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Old 07-06-2017, 03:52 PM   #1
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Wire size for temporary service installation


I am installing a temp pole and a 100 amp panel to use during home construction. Is a 3/3/3/5 Copper SER cable that will run about 14 feet on the pole from my panel to the weatherhead adequate ? I have checked and it does seem to meet NEC requirements. Thanks !!!
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Old 07-07-2017, 02:17 AM   #2
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Re: Wire size for temporary service installation


In addition to meeting NEC requirements you must also meet those of your serving utility. For residential service, permanent or temporary, many utilities require that equipment and wiring up to and including the meter enclosure be suitable for 200 amps. So check with your utility. Almost all electric utilities have their service requirements available online.

If 100A is sufficient then #3 copper is fine. The service drop actually only uses three conductors. There are a few different types of SE cable that you can use.

SER is what you've looked at and is the most expensive. You will only use three conductors out of the cable. The bare #5 ground will be snipped off at both ends. It's throwing a little money away, but for 14 feet the extra cost might not be significant.

Type SEU cable is less expensive but harder to work with. It can be a little hard to find in copper. The grounded (neutral) conductor consists of individual strands arranged concentrically around the other two conductors. At each end, the strands need to be separated, straightened, and twisted together before connecting.

There is also three wire SER cable available. It's much like the normal four wire SER except one insulated conductor is omitted and the bare conductor is full size. You won't find it at home centers and even many electrical supply houses do not carry it. It's more expensive than SEU but so much less difficult to work with.

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Old 07-08-2017, 08:04 AM   #3
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Re: Wire size for temporary service installation


Thanks Fishbulb28.
I checked the local utilities website, Pacific Gas And Electric, but could not find any information on recommended wire sizes for this application.
And the pre-wired GE 100 amp RV panel that I have will only accept a line wire size of #6 to 1/0. The tables I looked at show #3 is good to 110amp.
And it is a temporary power install.
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