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Invenergy says it works to address complaints

The company has a detailed complaint resolution process which it made available Thursday to The Daily News. It also has a 24-hour telephone hotline for reporting turbine issues. "We encourage people if they have a concern that they should call that number, and we check it daily," said Project Manager Eric Miller. "We keep a log of who calls."

SHELDON -- Invenergy officials say they encourage people to contact them with turbine problems.

The company has a detailed complaint resolution process which it made available Thursday to The Daily News. It also has a 24-hour telephone hotline for reporting turbine issues.

"We encourage people if they have a concern that they should call that number, and we check it daily," said Project Manager Eric Miller. "We keep a log of who calls."

The company's home office project manager in Chicago will call the person who filed the complaint, the process form reads. The goal is to do so within 24 hours, but the process form maintains it's most often within one or two hours.

Officials will discuss the complaint, followed by gathering information and conducting a site visit. Multiple visits are sometimes required and often coordinated by local representatives.

"It's important to visit," Miller said. "Someone has a shadow complaint, we're committed to fixing these things, but you have to be at the house to understand what the issue is, so you can fix it. Sometimes it takes several visits to identify the problem."

Mitigation steps outlined in the complaint process include:

-- Shadow... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

SHELDON -- Invenergy officials say they encourage people to contact them with turbine problems.

The company has a detailed complaint resolution process which it made available Thursday to The Daily News. It also has a 24-hour telephone hotline for reporting turbine issues.

"We encourage people if they have a concern that they should call that number, and we check it daily," said Project Manager Eric Miller. "We keep a log of who calls."

The company's home office project manager in Chicago will call the person who filed the complaint, the process form reads. The goal is to do so within 24 hours, but the process form maintains it's most often within one or two hours.

Officials will discuss the complaint, followed by gathering information and conducting a site visit. Multiple visits are sometimes required and often coordinated by local representatives.

"It's important to visit," Miller said. "Someone has a shadow complaint, we're committed to fixing these things, but you have to be at the house to understand what the issue is, so you can fix it. Sometimes it takes several visits to identify the problem."

Mitigation steps outlined in the complaint process include:

-- Shadow issues: Invenergy representatives will work with homeowners to identify the affected windows, and will install blinds if the people are interested.

Planting trees is the preferred solution for blocking the shadows, if the company and homeowner conclude it's feasible. There's no practical solution if shadows are occurring on the property grounds, but not affecting windows.

"It all depends on what the situation is, but sometimes you can plant trees to block the shadows," Miller said. "We would work with the owners to find out what their preference is, and get something done."

-- Television reception: An Invenergy representative will visit the house to observe the stations affected, and any effects on the signal.

Multiple visits may be required to assess picture quality when the turbines are operating, and when they aren't, the process reads. A contractor with expertise in the issue will be hired to find a solution, once the reception problems are confirmed.

Broadcast television impacts are expected to be negligible once digital transmissions begin Friday, according to the document. Most owners with reception issues will recognize a second check will be needed after then, along with planning for any further steps, based on what's observed, the process form reads.

-- Noise: An Invenergy official will visit the site when levels are typical of the reported problem.

The goal is to determine noise type and volume, and the differences between turbine sounds heard elsewhere. Resolving the issues requires maintenance work.

If there are no obvious differences, a crew will check nearby turbines' control systems, to make sure they're running as efficiently and quietly as possible.

If a noise complaint is reported, the checks are given a priority. Such checks had been made on all turbines at the High Sheldon Wind Farm as of this month, the process document reads.

All such solutions require Invenergy officials and property owners working cooperatively, Miller said. In some cases, he said, property owners didn't want Invenergy staff on their premises or weren't otherwise available.

"We really haven't received a whole lot of complaints, but if we do, and somebody won't let us visit their property, it makes it difficult for us," he said. "We take these seriously. Usually we'll ask more than once if we can come out and visit."

Miller said the company has received complaints from 10 households, and it's not unusual to have a small number of people who don't like a project before or after completion.

The company has visited the Nuhn household twice and talked to Jessica Nuhn on those occasions, he said. Those were times when the shadows weren't occurring, he said, but he confirmed three windows where shadow flicker could happen.

He said the company has projected the effect would be infrequent and for "hours per year."

"We're not talking about something that should be happening for long periods at any stretch, but we acknowledge there are windows facing the turbines where that could happen," Miller said.

He said the Nuhns declined the option to install blinds or plant trees when offered.

"We do think that's unfortunate, because we think that's a good solution worth trying," he said.

The company also responded to the Nuhns' noise complaint when they called the hotline, Miller said. He said Invenergy staff didn't notice any noise -- though still not denying it had occurred -- and the company put a priority on checking the turbines near their house.

They made sure the control parameters were correct, and the turbines were operating smoothly and quietly as expected, he said.

"We are ready to respond if they have concerns," he said. "We're always interested in getting up there and working things out with them."

Miller said it would be a fair assessment that some people may be more sensitive to such issues than others, such as those who have been negatively affected in Sheldon have said.

"We're offering to do the things we've committed to do," he said of the company's efforts toward solutions. "We want to be doing this for a long time, so we take all of these seriously. If there are viable solutions we'll work on them."

Invenergy's complaint hotline can be reached at 1 (866) 378-4580.


Source: http://www.thedailynewsonli...

JUN 6 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/20545-invenergy-says-it-works-to-address-complaints
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