Dairy association welcomes stray voltage ruling

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that two Wabasha County farmers who say stray voltage killed their cows can seek damages from an electric utility.

The farmers are seeking $5 million from Northern States Power Company, a unit of of Xcel Energy.

Bob Lefebvre of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association said the ruling opens the door for other farmers to seek damages.

"I don't believe we're going to see a mad rush of dairy farmers saying 'oh, it's all stray voltage.' I don't believe that's the case," he said. "But we certainly do have some cases out there where it's very legitimate, and these farmers do need to be taken seriously. so hopefully we'll have more utilities coming to the table, wanting to work with dairy farmers."

The association says there are about 4,400 dairy farmers in Minnesota.

In a statement, Xcel Energy said they cannot comment on ongoing litigation. The company said it provides safe, reliable service at a reasonable cost.

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