with current flowing through it, and the current flowing the wrong way (not parallel to the wire) surface charge will buildup, generating a field to force the current to flow the right way.

What's stopping the surface charge from redistributing? After the correct distribution has been set up for the surface charge to flow, what's stopping the surface charge from redistributing itself over the conductor to maximize distance between like charges?

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The surface charge compensates the outer electrical field. If you change that field by moving charges around in the surounding air then the surface charge of the conductor will change.

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