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Discussion Starter #1
We hired a licensed electrician to put in a new meter to the house. He got the permits and did neat looking work and the permit passed. The bill included hitching up with the power company. We paid the bill just after the building inspector passed it but before the power company hitched it up. HOWEVER, The power company was not satisfied and says the mast has to be considerably higher. Apparently this means repeating his work and using more wire. Who pays for this screw-up?
 

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Master Electrician
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We hired a licensed electrician to put in a new meter to the house. He got the permits and did neat looking work and the permit passed. The bill included hitching up with the power company. We paid the bill just after the building inspector passed it but before the power company hitched it up. HOWEVER, The power company was not satisfied and says the mast has to be considerably higher. Apparently this means repeating his work and using more wire. Who pays for this screw-up?
IMO the contractor pays.
 

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Electrical Contractor
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I find I always have to meet with the POCO because the requirements they write in their rules are bare min and sometimes even though it passes they won't connect it if they feel it is not high enough for your situation.

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you, I thought so too. His bill included power company hookup but what if he refuses to fix without more cash? Would it be reasonable for me to foot some of it as well? Will I have to file a complaint somewhere if he does not want to fix it? The electrician should probably have had the power company look at it first before deciding for himself how tall it ought to be?
 

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flipping slumlord
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Thank you, I thought so too. His bill included power company hookup but what if he refuses to fix without more cash?
Would it be reasonable for me to foot some of it as well?
No. It's ALL on him. Hold the line.
For future reference... never pay the whole bill until the whole job is done.

Will I have to file a complaint somewhere if he does not want to fix it?
You should investigate WHO to complain to today...
and KNOW what agency to mention if it's needed.

Start by telling the contractor you expect him to "make it right"
by X date certain. If he fails to... then go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks so much for your answers. Tarheel, I particularly appreciate your admonition to never pay until done. I thought it had passed inspection so was good to go... I am old to learn but I will not forget your good advice! I will follow your instructions to a "T".

Thanks so much, all of you. You have eased my mind.
 

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Electrical Contractor
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I would make sure you be nice and give him a chance to fix it and make it right. If he went by code and it passed it then just see what he will do. Maybe it could be just a simple misunderstanding between the linemen and the inspector. Bad mouthing the electrician and causing him problems can only make things worse. First give him a chance to make it right.

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Thanks so much for your answers. Tarheel, I particularly appreciate your admonition to never pay until done. I thought it had passed inspection so was good to go... I am old to learn but I will not forget your good advice! I will follow your instructions to a "T".

Thanks so much, all of you. You have eased my mind.
Yep, you paid for Hooked Up, not anything less and I hope you have that writing.
 

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Civil Engineer
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This is a very difficult question, more suited to a legal forum. For one thing, you have not discussed exactly what contract you had with the electrician. He is only obligated to do the work set forth in your signed contract, so if your contract calls for him to pull the permit, install the meter, and have it pass inspection, he likely did exactly what he was required to do.

The fact that the POCO had additional requirements beyond the permit is unfortunate, and if your contract required the contractor to coordinate with the POCO, then of course he would have been obligated to do so. But if your contract fails to mention coordination with the POCO, then it is a tricky question as to whether the electrician was obligated to contact the POCO and meet their standards.

It is certainly reasonable for you to ask the electrician to finish the job per POCO requirements at no additional cost, but if he refuses, this becomes a tough question in my book.
 

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Lic Elect/Inspector/CPO
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Where are you located?
It is the contractors responsibilty. The contractor should know the requirements for the POCO. I agrre that you should give the contractor a cahnce to rectify the issue. As stated in another post it may just be a miss undestanding. Most POCO have thier installation requirements online, so you could possible look it up.
 

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Give the inspector and the poco a call.
Sometimes they have to fight it out among themselves.

I would have a poco engineer come out and look at it again.
 

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Licensed Electrician
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I'm going to be on the other side of the fence...sort of.

The NEC has guidelines as to how high overhead service drops have to be. The electrician has to abide by these, but the inspector should be able to see any potential problems with these clearances.

With that said, every POCO I have know of publishes a manual for services. My POCO has a section for residential masts. These requirements are not in the NEC.

I have heard about some crazy requirements from the POCO above and beyond anything in their manual or was is usual. IF the installation was done according to the NEC, which I assume it was judging by it passing inspection, and it was done according to your POCO's metering manual, then this has to be on you. There is no way for a contractor to know about some sort of above and beyond requirement from your POCO.

Who is your power company?
How far does the mast extend above the roof?
Are there any structures directly below the service drop?
Is the area below the drop subject to vehicle traffic?

