The Ontario Energy Board is taking its Farm Stray Voltage Consultation on the road. This past June Ontario's Energy Minister, Dwight Duncan, issued a Directive to the Board to implement the necessary measures to address the issue of stray voltage as it affects farm operations.In response to the Minister's Directive, the Board has initiated a consultation process to solicit input from interested parties regarding stray voltage, its potential impact on the farm sector and the identification of measures that could be implemented to mitigate this impact.
Stray (or tingle) voltage refers to electric current that can flow through an animal's body that is making contact with the earth at two points.
Tingle voltage is measurable with a voltmeter, but is so weak it typically can only be felt by larger animals like cows and beef cattle that due to their size and the amount of electricity-conducting water in their bodies can sense the electricity much more readily than people.
If exposed to stray voltage, especially when entering or leaving a barn or stall or when drinking or feeding, livestock can become stressed and production can be affected.
Beginning with a meeting on October 29th in Lindsay, the Board is consulting with farmers province-wide, looking for their input on the subject and providing information on the Board's approach to responding to the Minister's Directive. The Board will use this feedback in the development of a report to be issued for written public comment by the end of the year.
In addition to the Lindsay meeting, five other meetings with farmers are planned: Woodstock (Oct. 31); Thunder Bay (Nov. 1); Wyoming (Nov. 5); Verner (Nov. 7); and Kemptville (Nov. 9).
The Ontario Energy Board regulates the province's electricity and natural gas sectors in the public interest. It envisions a viable and efficient energy sector, with informed consumers served by responsive regulatory processes that are effective, fair and transparent.
To find out more about how you can get involved or to attend one of the scheduled meetings, call 1-877-632-2727 or visit the OEB website at oeb.gov.on.ca and search for "stray voltage."