I am a writer. I'm working on a novel (yes, fiction) but want to do my best to present a passage as accurately as possible.

The crux of the question is whether or not someone using a Faraday suit could attach a copper/aluminum cable to a high voltage line in an attempt to siphon power WITHOUT the perishing in the attempt.

The character in this work of fiction has access to the Faraday suit but no other items commonly used in working with high voltage (no helicopter from which to hover/transfer, no insulated ladder tall enough for the job, etc.). He instead shimmies up two telephone poles which he has managed to connect together to achieve the needed height.

My supposition is that the difference in voltage would kill anyone--even someone wearing a Faraday suit (I don't think a conducting wand to equalize voltage will help if the character is also holding the line they are attempting to attach--which is further supported by the pole; I also don't know how they could safely detach).

I also think that even using an insulating stick to attack the tether would be problematic as, again, the cable he's trying to attach would arc and never stabilize when approaching the field surrounding the high voltage line -- right?

In both of these scenarios I am assuming that the integrity of the Faraday suit is compromised by the lack of equality in voltage (and several other problems) and the result is death.

Is there anything I'm not thinking about in terms of what would happen to a person attempting this really stupid feat?

Thank you! Marshall

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What kind of voltages are you looking at? A 13.8kV local power line requires different safety measures than a 350kV high tension power line between cities. And does this character have any idea how to connect high voltage lines, or are they doing so from the depths of ineptitude. There are a few problems which are trivial to solve if you know they need to be solved in the first place. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Jan 21, 2019 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ Vote to close. Aside from being dangerous, it is illegal to climb up to power lines. We should not be giving advice on how to break the law. $\endgroup$
    – mmesser314
    Jan 22, 2019 at 0:59
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the question asks advice on how to break the law. $\endgroup$
    – mmesser314
    Jan 22, 2019 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on Worldbuilding $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Jan 22, 2019 at 11:13
  • $\begingroup$ Apologies to those offended. This is a work of fiction and this particular passage is intended to show that there is no safe way to do this ILLEGAL act. I'm not asking for advice on how to break the law. Just trying to confirm that anyone doing anything this stupid dies -- and want to make sure that I'm not missing anything. Thanks to all who responded. $\endgroup$
    – Marshall
    Jan 23, 2019 at 0:18

2 Answers 2


Yes, it is possible. If by any means you ground yourself while touching faraday cage current will flow through you and it can kill you.

High voltage lines can output big amounts of power, with that said, your resistance with that voltage will cause huge current flowing through your body.

And as written above, voltage is not directly what kills you. Human in electric circle acts as a good resistor and capacitor. In electric circle capacitor acts like a wall to a DC. So you can touch welding connectors(do not try this in amy means if you dont know what you doing!!!) on DC with 60V and 120 Amps and nothing would happen to you. With 60V AC you might die.

As for your novel, i dont see any reason why someone operating with any voltages would wear anything that much conductive as you raise a chance to get grounded and killed.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much. Without posting the plot synopsis it's not supposed to be completely realistic. This is a sequel to a fantasy/thriller (book one is called Census: What Lurks Beneath). This particular passage relates to a lineman who has also done work servicing the state's utility grid (hence experience with high voltage power) who is no longer in charge of his faculties but forced to connect a tether to a high voltage line. I hope there's no way to successfully do this. I just wanted to try and better understand the physics. Thank you very much. $\endgroup$
    – Marshall
    Jan 23, 2019 at 0:23

When you think about this, just remember it is not voltage that kills you, it's the current the voltage produces in your body. That is complicated because your body's impedance (primarily due to skin impedance) is a function of voltage (the higher the voltage the lower the skin impedance). And in order to become electrocuted, the current through your body has to be tens to one hundred milliamperes.

Hope this helps.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! I think that does make sense in my muddy head. Again, to stick the landing, this is a work of fiction and the desired result is that the fictional character dies--despite the Faraday suit--because he grounds himself with the tether he is hoping to connect to steal power and ends up sending the current surging through his body. $\endgroup$
    – Marshall
    Jan 23, 2019 at 0:48

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