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Old 10-03-2011, 07:28 AM   #1
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


I've been under the impression that the bare wire that carries neutral in an overhead service is the only one that's carrying tension load and the hot wires are really not supposed to be under tension.

My service drop comes from a mid-span whatever you call it because the nearest poles are on the far side of the neighbor's lot on either side, I'm attaching a diagram.

I had a service request in because after a tree fell on my service drop, the PoCo reconnected it but left it too close to the detatched garage roof. Friday they raised it to the propper height, but now I'm noticing that the hot wire is clearly under tension at the mid-span whatever you call it. In the diagram I used green to show the neutral bare wire and red to show the hot. I don't have a picture at this time.

As another side note, when they took the wires out from under the tree, they left the meter socket unsealed - which I had informed them. Once again, when they came out Friday they left it unsealed again. I don't really care personally, but I would think that they would care. And I don't want to leave the possibility of being accused of tampering...

As a side note, since the neighbor was getting some electrical work done I asked his electrician about replacing the insulator in the service cap and he'll do it for $85 if I provide the parts (he didn't have a 2" service cap on hand) so I'm doing that... His assessment of the PoCo's service drop was that it is, in his words, "ghetto".

This would be my third call to the PoCo on my service drop since the tree fell on it, I feel like it's getting to be nit-picky... Should I keep up nagging the PoCo or just go with it?
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Old 10-03-2011, 07:43 AM   #2
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


Every month write to the electric company (you can use a copy of the same letter without whiting out and filling in the enw date) included with the electric bill payment saying that when they last inspected the meter they did not seal it.

Don't waste your anytime minutes (or long distance charges or your time on hold holding the phone to your ear) calling again and again.

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Old 10-03-2011, 08:44 AM   #3
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


I agree with what AllanJ wrote.

If you feel you have a dangerous situation, your only other course of action would be to ask the building inspector to drop by. A power company may listen to him/her.
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Old 10-03-2011, 09:34 AM   #4
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


FYI, the power company operates under their own rules so, unless you can create a safety issue to support your case, it probably won't get changed. Can we assume that when you say the hots are under tension that it includes both hots? A picture would be helpful.
Do the two hots and the neutral travel independently from the garage riser to the house?
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Old 10-03-2011, 11:55 AM   #5
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


Quote:
Originally Posted by a7ecorsair View Post
FYI, the power company operates under their own rules so, unless you can create a safety issue to support your case, it probably won't get changed.
Yep, POCO is only subject to NESC, not NEC.

http://standards.ieee.org/about/nesc/
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Old 10-03-2011, 01:24 PM   #6
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


Well, that's the thing...

Let's make this hypothetical and say that this was an overhead line from the house to the garage, and therefore was covered by NEC. Is there anything that says I can't have the hot under tension?

I know it would be a bad idea whether or not there is a section of code that says not to do it. Pulling on insulated wire leads to stretched insulation, and even worse - pulling on insulated wire wrapped around uninuslated wire would be expected to abrade the insulation.

I'll put up pics when I get them.
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Old 10-03-2011, 01:53 PM   #7
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


Quote:
Originally Posted by Code05 View Post
I agree with what AllanJ wrote.

If you feel you have a dangerous situation, your only other course of action would be to ask the building inspector to drop by. A power company may listen to him/her.
Yeah, I've actually got open permits on projects I'm mostly finished where I'll have the inspector out. I have 1 wall to drywall which I've been putting off, then some smaller details, before I'm ready for final.
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Old 10-04-2011, 04:54 AM   #8
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


If this were NEC

396.2 Definition.
Messenger-Supported Wiring. An exposed wiring support
system using a messenger wire to support insulated conductors

396.30 Messenger.
(A) Support. The messenger shall be supported at dead ends
and at intermediate locations so as to eliminate tension on the
conductors. The conductors shall not be permitted to come
into contact with the messenger supports or any structural
members, walls, or pipes.

(B) Neutral Conductor. Where the messenger is used as a
neutral conductor, it shall comply with the requirements of
225.4, 250.184(A), 250.184(B)(7), and 250.186(B).

