A lightning strike yesterday killed 20 hogs and injured 140 at a pig farm in Changhua County's Fangyuan Township (芳苑) after an alleged failure to ground a lightning rod.

Most of the wounded pigs were not expected to recover and were to be euthanized, farm owner Lin Chia-chih (林家至) said, adding that he estimated the loss to be between NT$5 million and NT$6 million (US$168,322 and US$201,986).

The lightning bolt struck during an early-morning thunderstorm, hitting a spot that had been struck six months before, he said.

Chailese Energy (中租能源) has rented space on the roof of the pig house for solar panels, but allegedly did not properly ground the lightning rods during construction, he added.

The first lightning strike occurred shortly after, resulting in the loss of 40 pigs worth about NT$1.2 million, he said.

The farm requested that the tenant pay for the damage and use proper grounding, but did not receive a favorable response, he said.

On Wednesday last week, an independent investigation facilitated by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Hsiu-pao (陳秀寶) found that the energy company was at fault, but Chailease refused to take action, Lin said.

"Only pigs were electrocuted, but next time people could get hurt," Lin said. "Every farmer who rents their roof for solar power should make sure the grounding system is working properly."

A public relations agency that represents Chailease said the company was not at fault because the photovoltaic equipment was idle at the time of the incident, although it did not explain what that meant.