DENVER (AP) — The criminal trial over the deaths of five workers at a Colorado hydroelectric plant is continuing in Denver.

Proceedings resumed in federal court on Monday, with lawyers for Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy and a subsidiary presenting their case.

The companies face five counts of violating federal safety regulations. Five workers from California died as a result of smoke inhalation when a fire trapped them inside a tunnel in October 2007 near Georgetown, about 40 miles west of Denver.

Prosecutors rested their case last week.

They argue Xcel knew of workplace safety violations. The defense says a contractor violated the regulations and the deaths were an accident.

If convicted, each company would have to pay fines up to $2.5 million and be subject to strict post-conviction supervision.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  1. JKB says:

    At last, the answer for Xcel’s request for the latest rate increase! Sure do wish we didnt have to rely on them for our electricity! We have done everything to lower our electrical use. Finally realizing a decent bill, and they complain theyre losing money and need more from us to make up for it. Has it ever benefited us to follow their ideas of making our homes energy efficient? Heck no, Im sure in not too many years prices will be sky-high and we’ll only be able to afford having a couple lights on.

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