It is my understanding that the mains distribution system (poles along the road, where I live) has occasional earth ground connections of the Neutral wire. Maybe every pole, or just every few poles, to shunt lightning hits to ground. Is this true?
If so, I was wondering if there is a loss due to current also flowing in the earth, parallel to the neutral wire. On one hand, adding a lossy conductor in parallel with a good one should not result in increased loss. On the other, I was taught that "electricity flows on all paths that are available", and that Alternating Current flowing down a ground rod, through an earth path and into another grounded conductor or rod, is very lossy.
Is there any additional loss in the transmission system due to the grounding of the Neutral wire in multiple places along its length?