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Rochester Power Wholesaler’s Lawsuit Resurrected

Sherco 3St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News – A lawsuit over a wrecked power plant has been reinstated.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has overturned a district court judge’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from the manufacturer of a power plant generator that was destroyed by a catastrophic turbine failure in 2011. The lawsuit against General Electric was filed in 2014 by the Rochester based Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency and Northern State Power, which now operates as Xcel Energy.

The power utilities claim General Electric should be held liable for the turbine failure caused by stress corrosion cracking, by alleging GE and its affiliates knew about the defect, had documented earlier failures, and improved its design, but did not notify the owners of the Sherco 3 generator in Becker.

The resulting damage from the turbine failure took over two years to repair at a cost of around $200 million. The lawsuit seeks damages for the cost of the repairs and the costs incurred SMMPA and NSP when they were forced to purchase replacement power from other sources.

In overturning the dismissal of the lawsuit, the Court of Appeals found the judge in the case erred in granting summary judgement to GE and remanded the case back to Sherburne County Court for additional proceedings.

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