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-   -   Suspected open/loose service neutral (http://www.diychatroom.com/f18/suspected-open-loose-service-neutral-4081/)

mrtomwj 09-26-2006 08:44 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.

mdshunk 09-26-2006 11:38 AM

yes, you have a legitimate problem

jwhite 09-26-2006 02:52 PM

You have a major problem. The current is returning to the system via the waterlines and someone else house up the street.

Get them back to fix the problem.

mdshunk 09-26-2006 04:19 PM

Put in another trouble call to BG&E. Multiple trouble calls from the same address will often cause the dispatcher to send a different troubleman.

They should know better than to just do meter check for a suspected loose neutral. They should either use the "beast of burden" tool that every BG&E trouble truck has, or visually examine every aerial tap and the transformer taps.

joed 09-26-2006 05:03 PM

The test they did revealed on open neutral. If the guy doing the test didn't recognize that he should not be doing that type of repair work. I would call them back ASAP.
There should be no current flowing on the ground wire. This is the type of problem that kills plumbers who are not carefull when working on service laterals.

mrtomwj 09-28-2006 08:46 AM

Resolved
 
They came back out yesterday and finally pinpointed to problem to the underground neutral feeding to my meter. There was a break in the line underground that was an 8" section that was corroded/fried...basically looked like white powder and toothpasted :-P So they cut out all the corrosion and put a splice in and all is good now. Thanks for the help!


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