||09-26-2006 09:44 AM
Suspected open/loose service neutral
I had a BGE (local power company) service person come out to investigate what I believe to be an open/loose neutral problem. The service person did not believe there to be a problem. (and didn't even seem to understand that power traveled in a loop and needs a return path) When a clamp-on amp meter is applied to each of the main loads in my panel, amps are seen coming in as there should be (~15A on one, ~5 on the other at the time of the test) When the meter is applied to the neutral, zero amps are shown returning through the service neutral (not even a fraction of an amp, totally zero). When the meter is applied to the house grounding (connected to pipes) anywhere from 5-10 amps are flowing through the ground. This seems to point to no current returning through the service neutral and all flowing through the grounding line. The service tech only checked voltage between the hots and neutral in the meter box and the main panel (which I think since the neutral is bonded to the grounding in the panel, it would just flow back through the grounding and give a false positive) No check was done at the transformer or with the neutral isolated from the grounding while the system was powered down. My father used to be an electrician and said that it doesn't sound right for all of the current to be returning through the ground and nothing through the service neutral, so I wanted to get the opinion of a currently licensed electrician before I contact bge again about it.