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In-town turbine affecting neighbour’s health  

Credit:  The Sun Times, owensoundsuntimes.com 17 August 2010 ~~

Visit the Hydro One website and up pops this proud blurb entitled “Doing the Right Thing” That extols “socially responsible choices” and how they “minimize the impact on environment” and of course “contribute to communities in which we work and live”. A real team player except they omit . . . “and sleep.”

I live next to a neighbour who has a contract with Hydro One to reverse her meter using a wind turbine on a 100-foot frontage, in-town lot. Depending on wind direction the ensuing whining of loose moving parts affects my sleep, my appetite, limits the use of my backyard and no doubt will diminish my property value.

The list of venues of contact to try and establish some responsibility begins with my neighbour who is in total denial and includes the police who won’t touch it under an anti-noise bylaw, the Board of Health who can only act where there is a loss of hearing, the Ministry of Energy and various business bureaus when I try to establish the need for a small business permit for selling electricity.

And in defence of the local do-nothing bylaw officer, the only guideline in place is a setback road allowance (and this is where most lots are deeper than they are wide).

Hydro One talks the talk with this “socially responsible choices” line and yet when I speak with their agents they each present different arguments but wind up at the same irrefutable conclusion: Hydro One is not legally responsible for their source of power in meter reversing contracts.

And yet they want to be seen as a part of the community where it just so happens each individual is responsible for each and every one of their actions.

Social responsibility is the human element that is absent in any discussion with these agents in which they don’t even pretend to care how their companies non-involvement affects my situation.

A socially responsible response should at some point include the line “How can we help you” . . . thank you for calling Hydro One, your call is very important to us and may be used for training purposes.

I can understand Hydro One’s position. As one agent put it, they just supply energy and it is the Ontario Energy Board that sets the standards. He argues they have no choice and yet their web page is promoting this squeaky clean image of “Doing the Right Thing.”

Doing the right thing involves choice. Make up your mind. Now you’re saying you’re not responsible for your own website? It’s not easy being the victim of circumstance. This neighbour is using your meters.

This meter reversing is a pretty sweet deal for Hydro One when you consider they have no costly investment outlay, no maintenance costs or concerns, and to listen to their agents, no responsibility for the negative side effects upon the community.

There are a few tar sands oil companies who would kill for such a hands-off arrangement.

When I call the Ontario Energy Board they refer me to the Ministry of Energy where I am connected to the Chief Medical Officer of Health, where I am told I can e-mail my health concerns and am reassured they have quite a few files of wind turbine complaints. No kidding.

Another Hydro One agent I spoke with maintained small claims court was my only option.

This is the same stance as the municipality but doesn’t reduce any noise. What am I supposed to do with my neighbour’s money?

I suppose I could try stuffing it in my mattress for a better sleep.

Perhaps my neighbour, in order to recoup her losses, would sell her house and I would wind up with new neighbours as they, as the new kids on the block, would have to cooperate. There must be a more “socially responsible”, easier way.

I am a fan of alternative energy solutions. I have built a dome house that I heat with solar. Amid all the concerns about health and efficiency of wind energy, the bottom line is turbines involve moving parts, which eventually need servicing or replacing, and hopefully the implementation of guidelines and eventually inspection.

The simplest and most cost-efficient course of action would be for municipalities to pass a bylaw banning the installation of wind turbines on lots within town or city boundaries and in the case of Hydro One the same goes for any meter reversal contracts they sign.

They say it’s always easier to sleep knowing your doing the right thing . . .

Michael Goodwin
Lion’s Head

Source:  The Sun Times, owensoundsuntimes.com 17 August 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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