For the past 10 years Washington producer David Baumgardner has been battling problems with stray voltage problems at his dairy. And finally, last Friday a Skagit County Superior Court jury decided in his favor and ordered utility company Puget Sound Energy to pay $1.1 million.

For Baumgardner the problem started almost immediately when his family moved into its new dairy near Mount Vernon, Wash., in 1996. After working with experts to determine the problem was not coming from the wiring or equipment within his farm, he went to his utility company. Puget Sound Energy did some monitoring in 2002 and concluded the problem was not coming from its power lines. His next step was to constantly monitor voltage levels on his farm. What he found was voltage spikes occurred at certain times of the day — even when all of the power on the farm was shut off.

Baumgardner told The Seattle Times that he hopes the judgment brings attention to the problem and helps other producers facing similar problems. A spokesperson for the utility company says the company will probably appeal. To read the full article, go to: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003309985_dairy18m.html?syndication=rss

The Seattle Times