(C) Equipment Grounding Conductor. Where the messenger
is used as an equipment grounding conductor, it
shall comply with the requirements of 250.32(B), 250.118,
250.184(B)(8), and 250.186(D).

396.56 Conductor Splices and Taps. Conductor splices
and taps made and insulated by approved methods shall be
permitted in messenger-supported wiring.

396.60 Grounding. The messenger shall be grounded as
required by 250.80 and 250.86 for enclosure grounding.
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:52 AM   #9
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


Where a hot conductor in a service drop is under tension and the insulation can as a result of that tension become squashed including for a conductor wrapped around a messenger wire, then there is the danger of a multi hundred ampere dead short should the insulation become worn through.

Now it might take ten years before it happens.

If the way the hot wire of the service drop is fastened to the pole to pole hot wire is the same as the way the neutral/ground/messenger is fastened to the pole to pole neutral/ground then the chance of the joint's falling apart is not greater.
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:53 PM   #10
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


Okay I have a picture, and I added some red and yellow lines to try to show the wires because they really blend into the tree in the background.. It took literally a couple dozen shots to try to get something as clear as this.

And since you mentioned splices, now that I looked while taking pictures there IS a splice at the area that the hot wires are under tension. BOTH hot wires go into one wad of tape.

I think part of my problem is, correct me if I'm wrong, but this is an unusual configuration for a service drop... I don't think my words are really conveying the issue, and when I call in a trouble ticket I'm coming across as a nuissance and they don't allocate resources that are really at a level of taking this seriously.... I have a brother-in-law who works in the PoCo and I think he was able to help get the service move order to get completed, but his job is in commodities trading so he's not really familiar with electrician tech stuff.

Well, here's the pic:
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??-service-drop-over-garage-05oct2011.jpg  
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:06 AM   #11
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


The triangular pattern is sloppy to begin with but at any rate steel or steel cored support wire (which may double as neutral/ground) should take the tension on all three sides of the triangle.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:18 AM   #12
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
The triangular pattern is sloppy to begin with but at any rate steel or steel cored support wire (which may double as neutral/ground) should take the tension on all three sides of the triangle.
There is no steel wire on the third side of the triangle, only the 2 hot wires and the splice in the middle where both hot wires go into a single ball of tape. So if I was to call the PoCo to ask for it to be fixed, how do I need to describe this over the phone so that I'm properly relaying the issue in a manner that will get it fixed right?

Strictly speaking, they've fixed what I've called about since my first complaint was that there was a tree on my service entrance, and my second was that the wire is too close to the garage... Each time they've fixed the complaint, but left it not right in some other way.
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:36 AM   #13
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


As we said, it is a POCO/NESC issue. Your only real chance is a building official/inspector.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:16 AM   #14
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


Come to think of it I would not say anything more for at least a year.

If the power company's own standards allow it to be the way it is, you may not have any choice in the matter, but if it comes apart the PoCo has to fix it even on a Sunday. An outright short from squashed insulation is going to hurt the PoCo more than it hurts you. That'll take out the fuse for the pole transformer.

Another reason for this could be that after the storm the PoCo made makeshift repairs here and there to get everyone back on line more quickly, with the intent of making the rounds again in its own sweet time to bring things up to standards. (Not a bad strategy).
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:40 AM   #15
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Can the hot wire be under tension in an overhead drop??


Yeah. I had called it, I was thinking it could be a quick fix but I think there is a slim chance of that because all of my work orders have been closed. At this point, though, their outage map seems to indicate their present work load is really light.

I know this is a POCO issue and that it would most likely affect them more than me, but my concern is the fact that if the insulation wore, it would most likely happen right over my garage roof. I have a 2 1955 Mercurys in my garage, a Monterey station wagon and a Sun Valley, and the Sun Valley is a high demand vehicle for which the production numbers were only 1794. My biggest concern would be a fire where those would be lost and couldn't be replaced.

At any rate, I called the POCO again this morning. So at this point I have another work order in, plus I have a seperate ticket with the planning and design department so I can meet with someone to talk about moving the service to the garage - which would be necessary for me to have a pool. (I have REALLY avoided mentioning it to our kids, because I might decide not to if the electrical get too complicated)

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