If your question is not answered here, or if you'd like more information, please contact us. If you prefer, you can also schedule a visit from your agricultural consultant.

How many phone calls does WPS receive concerning stray voltage?
The number of calls we get varies by the areas we serve and the time of year. On average, we receive about 20 calls a month.

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When a farm customer calls about stray voltage, what steps does WPS take?
During the call, we try to determine whether the customer simply wants to know the level of stray voltage on the farm, or if there are actual problems occurring. We try to schedule a visit to the farm within a few days. We then assess the farm's whole electric system and cow contact voltages using the proper equipment.

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What does WPS consider as the level of concern for stray voltage?
WPS abides by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin's (PSCW) level of concern: 2mA of steady state current flowing in a cow contact area (Docket 05-EI-115). The level of concern is the point at which action should be taken to reduce cow contact currents.

If a stray voltage investigation reveals that there is more than 1 mA between cow contact points, we are required to determine the amount of influence WPS has on that farm. If we are responsible for more than 1 mA of stray voltage, we will take action to reduce it below that level. Research shows that only a very small percentage of cows detect 2 mA of stray voltage.

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How often does WPS determine that the level of stray voltage is above the level of concern?
Less than 10 percent of the time.

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If WPS finds that stray voltage levels are below 1 mA, then what?
During our investigations, we often find improper electrical wiring that is not causing stray voltage, but may be a safety hazard or a code violation. If necessary, WPS can help the customer get in contact with an electrician to correct these problems.

It's difficult to pinpoint any one cause of reduced milk production or animal stress- there are so many factors involved in farm management and production. Our area of expertise is electrical concerns, so we try to contain our assistance to that area. And if we have exhausted the possible electrical causes for customer's problems, we recommend seeking the advice of a feed consultant, veterinarian, milk equipment dealer or other expert. We want to help solve our customers' problems, whether it's stray voltage or not.

Another resource for customers is Rural Electrical Power Services (REPS). REPS will provide technical advice to farmers regarding stray voltage and power quality issues and also work with farmers to resolve herd health and production problems.

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What can farmers do if they are not satisfied with the WPS investigation?
Farmers can contact the REPS team. The REPS team reviews our findings, conducts its own farm investigation and may ask WPS to do further work. They might ask us to make changes or validate what we have found. In general, they just make sure that all bases have been covered and do their own analysis of the data. If the REPS team finds that the utility should make some corrections, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has the authority to order compliance.

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WPS incurs some cost when it needs to fix a stray voltage problem. Is that ever a factor when WPS determines whether or not a problem exists?
If there is a utility problem, we fix it. Period.

We have a strong commitment to our customers. We talk to them about electrical safety, wiring codes and how they can save money by conserving energy. We improve our electric distribution system continually and have one of the best distribution systems in the state.

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WEC Energy Group