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In electronics and electricity neutral refers to a state of not having any charge – no positive or negative charge. In electrical distribution a neutral wire is intended to be at ground potential, thereby providing a zero reference against which the voltage on one or more hot wires can be referenced. For example, common household wiring in the Unites States provides electrical outlets with 117 volts RMS at the hot lead as referenced to the neutral (and ground) leads. The amount of voltage available for work is necessarily the difference in voltage between the neutral and hot.

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