Bill 143 2006
An Act respecting ground current pollution in Ontario
The laws of electrical engineering require that electrons flowing from a substation transformer return there to complete the circuit. This is normally accomplished by the use of neutral wires provided by the electrical distribution and transmission systems. However, if those wires are inadequate, the electrical current will use the earth's surface as the path of least resistance, travelling through yards, buildings, fields, humans and animals.
This ground current pollution is a major problem for hospitals, manufacturing plants and farms. On farms, the levels of ground current pollution can become so high that electrical shocks are felt by humans and animals. These shocks disrupt the comfort of animals and humans and can be harmful to their health as well as destructive of farm income.
As we increase our use of electric power in Ontario, the potential for ground current pollution will also increase.
Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
1. In this Act,
"distribution system" means a system for distributing electricity, and includes any structures, equipment or other things used for that purpose; ("réseau de distribution")
"electricity provider" means a person, whether incorporated or not, that owns or operates a system for distributing or transmitting electricity, including a utility and a local distribution company; ("fournisseur d'électricité")
"grounding conductor" means an intentionally installed conductor that connects a distribution system of a distributor to a grounding electrode or electrodes; ("conducteur de terre")
"livestock" means animals or poultry designated as livestock in the regulations made under the Livestock and Livestock Products Act; ("bétail")
"objectionable current flow" means any steady state of electrical ground current for five seconds or more on a grounding conductor or any other conductor that normally does not carry electric current, except for any temporary flow of electrical fault current that is caused by a phase-to-ground fault condition and that results from the performance of a grounding conductor's protective functions regarding faults or lightning; ("courant indésirable")
"transmission system" means a system for transmitting electricity, and includes any structures, equipment or other things used for that purpose; ("réseau de transport")
"wildlife" means animals, birds or other living things living in an undomesticated state. ("animal sauvage")
Prohibition, electricity provider
2. No electricity provider shall cause an objectionable current flow to occur,
(a) on land or in buildings used or occupied by individuals or livestock; or
(b) in water that is used by individuals, livestock or wildlife.
Complaint and duties of electricity provider
3. (1) A person who wishes to complain about an objectionable current flow that has occurred contrary to section 2 shall do so in writing to the electricity provider that the person believes is responsible for the occurrence.
Investigation and remedy required
(2) An electricity provider that receives a complaint under subsection (1) shall,
(a) acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 10 days of receiving it;
(b) investigate the complaint, or have it investigated by the Electrical Safety Authority or other similar organization competent to do so, within 30 days of receiving it; and
(c) take all necessary steps to eliminate the objectionable current flow and to prevent a reoccurrence within six months of the date of the complaint, if the investigation reveals that the electricity provider's distribution or transmission system is responsible for causing the objectionable current flow.
4. An electricity provider that fails to comply with clause 3 (2) (c) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of $1,000 for each day after the end of the six-month period mentioned in that clause on which the electricity provider fails to comply.
Elimination of objectionable current flow
5. The Ministry of Government Services shall begin to develop a comprehensive plan for the elimination of objectionable current flows in Ontario within two years after the day on which this section comes into force and shall complete and implement the plan within 10 years of that day.
6. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.
7. The short title of this Act is the Ground Current Pollution Act, 2006.
The Bill has the following purposes:
1. To define objectionable current flow on ground rods, commonly known as stray voltage, and to prohibit electricity providers from causing occurrences of objectionable current flow.
2. To establish a time frame for electricity providers to respond to complaints about objectionable current flow, to require an investigation of complaints and, if an investigation shows that an electricity provider is responsible for an occurrence of objectionable current flow, to require the provider to remedy the problem in a timely manner.
3. To create an offence and penalty for failing to remedy the problem that gave rise to a complaint in a timely manner.
4. To provide that the Ministry of Government Services develop and implement a plan to eliminate objectionable current flow in Ontario.