Jury awards dairy $17.5 million in stray-voltage suit

Last week jurors in Idaho ordered Idaho Power to pay a dairy producer $17.5 million because of stray voltage.

Mike and Susan Vierstra have watched their cows get sick and die for the past 10 years. It wasn"t until they discovered stray voltage from an old distribution line that things started to make sense. After the Vierstras had the line removed the amount of stray voltage coming into the dairy significantly declined and the cows stopped getting sick and milk production improved.

However, Idaho Power contends that low level of stray voltage found at the Vierstra"s dairy is within national guidelines. It is also Idaho Power"s position that once the electricity is delivered to a customer it is the recipient"s responsibility to handle any stray voltage that may occur.

Idaho Power plans to appeal the decision.

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