Public Utility Commissions (PUC) in several states adopted 0.5 volt rms (root mean squared) or 1.0 milliampere as the actionable limit for utilities to respond to complaints of uncontrolled voltage. This study clearly shows that the actionable level should be reduced to 10 mV p-p (peak-to-peak), which is 140 times less than the current standard. Dairy farmer complaints that animal behavior and milk production were affected by electrical shocks below adopted standards were investigated on 12 farms in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. Milk production per cow was determined from daily tank-weight pickup and number of cows milked. Number of transient events, transients, voltage p-p, waveform phase angle degree, sags, and sag-Vrms were measured from event recorders plugged into milk house wall outlets.
Data from 1705 cows and 939 data points were analyzed by multiherd least-squares multiple regression and SAS-ANOVA statistical programs. In five herds for 517 days, milk/cow/day decreased−0.0281 kg/transient event as transient events increased from 0 to 122/day (Pb0.02). Negative effects on milk/cow/day from event recorder measurements were significant for eight independent electrical variables. Step-potential voltage and frequency of earth currents were measured by oscilloscope from metal plates grouted into the floor of milking stalls. Milk decreased as number of 3rd, 5th, 7th, 21st, 28th, and 42nd harmonics and the sum of triplen harmonics (3rd, 9th, 15th, 21st, 27th, 33rd, and 39th) increased/day (Pb0.003). Event recorder transient events were positively correlated with oscilloscope average V p-p event readings. Steps/min counted from videotapes of a dancing cow with no contact to metal in the barnyard were correlated with non-sinusoidal 8.1 to 14.6 mV p-p impulses recorded by oscilloscope for 5 min from EKG patches on legs. PUC standards and use of 500-Ohm resistors in test circuits underestimate effects of non-sinusoidal, higher frequency voltage/current common on rural power lines.