Safety tips for working with live wires overhead service 120/240V

NoProjectToBigSeptember 26, 2011

I want to thank anyone who is willing to contribute to the details described below.

I am in the process of remodeling and completely rewiring my 1927 built home. The subject at hand is once I get my service inspection completed I will be required to move the live wires that are currently connected to my old (still active service) to the new service entrance. The utility company expects the customer (me) to temporally connect the service and then they will come over at their leisure to do a permanent connection. The entrance is an overhead feeder where the wires run about 10 feet from a sub pole to my weather head. The old service and new service entrance are about 1ft apart exiting on the roof of my house. There are no trees or obstructions present and because the wire is primarily a vertical drop there is very little tension on the lines. I consider this task within my comfort level, but would like to validate my plan and seek any advice from others as I am not an electrician and don�t want to put myself in any more danger than required.

Here is the plan:

Prerequisite: Inspection is bought off and I am allowed to switch power to my new service.

Wearing my insulated leather gloves (heavy welding gloves), using insulated lineman�s pliers I cut one of the 120v lines while holding onto the insulated part of the wire.

The while still holding on the cut line (to prevent grounding to the mast) I strip the wire using insulated wire strippers.

Next I simply insert the live wire into a 2 lug splice connector (2/0 copper THWN) and torque the lug holding the splice connector with a pair of insulated channel locks and an insulated 3/8 ratchet.

Lastly tape well using standard electrical tape.

After one connection completed I repeat the same procedure for the other 120v leg and then do the neutral last.

Note: I will be standing on my roof and not working from a ladder during the process.

I also will be wearing coveralls and a thick flannel shirt during this process just in case a wire slips out of my grasp it does not ground out on my body. I will also be very careful not to come in contact with the metal service mast or anything that would provide a path to ground via through my body.

Please let me know if anyone has any comments or suggestions. Any advice is appreciated.

Note: I am looking for advice on the best way practices to accomplish this task. I understand just like anything you do there comes inherent risk and that is why I am seeking the advice of others. Thus, please don�t say this job is for a licensed electrician only.

Thanks,

Ian

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petey_racer

THIS JOB IS FOR A QUALIFIED/LICENSED ELECTRICIAN OR LINE MAN ONLY!!!!

You should NOT be messing with the overhead POCO drop AT ALL!!! PERIOD!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 5:03PM
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bus_driver

I hesitate to comment. But your plan is well thought out. On one occasion over 50 year ago, I had to do similar work. And had nothing but the tools. The POCO had used split bolts. It probably predated the compressions connectors. I stood on the dry roof in my work shoes and touched one of the wires with my finger. No shock. So I did the work barehanded with no problem. A POCO retiree told me that in the days before the bucket trucks, his crew worked up to 2000 volts barehanded on poles IF the pole was really dry. But I cannot actually recommend that anyone do any of these things. There is always the possibility of problems. And for that reason, I do not post some of the things I do while I am doing troubleshooting and repair.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 5:08PM
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Ron Natalie

You're scaring me.
Welding gloves are not suitable. A flannel shirt is not sufficient. If you touch a 200A service line even without having your other hand on the grounded mast you're going to get quite a jolt.

Cutting hot wires with pliers? Self insulated rachet? What pray tell are you going to do if you lose your grip on the wire? Despite the fact it appears to not be under much tension, it is going to be HEAVY.

Frankly this is a job for someone with a clue. In fact, when the utility says they want "you" to do the work, they mean they want "you" to hire a licensed electrician. I'm sorry you DON'T WANT TO HEAR THAT but some things are not DIY

How about you do the following:

1. Pull your existing meter.
2. Run your temporary service from the metered side of the old meter to the new one.
3 Wait for the power company to do it right.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 5:09PM
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saltcedar

"The utility company expects the customer (me) to temporally connect the service and then they will come over at their leisure to do a permanent connection."

Still trying to wrap my head around that statement!
Anyone anywhere ever heard of such a thing?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 5:13PM
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brickeyee

You run the new drop lines over to the old drop and use crimp on connectors and the correct safety gear to connect them.

It is not the amateur hour.

While the voltage is only 120 V to the neutral (and 240 V between the hots) the current available to a fault is into the tens of thousands of amps.

Anything that gets across the lines and conducts well will be vaporized. INSTANTLY.

Where I live the POCO is responsible for everything down to the meter pan.

We normally jumper from the bottom of the old meter base to the top of the new, insert shorting bars, and plug the meter back into the old base.

The AHJ will get around to inspecting, and then the POCO will come install a new drop.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 7:25PM
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Ron Natalie

"The utility company expects the customer (me) to temporally connect the service and then they will come over at their leisure to do a permanent connection."

I already answered that. The utility company expects him to hire a licensed electrician, not to go poking at it with his galoshes, playtex gloves, and home depot electrical toolset.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 9:42PM
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saltcedar

Sorry, my timing offends you. I was composing the question
while you were posting the answer.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 11:38PM
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kudzu9

I see that there were no further posts from the person starting the thread. Hopefully, he's still alive...

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 2:29AM
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bus_driver

I took the first post literally. Reminds me of the saying: "If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not the sport for you".

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 7:57AM
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jmorrow

boxing gloves are where it's at for any DIY electrical project. and for the love of God connect the neutral first, not last.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 9:50AM
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NoProjectToBig

Thank you for all your comments.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 12:01PM
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coolvt

"The utility company expects the customer (me) to temporally connect the service and then they will come over at their leisure to do a permanent connection."
Still trying to wrap my head around that statement!
Anyone anywhere ever heard of such a thing?

I've heard of that. In our area if the inspector passes the job it is expected that the electrician will hook up the service and the power company will stop by at their leisure to check the work.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 11:07PM
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Ron Natalie

Read my post. When they say the customer is responsible for something, they mean the customer is responsible to pay a licensed electrician to come out and do the work (and obtain any permits that may be required). It doesn't mean that they expect him to put on his galoshes and go up there and hook things up himself.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 6:17AM
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