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Service Entrance


CHI2
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I don't like what I'm seeing here, I just don't know why anyone would do it.

The large black wire is a service wire leading into the masthead. There is an additional masthead (on the right with the rust stains) that has wires coming out of it. All the wires coming out of this masthead are connected to the main service wires using wire nuts or lugs.

This masthead went directly into the meter on the exterior of the home.

This is a 1910 home. The garage had been converted into a workshop and was equipped with a subpanel, many 220 amp plugs,and 2 electric heaters.

The wires were frayed and some had bare wire exposed. That alone is enough to contact an electrician. I'm just trying to figure out why this would have been done this way in the first place.

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Hi,

I wish you'd taken a wider establishing shot of that. It's hard to tell what the heck is going on there without being able to see more of what you are describing.

I've seen meters wired into services that way when a larger service was brought in and they didn't want to tear up the house for a new mast, but those were always a lot cleaner than that mess. The description of the shop makes me think that they're trying to steal electricity but no seller in his right mind is going to leave that for you to discover. Maybe the seller isn't in his/her right mind. Anyway, calling for an electrician was the right call - maybe even calling for the utility provider would be.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I think this one calls for the service provider and the qualified, licensed electrician. From what we can see it looks as though there is only one lead from the service entrance cable that goes into the newer/larger mast head which is not making any sense. It looks like the ends are cut off of the other cables and taped.

Someone is using some pretty dangerous methods to steal electricity, look at all the white wires that are tied into the ground crimp from the service.

This is one great mess, I wish you had more pictures or at least a wider view.

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Lesson learned on the wider shot. My thought is that the home owner was/is stealing electricity for the garage as well. The garage upgrades were done by a previous owner, so the new owners may not even be aware of the situation.

When I started the inspection, the Realtor mentioned, "When the house was inspected for the current owner, nothing was found." Hmmmmm...

Thanks for the advice.

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Judging from the faded colors that's been there for some time. In fact I'd say it pre-dates the roof. The roofer must have loved it! How do people make connections like that without killing themselves?

As much as I'd like to call the utility company to report the theft of MY electricity, I don't think it's our job to do so. However, this is one of those cases where I might go more than a little overboard describing the potential danger to my clients. I wouldn't leave them with even the tiniest inkling that the "free" power was a good idea they could live with.

Wider would have been better, but still a great photo Rob.

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Without seeing the big picture, I can't tell, but I would wonder if there aren't current transformers placed on the service for metering purposes. Current transformers (or CTs for short) will pick up the amperage flowing through the conductors and send a fixed ratio to the meter. For instance the meter might see 5 amps for every 200 amps that flow to the main disconnect. Then the power company would have to multiply the readings times 40. These are common on commercial and industrial buildings, but would not typically be seen on a residence. However, it sounds possible that the workshop may have been a small industrial shop at some point. CTs are usually donut shaped relays that would be clamped around each hot leg. Their purpose is to keep the power company from having to buy huge meter sockets that would be required to accomodate conductors over 400 amps.

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Originally posted by drw

Without seeing the big picture, I can't tell, but I would wonder if there aren't current transformers placed on the service for metering purposes. Current transformers (or CTs for short) will pick up the amperage flowing through the conductors and send a fixed ratio to the meter. For instance the meter might see 5 amps for every 200 amps that flow to the main disconnect. Then the power company would have to multiply the readings times 40. These are common on commercial and industrial buildings, but would not typically be seen on a residence. However, it sounds possible that the workshop may have been a small industrial shop at some point. CTs are usually donut shaped relays that would be clamped around each hot leg. Their purpose is to keep the power company from having to buy huge meter sockets that would be required to accomodate conductors over 400 amps.

I agree. It's likely that these go to a CT enclosure. Was there a bigger than normal box around the meter or perhaps an unexplained box near the meter? It'd also be easy to tell just by looking at the face of the meter.

I doubt that a homeowner put these wires here because I can see them crimped onto the service wires with nicopress connectors. Most homeowner's don't have a nicopress tool.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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