• 15 NOV 05
    • 0

    Dirty Power- $17.5 million court case

    I recently was introduced to the issue of “dirty power” on powerlines – (RF on powerlines) because of the local issue of broadband over power lines (BPL) being introduced into Tasmania. Lloyd Morgan’s comments in a previous message are noteworthy because he points out that BPL is a form of dirty power.

    I am finding there is a wealth of information available. The following is especially interesting because it was a successful $17.5 million compensation case awarded to a farmer who claimed his cows were harmed by stray voltage (dirty power). Apparently the power company and its band of experts failed to disprove the case to the jury. Their claim that their facilities to be within normal operating standards did not wash! (We all know how protective standards are)

    To be fair it must be acknowledged that the US is the most litigious nation on the planet with all kind of frivilious cases being awarded. Spill a cup of hot coffee on your lap and get a million bucks! However you can bet that Idaho Power is now taking the issue seriously. The New Zealanders are as well. While in New Zealand earlier this year visiting dairy farms concerned about a proposed 400 kV transmission line I found that they were very aware of the problem in their automated milking sheds.

    Rather than just another frivilious case the issue of dirty power is here to stay. For more see < http://www.strayvoltage.org/board/ >

    Now the question is, if there was so much evidence available for a successful court case to be won on ‘dirty power’ adversely affecting dairy cows, what would the prolonged effects be on people? Especially if dirty power, in the form of BPL, is going to eventually be pumped over the powerlines into every home in Tasmania????

    As Tasmania is an island perhaps Aurora would be willing to fund a health survey in areas before and after BPL is introduced?

    And pigs might fly……


    Jury awards dairy $17.5 million
    By Twins Falls Times-News

    TWIN FALLS — A local dairy that claimed its cows were harmed by stray electrical currents has been awarded nearly $17.5 million by a 5th District Court jury.

    The lead attorney for the dairy said that, to his knowledge, the award is among the largest ever in Twin Falls County and is also a record for so-called “stray voltage” cases in the United States.

    Following a 10-week trial, the 12-member jury Tuesday found that antiquated Idaho Power Co. equipment caused cows at the dairy owned by Mike and Susan Vierstra to become sick and reduced milk production over a period of several years.

    The jury calculated compensatory damages at $7.49 million and set punitive damages at $10 million. The dairy had sought $8 million in compensatory damages and up to $40 million in punitive damages, said Ken Peterson, a Kansas attorney who represented the Vierstras in the trial. Idaho Power was found to be 85 percent at fault for damages to the dairy, while the jury placed 15 percent of the responsibility on the dairy.

    Peterson said Wednesday he was pleased with the verdict but thinks the award would have been larger “if we had done a few things differently.” He declined to specify what he would do differently, but he said he learned things from the trial that could be applied in other stray voltage lawsuits.

    “This in an important national issue, because the utilities have not taken care of the rural lines like they should,” Peterson said. “They’re antiquated, they’re outdated, they have unbalanced loads on them, and they present a tremendous threat to the agricultural community. The havoc they raise on all kinds of livestock is just unbelievable. Many farmers have gone broke, and they don’t know that’s the reason why.”

    Idaho Power indicated that it intends to appeal the verdict.

    “We’re certainly disappointed by the decision in the Vierstra case and surprised by the jury’s verdict,” company spokeswoman Anne Alenskis said Wednesday. “We’re surprised because along with several independent electricians, we investigated the company’s facilities that were in issue … and through those investigations found the company’s facilities to be within normal operating standards.”

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