Landmark Stray Voltage Case!

January 27th, 2011


Above, equipotential plane for treating manifestations of stray voltage — it does NOT eliminate stray voltage!  See 2006 MREC Equipotential Planes for explanation.

Yesterday, the Minnesota Supreme Court released a landmark stray voltage opinion, clarifying the breadth of the “filed rate” and “primary jurisdiction” doctrines declaring that they do not limit suits for stray voltage damages against utilities.  This has been a six year lawsuit for the Siewerts so far…

Siewert v. Northern States Power d/b/a Xcel Energy

Here’s the STrib’s article — hmmmmm… no comments allowed!  I wonder why that is?

Supreme Court rules for farmers in stray-voltage case

In a divided opinion, the state court’s decision allows a father and son to pursue damages to their dairy herd blamed on excess voltage from Xcel Energy.

By JIM ANDERSON, Star Tribune

Last update: January 27, 2011 – 10:03 AM

In a ruling on an issue that has long vexed the state’s dairy industry, a divided Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that two Wabasha County farmers can seek $4 million in damages from Xcel Energy for damages to their herd through stray voltage.

Stray voltage — the subject of much debate, research and legal action over the past several decades — is a phenomenon caused by low levels of excess electricity passing via the ground between two contact points through an object not intended to be a conductor.

In the case of dairy cattle, it is claimed the continued stress of mild shocks thwarts milk production and damages their health.

“We’re very pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision,” said Greg Siewert, who farms with his father, Harlan, in Zumbro Falls. The Siewerts first filed suit against Northern States Power Co., a subsidiary of Xcel, in 2004.
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