Stray voltage, which can be a concern among dairy and other livestock farmers, is associated with on-farm wiring and electrical connections to the local electric distribution system. Questions and concerns about stray voltage are best addressed by the electric distribution utility that serves the farm directly (the utility the farm receives a bill from each month).
Stray voltage basics
The term “stray voltage” is used to describe a special case of voltage developed on the grounded neutral system of a farm. If this voltage reaches sufficient levels, animals coming into contact with grounded devices may experience a small shock or tingle. When this occurs on a dairy farm the dairy cow may become stressed which can result in behavior changes. These changes in behavior can affect the cow’s health and the cow may begin to produce less milk.
Causes of stray voltage
There are a number of things can lead to stray voltage problems. They include:
- Inadequate connections on the neutral or ground wire system
- Poor grounding conditions
- Undersized neutral conductors
- Electrical boxes and devices that have become dirty, dusty, corroded or covered in cobwebs
- Defective electrical equipment
If you have questions or concerns about stray voltage, first contact the utility you pay each month for electricity. Utilities can offer on-site investigations and can recommend steps to correct stray voltage problems.
Radio, TV, Internet, cell phone and GPS interference
Power lines seldom interfere with radio or television reception or with internet service, cell phones or Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Most interference is caused by appliances and equipment within the home as well as faulty receivers. Attempting to tune in a weak, distant station makes any interference more noticeable. Sometimes an improper connection on the power line can cause interference. If power line interference does occur, qualified personnel will investigate and solve the problem at Great River Energy’s expense.