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NSP, Xcel Energy Ordered to Pay Farmer for Stray Voltage Damages
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 08/09/2017

A Wisconsin dairy farmer has scored a legal victory over Northern States Power Co. after he claimed the utility failed to prevent stray voltage on his property by improperly grounding power lines. Last week, a jury in Trempealeau County found the company, which is a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, negligent in a case filed by Paul Halderson of Galesville.

Halderson claims his dairy cows suffered from illness and lower milk production for many years because of improper wiring done by NSP. He says the problem dates back to the early 1990s, and added that the utility found high levels of stray voltage back in 1996, but did not fix the issue at the time.

After a consultant was brought in six years ago to study the problem, electricians concluded the voltage was coming from NSP's distribution system. So Halderson sued the company for costing him nearly $6 million is lost profits between 2004 and 2011.

In all, Halderson and his wife, Lyn, could be awarded up to $13.5 million for all of the damages and expenses the issue has cost them.

An attorney representing the western Wisconsin farm said this could go down as one of the largest stray voltage settlements in Wisconsin history.

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