We could possibly determine if this was the contractors oversight, or one of those above and beyond situations if you can provide answers to the above questions.

As for the payment, alot of EC's around here require payment when the job is done, not when it is inspected, and definitely not when the POCO makes its final connections. The problem is that there are too many ways for customers to try to weasel out of paying. They put off scheduling inspections. They say they aren't satisfied often requesting work outside the scope of the contract. Add to that, the only way to have the POCO hook up permanently is the inspector has to call the POCO after the permit has been closed. Then they will come out when it suits them. I have had service changes go up to 4 years without permanent hook up. Your situation might be the exact reason we require payment at the time we do. We do put all this in our contract and explain to the customer, so there are no surprises.
 

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flipping slumlord
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Give the inspector and the poco a call. NO!
Sometimes they have to fight it out among themselves.
The only call the customer should be making aside to their EC...
is to the States Attorney or Licensing Board.

I would have a poco engineer come out and look at it again.
As the EC you c/should do that too.

Bottom line though... it's YOUR job. Make it right.
 

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Licensed Electrician
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The only call the customer should be making aside to their EC...
is to the States Attorney or Licensing Board.


As the EC you c/should do that too.

Bottom line though... it's YOUR job. Make it right.
To say this without knowing anything more that what the OP has stated tells me you haven't worked with POCO's very often.
 

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The way it works here, I finish the job, call for inspection, inspector calls poco for hook up.

The only time I meet with the poco is on some unusual installations.
 

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I'm going to be on the other side of the fence...sort of.

The NEC has guidelines as to how high overhead service drops have to be. The electrician has to abide by these, but the inspector should be able to see any potential problems with these clearances.

With that said, every POCO I have know of publishes a manual for services. My POCO has a section for residential masts. These requirements are not in the NEC.

I have heard about some crazy requirements from the POCO above and beyond anything in their manual or was is usual. IF the installation was done according to the NEC, which I assume it was judging by it passing inspection, and it was done according to your POCO's metering manual, then this has to be on you. There is no way for a contractor to know about some sort of above and beyond requirement from your POCO.

Who is your power company?
How far does the mast extend above the roof?
Are there any structures directly below the service drop?
Is the area below the drop subject to vehicle traffic?

We could possibly determine if this was the contractors oversight, or one of those above and beyond situations if you can provide answers to the above questions.

As for the payment, alot of EC's around here require payment when the job is done, not when it is inspected, and definitely not when the POCO makes its final connections. The problem is that there are too many ways for customers to try to weasel out of paying. They put off scheduling inspections. They say they aren't satisfied often requesting work outside the scope of the contract. Add to that, the only way to have the POCO hook up permanently is the inspector has to call the POCO after the permit has been closed. Then they will come out when it suits them. I have had service changes go up to 4 years without permanent hook up. Your situation might be the exact reason we require payment at the time we do. We do put all this in our contract and explain to the customer, so there are no surprises.
I thought that everything downstream of the meter is NEC, upstream of the meter is something like the "National Electrical Safety Code" for suppliers and power companies.
 

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Electrical Contractor
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Almost every time a homeowner submits to the POCO about a new service or upgrade they send an engineer. Usually the homeowner calls me and says I called the POCO about getting power and they want to meet with the electrician doing the job.

I actually prefer that the homeowner and the POCO engineer be with me so they can see where the service mast has to be. They give us a work order number that I have to give to the inspector so he can call it in. This also solves any issues where the homeowner may want me to put the service somewhere that it can't go.
 

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flipping slumlord
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To say this without knowing anything more that what the OP has stated...
TheOP said:
The bill included hitching up with the power company. We paid the bill just after the building inspector passed it but before the power company hitched it up.
One more time:
The EC is the customers contact.
The EC deals with the POCO and the County Inspector.
The EC is supposed to know what is expected by both...
or take it on the chin when they later learn otherwise.

The EC is the end of the line for the customer.
The EC *wants* to be the end of the line for the customer...
even when $hit happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hi Guys,
Fascinating discussion. I paid the electrician after the local building inspector passed it but before the POCO came to hook it up. I am in Arizona. The power company man called "his boss" (?) and she came from a half hour away to inspect and determine. She said there were a couple of issues but that the main one was that the mast had to be higher. She took some pictures as well. I think she may be coordinating with the electrician but I am not sure. My husband called the electrician and he said he had done everything right. (that was before speaking to the POCO lady). The description of what he did on the invoice included APS (AZ Power) hookup.
 
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