Stray Voltage


As a member of Stearns Electric Association, you should feel free to call us anytime with concerns related to your electrical service. One area that can be a concern, particularly for livestock farmers, is stray voltage.

Your cooperative’s electrical distribution system must be grounded to earth to ensure continuous safety and reliability, as required in applicable electrical codes. The presence of some level of stray voltage is a normal, inherent and unavoidable result of electricity traveling through a grounded utilities’ distribution system. However, a livestock farmer may become concerned their animals are experiencing a level of stray voltage exceeding acceptable levels and possibly impacting animal behavior.

While we have long worked with our members to address this issue, in 2015 we worked with a broad group of stakeholders across Minnesota to agree on a common approach to analyzing and reacting to stray voltage concerns. This collaborative effort resulted in the development of the Minnesota Stray Voltage Guide. Minnesota’s rural electric cooperatives led the effort by working with all of the utilities in the state, agriculture groups and representatives from the state of Minnesota on this topic.


The Minnesota Stray Voltage Guide outlines the steps farmers, licensed electrical contractors and utilities can take to discover and resolve stray voltage concerns on livestock farms. The guide includes a list of common causes and a farm wiring checklist to assist farmers and electrical contractors in visually inspecting farm electrical systems and noting potential stray voltage sources. Additionally, the guide goes through what the farmer and utility should expect when a stray voltage investigation is conducted, including the proper testing procedures.

Contact Stearns Electric during business hours at (800) 962-0655 to discuss any stray voltage concerns you may have and, if interested, schedule a stray voltage investigation.