02/04/2013 13:07 EST | Updated 04/06/2013 05:12 EDT

Wind turbines blamed for blocking TV signals

Some residents in Essex County are blaming wind turbines for disrupting their TV reception and eliminating many channels they received before the turbines were installed.

Gary and Jeanette Desjardins of Belcraft Beach, near Harrow, Ont., said that as soon as the wind turbines were installed in 2010, the couple went from having 14 TV stations to three.

"When it really bothers us is in inclement weather," said Jeanette. "Sometimes we've had tornado warnings …. We look at the skies and decide this doesn't look right. We have to get to a radio station."

Neighbours Dan and Janice Lamarsh are also affected by the problem. They also believe the wind turbines are to blame.

"As you watch the TV, as the blades turn around, it will break up the [signal]," Dan said. "Something's got to be done about it."

TV antenna installer Russell Gray said that when the turbines rotate in windy conditions, they slice through TV signals.

Gray has been contracted by the wind turbine company to install better antenna equipment on the affected homes.

"What we've been doing is adding pre-amplifiers to the antenna systems that exist and in some extreme cases we have to get into a little higher antenna or maybe relocate the antenna," said Gray.

He has fixed 36 of 80 homes affected with an 80 per cent success rate, he said.

The wind turbine company, GDF SUEZ Energy North America, Inc., is working with the homeowners.

A spokesperson from the wind turbine company told CBC News the issue was completely unforeseen when the turbines were erected.

The company is working to restore TV reception to as many affected homes as possible at the company's expense.

Some residents have switched over to satellite cable to avoid the problem, but Gary and Jeanette said they're on a fixed income and can't afford it.

The couple said cable TV isn't available in their area.