Howlan Road residents gathered a few nights ago – fluorescent light tubes in hand – to see if they would glow when held under the high-voltage transmission line that passes in front of their homes.
While never bright enough to check the time by watch, the fluorescent tubes did give off a definite glow.
Approximately 40 area residents took in the demonstration.
“I’ve never seen this before. Now, that’s quite the thing,” said Bill Ellsworth who lives across the road from where the crowd had gathered. “There’s got to be a lot of power generating through that, if it will light up them. What’s it doing to us?”
Yara Andraous, Product manager with Osram Sylvania in Mississauga, Ont., maker of one of the brands of fluorescent tubes, said some sort of electric field or high frequency likely caused the glow. “When mercury molecules inside the lamp are excited,” she said, “they glow.” She said it would take “just a bit” of energy to cause a glow.
Gordon Ramsay, one of the organizers, said the demonstration suggests risks are associated with living near a high voltage line. “You’re being exposed.
“It’s radiation off the line,” he suggested.
The transmission line brings electricity from Ventus Energy’s West Cape wind farm to Maritime Electric’s substation in Howlan.
“This property right here, before this line was put up, it was 30 volts per meter, and now it’s over a thousand,” reported Ramsay, checking the electric field on a hand-held meter. “That’s how much it’s gone up.”
“There are only 11 windmills now. That’s only 69,000 (volts). What’s going to happen when it goes to 138,000?” Gallant asked. The line is expected to ramp up when Ventus adds another 44 windmills to its farm next year.
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