DENVER (AP) -- Federal prosecutors say Xcel Energy knew of workplace safety violations that led to the death of five workers.
A defense attorney Wednesday shot back that it was an Xcel contractor that violated regulations and called the deaths an accident.
Xcel Energy and a subsidiary, Public Service Company of Colorado, are each charged in federal court with five counts of violating Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations for the October 2007 fire inside a water tunnel at the Cabin Creek hydroelectric plant near Georgetown, Colo., about 40 miles west of Denver.
The rare trial of a company charged with a crime is expected to last through the end of June.
If convicted, each company could have to pay fines of up to $2.5 million and be subject to strict post-conviction supervision.