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Old 07-16-2013, 10:55 AM   #1
Elh
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Dimming lights when neighbor's AC kicks on


So, here is a brief history of the problem:
February: lights flicker and pop while it is raining lightly. No problem for two weeks (had every intention of getting electrician out soon). Two weeks later light rain again lights flicker, pop and PoCo meter catches fire and burns up. Meter is pulled, emergency electrician comes out, can't find anything that would have caused the wires to burn so they assume there was a loose connection - tightened connection in panel and check everything out and meter is replaced.
March: lights still flicker randomly. Mainly when my AC kicks on. AC repair man comes out 3 times - AC is in perfect condition with new hard start kit. Lights still flicker. Call different electrician - he goes through my house and can't find a problem so he suggests its a loose neutral on PoCo side. Now starting to notice lights flicker everytime neighbors AC kicks on.
April-present: POCO has come out close to 15 times changing connections, switching my house to different transformer, replacing transformer, tightening connections. Problem isn't solved - after they supposedly replaced transformer our problems got worse. Brownouts, flickering lights, electronics failing (maybe coincidence cable box stopped working, cell phone, vacuum cleaner, light bulbs burn out constantly). One thing that did change was when our house was switched to a different transformer (not a new one just a different one) our lights would flicker at random and a little less frequently)
Any suggestions?
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:07 AM   #2
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Dimming lights when neighbor's AC kicks on


Sounds like you are going thri the correct channels. It sure sounds like a bad neutral. The hard part is finding it.

I'd start documenting everything. If anything burns up, the POCO should buy you a new one.
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:14 AM   #3
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Dimming lights when neighbor's AC kicks on


Nothing can be as frustrating as going through the correct channels and nothing seems to get better.

Do you have city water or use a well?
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:08 PM   #4
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Dimming lights when neighbor's AC kicks on


Has the PoCo checked out the neighbor's house, too?
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:31 PM   #5
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Dimming lights when neighbor's AC kicks on


Sounds like you're making the right calls, as others have said.
When lights flicker, while not raining, how strong are the winds?
I will assume that the service drop is overhead, does it pass through any trees?
Does POCO lines pass through trees? (to the transformer)

Have they inspected the service drop, from transformer to weather head?
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Old 07-16-2013, 08:13 PM   #6
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Dimming lights when neighbor's AC kicks on


Based on your description, I'd say you have a intermittent break in the neutral line. Is your service from the transformer under ground? A break in the insulation could cause the symptoms you are experiencing. You said when rain occurs problems are worsen. A break in the insulation which allows moisture to cause corrosion in the line could be the problem. This could occur even in overhead lines. You said the POCO has done everything but they have not replaced the service entrance lines.

I'll bet the problem is somewhere on the SE lines.
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:27 PM   #7
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Dimming lights when neighbor's AC kicks on


Keep on the POCO. Sounds like they do not want to do anything, either they are running out of funds, or the neighborhood is one of those that they really do not want to maintain, and hoping that it disappears overnight, or people move out of the area and they can start shutting the grid down in that area, to save maintenance costs.

Problem with brownouts, spikes, surges, it shortens the lifespan on anything that depends on electric in structure, along with junctions and any connections in panels can heat up from the high resistance.
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:44 PM   #8
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Dimming lights when neighbor's AC kicks on


It could also be a lack of available power in your area !
If the available power remains pegged, and more current is called for
(like an a/c kicking in !), then the volatage must drop (flickering).
No matter how good the connecttions are, if the powers not there,
then the only thing left to do is put MORE power into the system,
assuming it's available that is !
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