Wisconsin farmer wins stray voltage case against Xcel Energy

MILWAUKEE (AP) – A western Wisconsin farmer could be awarded up to $13.5 million after winning a five-year legal battle against an electric services company over stray voltage.

Paul Halderson said that his dairy farm herd of nearly 1,000 cows dealt with illness and decreased milk production for more than a decade because of Xcel Energy’s improperly grounded power lines.

A Trempealeau County jury found the company was negligent and didn’t follow state regulations, causing Halderson nearly $4 million in losses.

The jury awarded Halderson about $4.5 million, but the court may triple that amount because the company was found in willful, wanton or reckless violation of statutes.

Xcel Energy spokeswoman Christine Ouellette says the company is disappointed by the decision but looking into the next steps.

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