Well go ahead and try that out. I believe that the power company can prove that your 'inductive' connection is making them ~deliver~ power to you, and you are in fact their customer. You owe them money for the power they have delivered... if you don't pay for a service rendered its called "stealing" (last time I checked). If you are not taking anything (i.e. you have not installed any means to do so) you owe them nothing.
If you want to play with semantics... why don't you get a court to agree that you have a right to the electromagntic space around your property... and argue that the power company is delivering a magnetic field that you ~don't~ want and insist they they either shield you from their (by)product... or pay you for allowing it on your property. Otherwise... they are the primary (source) of an air-core transformer and youi are the secondary (load).
I completely agree with you. It is not stealing. If the power company wants, they can design large collectors and place them near power lines to collect the power themselves. The issue is abit different. The field is in public domain. Lets say my house near the power lines. Is their field enterms my property illegaly? It is like my neighbours large tree having branches on my property. I have the righ to rim them as I want. I he produces magnetic field, I can harvest it.
as to wether or not this is theft, consider this: is it stealing if you build a device to receive, decode, and view the satellite signals that are continuously being beamed to your property? would DirecTV or Dish Network come after you? in that light, should the power company do the same?
I remember a crystal radio (schematic) that used two receivers. One was to be tuned to a strong local station... this output was rectified and used as a DC supply to a single transistor amplifier in a second receiver, which you were free to tune to another (presumably distant) station. Voila. Free power.
The real 'free power' is to harvest wasted energy... for example a stack of piezo elements could presumably be used to harvest the energy from bumps in the road as you drive your car over them... rather than wasting that energy as heat in your shock absorbers you put it in your battery. That is a win-win situation... although I doubt you would choose the bumpiest roads (or pay an exhorbitant initial cost) just to get that 'free power'
The owner of a broadcast radio transmitter would certainly consider it stealing if you captured his entire RF output, and did not purchase a commesurate amount of product from his sponsors as he would have received if you had ~not~ effectively blocked his transmission. The product there is information, the RF filed is the carrier... still stealing.
At least with the radio transmitter, the piper is paid - so to speak - by the owner of the transmitter. Energy is consumed in the final amplifier of the RF transmitter and the radiated energy is supposed to be lost. You could in theory capture the entire radiated envelope and not change the amount of power consumed. It is not unlike the other end of the EM spectrum, sunlight. No matter how much you capture, the radiation from the source does not change. On a current carrying conductor like a power transmission line, the electricity is supposed to be delivered to an end user, not consumed en-route. Stealing is stealing, no matter how scientifically you describe the process.
Back in 1970 at CSULB my professor told us about the local SoCal Edison invading his backyard to put a large ground mounted step-down transformer. Took up quite a bit of area and the professor was not happy. He found out that good old SCE had the land rights to do this. So it went ahead and did it. The professor asked them if he could build a wooden box to hide the transformer and they allowed it as long as there was no top so heat could escape. He got it in writing and built the 'box'. He then asked his electronics class for volunteers to come to his house and do a bit of work. He had them wind many feet of wire around the box and connect it to party lights hanging in the backyard. Voila! Free backyard lights! Yes, SCE was unhappy. Not sure how it turned out but the professor was smiling. Made for a good story no matter what.
There is precedent for it to be considered stealing in the US. One of my electronics professors related the story of a man who's house was next to a substation. Being a clever fellow he used his old steel laundry pole as the core of a transformer and took himself off the grid. The power company found out about it and sued the guy. His defense was that the power company's magnetic field was infringing on his property and he had a right to use it. The power company said that his use of their magnetic field caused additional drain on their power grid that wouldn't occur if he wasn't swiping their power. He lost. Laws and their interpretations are different in Europe, and the suit might come out differently there. They are much fussier about control of emissions. Another option would be to tune the device to ignore 60 cycle (or 50 cycle in Europe) signals, so you're not ripping off the power company. Tuning for galactic, AM or FM signals is probably not stealing. I have a 50 year old transister projects book that makes a light blink using radio waves.
I agree with Bob. There are a lot of proximity chargers on the market. Some are designed for charging electronic devices that lay on top of the charging pad. Another might be that electric toothbrush that recharges when it is put back into it's stand. Essentially, all of these are transformers; two wires coupled by the electromagnetic field between them. If it is non-metered power that is being collected, then it is stealing. If it is from a metered source, then it could be stealing if someone else pays the bill. If it is from a source that you pay for, then it is not stealing, but may be FAR less efficient than a direct plug in charger. As has been stated, there is no free lunch. I strongly disagree with the statements that suggest the power to a neighboring home is diminished or that the source is diminished. Every user in the system puts a load on the source, no matter how miniscule. Were it not so, then a single power plant could supply the whole world with free energy. The only free sources of energy are from the broadcasters, and nature
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