Safety on The Farm

Landscape view of a farm

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Farming is an important part of our community and we want our farmers to be aware of safety around electricity.

  • Be careful when you are moving or storing pipes near power lines. Stack them safely away from power lines. Irrigation pipe can become an electricity conductor through water and through metal pipe. Respect the energy and keep pipe at least 30 metres away from high voltage lines so inadvertent actions do not cause a shock.
  • Large haystacks can be an invitation for kids to climb too close to power lines. Remember the safety space, and be sure to put your stack out of harm's way.
  • Lower grain augers before moving them. Ensure there is enough clearance between overhead wires and equipment like combines, tractors or cultivators.
  • Be careful when pruning trees. If you see a problem with a tree, call us first. Sometimes we are responsible for tree trimming, and on others, we can advise you of the safest course of action. For more information, visit our Tree Trimming Page.
  • Fencing is a common part of farming. Remember to call Find out where it is safe to dig by calling: 1-800-400-2255 or visit the Ontario1Call Website.
  • Water conducts electricity. Be especially careful when irrigating crops and ensure water is not spraying toward overhead wires.

Stray Voltage

If you own/operate a livestock operation within our service area, then we would like to make you aware of the potential impacts of Stray Voltage. We understand that you might have questions about stray voltage. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

What is Stray Voltage?

Varying amounts of low-level voltage may exist between the earth and electrically grounded farm equipment such as metal stabling, feeders, or milk pipelines. These voltages, known as "Animal Contact Voltage (ACV)", "Stray Voltage" or "Tingle Voltage," usually, present no harm. However, if the voltage level is high enough, they may affect livestock behavior and health.

What are the causes of Stray Voltage?

A variety of sources can cause Stray Voltage including: farm wiring and grounding issues, unbalanced farm load, equipment faults, or voltage from other sources such as telephone lines, gas lines and utility electrical distribution systems.

What are the effects of Stray Voltage?

Tell-tale signs typically include cows being nervous at milking (esp. in the milking parlors), cows refusing to enter the parlor and anxious to leave, increased frequency of defecation and \ or urination in parlor as well as the reluctance to consume feed or water. Find more information on the effects of Stray Voltage on the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) website.

How do I reduce the impact of Stray Voltage?

If there is a source of Stray Voltage on your farm, you may perform mitigation measures such as installing a neutral isolating device, additional electrical bonding between contact points, wiring upgrades, or faulty equipment replacement. Be sure to have a qualified electrician perform the work and make sure it meets the requirements of the Electrical Safety Code. If the utility distribution system is the source of the Stray Voltage, the utility will take the appropriate corrective actions.

What do I do if I have a problem with Stray Voltage?

If you believe that you have a problem with Stray Voltage, please complete the Stray Voltage Investigation Form. All applications must be made in writing and be complete in order to process. We will contact you within five business days after you submit your application and provided a service order number. We will then notify you in advance to arrange the date of our first visit to your site.

What happens during a Stray Voltage investigation?

The investigation will proceed in three phases. Each phase requires testing. We discuss the results with you.

  • Phase One - An investigator will visit your site and perform preliminary testing. This testing will include voltage and current measurements, checking for loose connections and adequate grounding. We will provide you with our findings and close the investigation.
  • Phase Two - This phase will only proceed if the investigator finds a Stray Voltage issue. The investigator will install a voltage-recording device for 48 hours to determine whether we need to take corrective measures. If we need to take corrective measures a crew, will come to your farm and attempt to fix the issue.
  • Phase Three - This phase will only proceed if Waterloo North Hydro took corrective measures. Our crews will return to your property to conduct final testing to see whether we need to take any additional corrective measures. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Operations Department at (519) 888-5577

If you are concerned about Stray Voltage, please complete our Stray Voltage Investigation Request Form.

OPERATIONS DEPARTMENTPO Box 640526 Country Squire RoadWaterloo ON N2J 4A3Telephone 519-888-5577Email: operations@wnhydro.com Fax 519-746-0239