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Old 07-19-2019, 03:27 PM   #1
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Default What causes this??

I posted yesterday about a call from my step father. He had several tripped breakers Thursday morning and lost partial power in his house. It came back on, but this morning he had no power again, but nothing tripped.
I go over and everything is working right now. But I check the panel and get 120 line to neutral on both legs but nothing line to line. I go to the meter and it’s blank. I open the can and I get the same thing on the line side in the meter; 120 line to neutral, nothing line to line. This is a POCO issue... right? But what causes this?
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Old 07-19-2019, 03:30 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Travvy View Post
I posted yesterday about a call from my step father. He had several tripped breakers Thursday morning and lost partial power in his house. It came back on, but this morning he had no power again, but nothing tripped.
I go over and everything is working right now. But I check the panel and get 120 line to neutral on both legs but nothing line to line. I go to the meter and it’s blank. I open the can and I get the same thing on the line side in the meter; 120 line to neutral, nothing line to line. This is a POCO issue... right? But what causes this?
One of the legs could be dead.

Let's say A leg is dead. Then let's say that a piece of 240V equipment is turned on. That could backfeed B leg into A leg, making both legs B leg, which would give you 120V to neutral/ground.
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Old 07-19-2019, 03:53 PM   #3
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I'm with Hack on that.

Call POCO.
I'd turn off the main until they fix it.
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:17 PM   #4
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That makes sense. I just shut the ac off and half the house went dead. Since I’m getting zero on the line side at the meter, does that mean it’s definitely the utility’s issue?
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:19 PM   #5
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That makes sense. I just shut the ac off and half the house went dead.
So then it definitely is a dead leg.

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Since I’m getting zero on the line side at the meter, does that mean it’s definitely the utility’s issue?
It's definitely something before the meter. Is it overhead? If so, it could be at the splices. Call the PoCo.

In the meantime, do not feed thru the 240V equipment to give the other half of the house power.
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Old 07-19-2019, 04:32 PM   #6
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That makes sense. I just shut the ac off and half the house went dead.
So then it definitely is a dead leg.

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Since I’️m getting zero on the line side at the meter, does that mean it’️s definitely the utility’️s issue?
It's definitely something before the meter. Is it overhead? If so, it could be at the splices. Call the PoCo.

In the meantime, do not feed thru the 240V equipment to give the other half of the house power.
I called a while ago. It’s Underground.
Thank you guys for your assistance.
I learn just as much on this website as I do on the job or in class.
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Old 07-19-2019, 05:26 PM   #7
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It's probably other neighbors backfeeding the dead leg.
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:35 PM   #8
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It’s weird. I left a while ago. He texted me and said his meter is now lit up, but still only has partial power. I called the POCO to see if anyone made it out there yet. Apparently they screwed up and didn’t enter my earlier call into the system so no one has been out yet.
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:43 PM   #9
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It’s weird. I left a while ago. He texted me and said his meter is now lit up, but still only has partial power. I called the POCO to see if anyone made it out there yet. Apparently they screwed up and didn’t enter my earlier call into the system so no one has been out yet.
see post #7
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:36 PM   #10
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I know you mention underground ( lateral ) run I am pretty sure one of the leg conductor is toasted that is one of few common item with failure on laterals

once a while a smart meter do this too .,, especially with undersized lug tabs will do it. ( they are little smaller than old school meters )
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Old 07-19-2019, 08:56 PM   #11
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A troubleshooter came and they verified that there is a dead leg. Said they may have to dig up the brand new driveway. They just had it dug out and re graded like two months ago.

How far do they generally bury the laterals? Could they have hit it during the digging and no symptoms until now?
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Old 07-19-2019, 09:03 PM   #12
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A troubleshooter came and they verified that there is a dead leg. Said they may have to dig up the brand new driveway. They just had it dug out and re graded like two months ago.

How far do they generally bury the laterals? Could they have hit it during the digging and no symptoms until now?
most case they are useally 70 CM or 24 inches down one of the two is most common depth but once a while you will see much shallower than that. especially if relandscaping .,,

check with your POCO specs it may be different depending on the situation.
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Old 07-19-2019, 10:22 PM   #13
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POCOs here require 36" deep.
Did they do a locate before digging the driveway?
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Old 07-20-2019, 12:19 AM   #14
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QUOTE - Could they have hit it during the digging, and no symptoms until now?


YES !


Whilst they may not have completely severed the cable,
all they have to do is damage the insulation,
then water gets in, and it's all down hill from there on.
may not have even known about it
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Old 07-20-2019, 06:41 AM   #15
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Turns out this is exactly what happened. They ran a piece of rebar through the pipe carrying the service conductors. Might be time to dig up the brand new drive way.
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Old 07-20-2019, 06:43 AM   #16
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Turns out this is exactly what happened. They ran a piece of rebar through the pipe carrying the service conductors. Might be time to dig up the brand new drive way.
How do you know, the utility located it and dug it?
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Old 07-20-2019, 07:53 AM   #17
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How do you know, the utility located it and dug it?
Yes. My step dad sent me a pic last night. I’m hoping they may be able to just dig around the damaged section, pull out the damaged conductor(s) and scab in a new piece of pipe.

So could this line side fault have caused all the tripping breakers Thursday night?
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Old 07-20-2019, 07:57 AM   #18
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Yes. My step dad sent me a pic last night. I’m hoping they may be able to just dig around the damaged section, pull out the damaged conductor(s) and scab in a new piece of pipe.

So could this line side fault have caused all the tripping breakers Thursday night?
It could have.

But that night was a bad storm so the issue could be caused by lightning that not only tripped the breakers, but jumped from the service conductor to the nearby piece of rebar, causing an arc blast that left the conductor blown apart.

That piece of rebar might have just barely cut into the conductor's insulation and have been sitting a fraction of an inch from the conductor.
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Old 07-20-2019, 08:45 AM   #19
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Are you in Duquesne Light or West Penn Power?
West Penn Power has a portable unit that can be set next to the meter and power the house.
The last time I was called to troubleshoot the same situation, they set it up for about ten days while the repair was made. It ran the entire house including AC. It used the one good leg and the Neutral to created 120/240, like a portable transformer.
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Old 07-20-2019, 09:01 AM   #20
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Are you in Duquesne Light or West Penn Power?
West Penn Power has a portable unit that can be set next to the meter and power the house.
The last time I was called to troubleshoot the same situation, they set it up for about ten days while the repair was made. It ran the entire house including AC. It used the one good leg and the Neutral to created 120/240, like a portable transformer.
Duquesne light. Beyond finding the issue, I’m not sure what kind of progress was made last night, or if they gave him an estimate on how long the repair would take.

In your experience, is this generally something that would be the customer’s responsibility or the utility. I read a little bit about Duquesne Light’s policy. It sounds like it depends on where the lateral originates, but it was hard for me to follow. Like if there is a J box between the transformer and the meter then it’s on the customer, but if it comes straight from the transformer then it’s on the POCO.
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