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Old 05-28-2012, 09:49 AM   #1
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PoCo's wire sizes


There might be a dozen houses on the xformer outside my house, with cabling running maybe 600' in each direction.
What gauge wire is likely run between poles to serve these houses? Copper or aluminum? From the ground it looks like an OD of about a half inch but that includes insulation.
Thanks.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:52 AM   #2
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PoCo's wire sizes


I'm sure it's AL, but as to what size...there really isn't a way to tell you. I know I have seen some 400A services fed with #4 AL.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:31 AM   #3
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PoCo's wire sizes


Overhead lines have much more capacity than lines inside a building. I have seen many upgrades from an old meter under 60 amps upgraded to 200 amps and home fullly redone. And overhead never gets replaced. Seems ok but you always wonder how much that wire insulation can withstand on a hot day. I was hoping for a transformer upgrade when we got our service upgraded and installed a tankless water heater. But instead we can dim our neighbors lights.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:41 AM   #4
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PoCo's wire sizes


Most likely ACSR between poles.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:46 AM   #5
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PoCo's wire sizes


POCO uses NESC rules and different wire than we do. Unless these really old services, the wires are probably AL.

IIRC, they typically use a 1/0 AL for a 200 amp service.
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Old 05-28-2012, 10:54 AM   #6
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PoCo's wire sizes


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Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
There might be a dozen houses on the xformer outside my house, with cabling running maybe 600' in each direction.
What gauge wire is likely run between poles to serve these houses? Copper or aluminum? From the ground it looks like an OD of about a half inch but that includes insulation.
Thanks.
They don't use copper.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:06 PM   #7
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PoCo's wire sizes


I think if they used copper people would notice a lot of overhead service cable disappearing.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:13 PM   #8
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PoCo's wire sizes


I certainly wouldn't know this from personal experience or anything, but 150 amps or so all day long will cause a #6 triplex to burn up. Arcs, sparks, small explosions, small fires, etc.

Around here, the POCO will size their transformers and wire to 65% of the main for commercial/industrial unless the load calc you provide to them indicates a larger continuous load.

For houses, they'll figure around 4 KW per basic house in a subdivision for the transformer size (if more than one house), and run a #2 triplex if it's overhead, #2/0 AL if underground, unless the load calc is larger.

You can up the load calc on any building if you want, but it's expensive.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:29 PM   #9
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PoCo's wire sizes


When I did the service upgrade on our home I submited a load calc that included going all electric with a tankless water heater and the overhead cable is the same size as the 4/0 SE I used. The clamps the POCO used just barely fit both cables. And they did not charge me anymore but I think the transformer is weak. They deliver 125v per leg and since it stays within an acceptable range during the voltage drops it's considered ok.
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:45 PM   #10
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PoCo's wire sizes


IMO, the NEC is extremely on the high side when coming to service calculations, where the POCO just has real data on this, so yeah, you run 4/0, they run something half that size. IMO, I bet 100 amp services are just fine for the majority of 200 amp services in service today...

with that said, don't everyone get your panties in a bunch, but if question my logic, go get a amprobe and a data logger and let me know your results on your own home. I bet you would be amazed.
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:02 PM   #11
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PoCo's wire sizes


I don't need an amp probe to tell me that on a cold day during the winter when we are using a large volume of water we can easily draw more than 100 amps. And in the summer with AC and hot water and dryer going we can go over 100 amps too. Very often we have dishwasher washer dryer AC and someone taking a shower and some other stuff running all at once at night time.
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrolleston View Post
I don't need an amp probe to tell me that on a cold day during the winter when we are using a large volume of water we can easily draw more than 100 amps. And in the summer with AC and hot water and dryer going we can go over 100 amps too. Very often we have dishwasher washer dryer AC and someone taking a shower and some other stuff running all at once at night time.
prove it.


SO houses with 100 amp services and water and AC and a dryer, they trip the main? lol....

Just for giggles, I just checked mine, 11 amps one leg, 14 amps other leg.... AC was running by the way.

Last edited by stickboy1375; 05-28-2012 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:37 PM   #13
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PoCo's wire sizes


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Originally Posted by stickboy1375 View Post
prove it.


SO houses with 100 amp services and water and AC and a dryer, they trip the main? lol....

Just for giggles, I just checked mine, 11 amps one leg, 14 amps other leg.... AC was running by the way.
So 240v x 11A + [120v x (14-11)] = 3 kW.
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:51 PM   #14
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PoCo's wire sizes


Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
So 240v x 11A + [120v x (14-11)] = 3 kW.
My electric bill is $340 a month. Ugh... but whatever... With that said though, I can almost bet that I never cross 30 amp mark on either leg at any time of the day....

Last edited by stickboy1375; 05-28-2012 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:06 PM   #15
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PoCo's wire sizes


Quote:
Originally Posted by stickboy1375 View Post
prove it.


SO houses with 100 amp services and water and AC and a dryer, they trip the main? lol....

Just for giggles, I just checked mine, 11 amps one leg, 14 amps other leg.... AC was running by the way.
We have an 28.8 kw electric tankless water heater and when we have a bunch of stuff running and drawing hot water it can easily go over 100 amps.
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