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Old 07-07-2008, 02:27 PM   #1
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Broken/missing ground wires?


Hi;
I've noticed that a lot of the utility poles have broken or missing ground wires running down the pole to the earth.
I'm more curious than anything on whether there is a reason the utility would cut these wires, or leave them off.

I realize that earth ground at every pole is not necessary, that they are needed mainly at poles with transformers.
Perhaps a utility pole "comes" with the ground wire attached, and it's just not connected when not required?

Whatever the case, there isn't any problem with my electric service.

FW

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Old 07-07-2008, 03:31 PM   #2
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Broken/missing ground wires?


Different utilities have different standards by which they install ground wires at poles. Like you said, transformers always have grounds. If the wire is cut it is not on purpose, it needs to be fixed. My utility has a standard for grounding every sixth pole and all transformers, disconnects, and just about anything that can come in contact with high voltage.

Ground wires get cut really easily by kids, snow removal, city workers, thieves, gardeners...etc. Because of this, the utility has back-up grounds....Your water supply! yep, plain as that.


-pete

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Old 07-07-2008, 04:21 PM   #3
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Broken/missing ground wires?


Quote:
Originally Posted by HandyPete View Post
Because of this, the utility has back-up grounds....Your water supply! yep, plain as that.
No, not really. Not at all in fact. At least here in the US.
A home's water pipe is never a "backup" for the utility ground at a pole.
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Old 07-07-2008, 06:54 PM   #4
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Broken/missing ground wires?


Quote:
I've noticed that a lot of the utility poles have broken or missing ground wires running down the pole to the earth.
I'm more curious than anything on whether there is a reason the utility would cut these wires, or leave them off.
Yah, they shouldn't be cut. This bothers me a bit, some poles that just have lightning arresters installed, nothing else. The top terminal of the arrester is connected to the high voltage wire, the bottom to the ground wire and down to the ground. (not to the neutral/ ground) If the lightning arrester ever "breaks down" that is, causes some current to flow, the ground wire will be energized at high voltage. The wire would be extremely dangerous to touch. (this is a pretty rare case though) Most poles that have lightning arresters also have other devices, such as transformers, and underground to overhead feeder terminations. These devices are usually bonded to the neutral and ground, so if an arrester breaks down, a fuse should blow.

Funny thing, while we never use ground rods and related equipment to carry fault current, the utility companies do. With ground rods at ever few poles like Handy Pete talks about, the ground will easily be a sufficient conductor for that short distance (from rod to rod) to carry enough current to blow a fuse.(at high voltage) It is thus called a "multigrounded-neutral system." (most common method of distribution)
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Old 07-08-2008, 07:19 AM   #5
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Broken/missing ground wires?


Quote:
Originally Posted by HandyPete View Post
Different utilities have different standards by which they install ground wires at poles. Like you said, transformers always have grounds. If the wire is cut it is not on purpose, it needs to be fixed. My utility has a standard for grounding every sixth pole and all transformers, disconnects, and just about anything that can come in contact with high voltage.

Ground wires get cut really easily by kids, snow removal, city workers, thieves, gardeners...etc. Because of this, the utility has back-up grounds....Your water supply! yep, plain as that.


-pete
Your water supply will not act as a ground if there is no ground path from the utility!

FW
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:54 AM   #6
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Broken/missing ground wires?


Quite possibly cut by thieves for the scrap value of the copper.

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