We’ve had two instances in the area where construction workers were electrocuted. In one instance it was a house renovation. The other involved a townhouse. In both instances the local news implied ladders and the overhead feed to the house were involved.

This got me wondering. The power line to my house consists of three twisted wires, two of them insulated. As best I can tell, the bare wire is grounded, while the other two carry ~120 volts in opposite phase.

It seems that a ladder touching these wouldn’t kill someone unless it breaks the insulation. Otherwise, wouldn’t the wires short to each other. Not that I’d want to do the experiment.

I wonder if the unlucky individuals actually came in contact with the wires higher up the poles. These are uninsulated, and have a much higher voltage.

Anyone have some insight into this?