Northeast Town cellular phone users complain of service disruption, believe wind turbine farm might be the culprit

NORTHEAST TOWN—A Honora Bay resident says that her cellphone service has been disrupted since the turbines of the McLean’s Mountain Wind Farm began turning last month and that she isn’t the only one.

“I have been having problems with my cellphone reception since the wind turbines began to turn,” said Carole Labelle of Honora Bay. “I thought it was my phone, but after posting the problem to Facebook, I discovered at least four other people have been having the same problem in the Little Current area.”

“I called my provider, Virgin Mobile (owned by Bell), and they said they would look into cellular phones and wind turbines disturbing the frequency of signals,” continued Ms. Labelle. “I’m not sure if it is the wind turbines, but this has never happened before and didn’t start until the turbines began turning.”

[pullquote]“We have received a few complaints from people in the (Little Current) area,” Bell Associate Director of Media Relations Jason Laszlo responded to The Expositor’s inquiry. “Our network team is investigating, but these are the first concerns we’ve received about potential wind turbine interference on any of our mobile networks.”[/pullquote]

The Expositor contacted both Bell and Rogers regarding this issue, however both companies said that if it was a problem due to wind turbines, it would be a first.

“We have received a few complaints from people in the (Little Current) area,” Bell Associate Director of Media Relations Jason Laszlo responded to The Expositor’s inquiry. “Our network team is investigating, but these are the first concerns we’ve received about potential wind turbine interference on any of our mobile networks.”

“Providing reliable service to our customers in the Little Current area and throughout Manitoulin Island is important and we are not aware of any interference on our cell sites caused by wind turbines,” explained Andrew Garas, media relations specialist with Rogers Communications. “As it relates to our protocol, to avoid any potential inference we ask for separation (separation varies form site to site) between our cell sites and wind turbines to avoid any debris (ie. ice fragments that may have been building up on the blades of the turbines) from hitting our towers.”