‘Like living in a microwave oven’

By WES KELLER Freelance Reporter, Orangeville Citizen

If the independent findings and conclusions of an electrical engineer are correct, Theresa Kidd and her family were living “inside a microwave oven environment” near the TransAlta transformer substation in Amaranth until forced out by ill health.

Because they had lived on their horse farm across from the Hydro One grid near 15 Sideroad and the 10th Line of Amaranth for more than a half dozen years with no adverse health effects prior to the installation of transformers but have experienced severe ill health since then, the Kidds blame the substation – and the electrical study would appear to confirm that as the cause.

However, the Ministry of Environment (MoE) hasn’t indicated an interest in anything other than noise-level compliance at the site, and Theresa says TransAlta has never sent its own electrical engineers to investigate the source of her family’s complaints.

Her electrical engineer is David Copping of Ripley, who says some industry and MoE officials have agreed with his findings – but only “off the record.”

Mr. Copping, who lives in the area of the Suncor wind farm, said in a telephone interview that the proximity of the turbines to his home has nothing to do with his opposition to the transmission of wind power.

In fact, the Ryerson-trained electrician at first poohpoohed the idea that electric contamination from wind farms could affect human health. He did, however, have an interest in examining the effects on dairy herds.

Someone talked him into examining a home near Ripley where the occupants had become ill. Since then, he says, he has examined more

200 homes of which there are now five vacant at Ripley, the two at the local substation, and one more near Kincardine, where Enbridge has a wind farm.

Mr. Copping’s reports are technical, and appear to be at least partially based on analyses of power quality and frequency, using specialized equipment.

His “microwave” conclusion is from a measurement of a 10 kiloHertz (Kz) frequency of electricity on a wire connected between the kitchen sink and an EKG patch on the floor of the Kidd home when the main power line to the house had been shut off.

That frequency is otherwise expressed as 10,000 cycles per second, but the frequency of “clean” electrical transmission would be 60 cycles per second, he says.

Where is the energy coming from when the power line to the house has been shut off? Mr. Colling said it could be “coming through the walls.”

“You have 10 kHz micro surges being introduced into your home, therefore it compares to living inside microwave oven environment. I hope this helps in understanding what has happened to your health,” he says in concluding note to the Kidds.

Ms. Kidd said she met TransAlta representative Jason Edworthy at Amaranth Council in January 2010 when the council urged him to speak with the affected residents (Kidds and Whitworths).

Then, in March, she described symptoms of headaches, vomiting and sleep deprivation among other things to Mr. Edworthy, as happening since February 2009 – forcing the family to vacate in April of that year.

“For the record, this was the second time we spoke with TransAlta – and the last,” she said.

“TransAlta has done absolutely nothing to investigate our concerns; they are fully aware of the health issues we have incurred due to their substation.”

She notes that acoustical barriers and landscaping around the substation were completed before TransAlta purchased Canadian Hydro in a hostile takeover, and those were done “to bring the noise levels into compliance.”

“Neither the Kidd nor Whitworth family health has been made a priority by TransAlta. This company’s response in addressing our concerns due to their electrical transformer substation was to give us three options: sell and move; stay and adapt; or take action against the company.

“These options were given to us in March 2010,” she said.

In addition to their physical health problems, the Kidds generally have lost their horse-training business as they have been forced to dispose of their herd, evidently because they can’t live there but also because of the electromagnetic effects on the animals.

3 thoughts on “‘Like living in a microwave oven’

  1. If the company sent their own engineers to investigate they might find something wrong and it would never do to be caught trasmitting electricity in an unsafe manner.

    Just ignore complaints as they well know ordinary folks don’t have the money to sue them and with no government entity to inspect these transformers they just get away with this.

    All part of the plan for the rapid deployment of IWTs in Ontario. No safety inspections.

    Perhaps it would be good if Mr.Copping would explain to all these situations in as non-technical language as possible.

  2. I’m guessing David “Copping” is actually David Colling, and that the reporter got it wrong. Any other guesses?

  3. Does anyone know which government body is responsible for ongoing post construction inspections for IWTs and their transmission equipment and lines?

    So far all I can find is the Electirical Safety Authority/ESA is responsible for ensuring that all the requirements of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code are met and that all installations meet the requirements of the OESC. Post construction not included?

    Prior to April 1,1999 the Ontario Hydro Inspection Division was charged with enforcing the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.

    Have IWT operators & transmission line operators been granted an exception/exceptions to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code? Or dosen’t this code cover wind farm power plants and their transmission equipment and lines?

    Maybe IWT farms are not considered as bulk generators of electricity and the transmission of the electricity they produce? So not subject to the OESC?

    People are getting the run around here and answers are needed PDQ.

    Maybe your MPPs can answer these questions?

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