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#7666 - 02/14/02 12:24 PM Not an electrician, but need questions answered, please.
Clove Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/14/02
Posts: 3
Hello!

Back in June, the 1st to be exact, we had to call an electrian out ( master with 40 yrs. experience ) to our place.

What we had going on was an open neutral on the incoming electric lines causing voltage to vary from 60 volts to 160 volts. The wind caused a loose wire on the transformer belonging to elec. company to lay on top of another wire.

In the process of this, we lost our TV, small appliances, and the computer has been acting whacky ever since.

The electrician recommended that we submit every item plugged in to our insurance company for replacement, as the life of each item was significantly reduced.

The insurance company is not accepting this, and the REC is not claiming responsibility either.

We have hit a wall here. We cannot get repairmen to support the electricians opinion, as the items are working.

Can someone please make some suggestions as to what we should do or where we should go from here?

thanks,

Clove

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#7667 - 02/14/02 01:47 PM Re: Not an electrician, but need questions answered, please.
sparky Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
Clove;
simple math here...
Both your Insurance & Power Co assume you will not pursue costly litigation for a small $$$ amount.

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#7668 - 02/14/02 02:29 PM Re: Not an electrician, but need questions answered, please.
BuggabooBren Offline
Member

Registered: 11/15/01
Posts: 336
Loc: NM
Also, Clove, you'll probably not find out the net result of the power fluctuations unless or until the appliances don't meet the 'standard' lifespan expectation. What that means is that you'd probably better get information on:
a) what the statute of limitations is for filing a claim for this incident;
b) what the reasonable or standard lifespan is for each appliance;
c) what the purchase date and service date (when you plugged it in) was or 'time in use' if it's not plugged in all the time;
so you can keep track of each and every affected appliance and submit a claim - or an addendum to the primary claim - for them as they fail to meet the expected lifespan.

I would be especially cautious & get written clarification in how the claims would have to be submitted so you don't end up being asked to pay more than one deductible for the incident and state that as your intent right up front.

Other than the potential for failure to meet the expected lifespan, you'd probably have to jump through major (read: expensive) hoops to prove that they're performing in substandard fashion although for an electric range or oven that can make a monumental difference in whether or not the appliance meets the need it was purchased for. (If that's the case, you might look up or mention 'frustration of purpose' as a legal option to pursue.) Just my $.02, not a professional, exhaustive commentary.

Also, Sparky's 100% right.

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#7669 - 02/14/02 08:20 PM Re: Not an electrician, but need questions answered, please.
Elzappr Offline
Member

Registered: 12/20/01
Posts: 273
Loc: Oregon
Please keep in mind that just the 120V devices or appliances are affected by the loose neutral..including the 120V motor on your dryer.

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#7670 - 02/15/02 05:49 AM Re: Not an electrician, but need questions answered, please.
Clove Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/14/02
Posts: 3
Thank you all very much.

I admit that I petrified of electricity, and admire those that work with it. My husband is much more knowledgeable about it than I.

When the shared neutral occured, it happened while I was home alone, light bulbs blew up, the toaster was arcing, the tv sparking and smoking, and the computer was stuck rebooting.

I shut the main breakers off in the old house and new house we are building behind it, but the electricity kept coming in. By then I was SCARED. LOL!

Anyway, It's frustrating to say the least, dealing with the insurance company. Unfortunately for us it happened a week after tornados came through the area (Iowa), and the adjuster was swamped and in a terrible mood.

Our electrician is a really neat guy, I spoke with him more yesterday, and he said he will speak again with the insurance company.

Thanks again, I sure appreciate it!

Clove

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#7671 - 02/15/02 08:36 PM Re: Not an electrician, but need questions answered, please.
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
Clove,

Do you live in a highly populated area with a city water system? The reason I ask is that if you do, and it is an all metallic system the utility may be counting on your service being solidly bonded to it. This would create a backup of sorts in the event of a lost neutral on their supply to your house. I have heard of the local utility refusing to pay a claim because of this. The reasoning is basically, if your system was properly connected and maintained there would not have been such a fluctuation and resulting loss.

Good Luck,
Bill

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#7672 - 02/15/02 08:41 PM Re: Not an electrician, but need questions answered, please.
SPARKSALOT Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/01
Posts: 29
Loc: Omak, WA, USA
Clove, turn the legal thing around on them. File a small claim against the electric company. Ask the electrician to, on a notorized letter, clearly enumerate his qualifications and state the damage he believes has happened. Then go to court. Likely, the electric company will not show up and you will win by default. Most likely though, they will pay the damages to avoid the legal cost.
Don

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#7673 - 02/16/02 07:50 AM Re: Not an electrician, but need questions answered, please.
Clove Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/14/02
Posts: 3
We live in the country at the end of the line. We had a new transformer put in a couple of years back so my husband could run his welder. The day it happened was a pretty windy day. The elec. company says it is not their responsibility as they were not working on the equipment at the time, and this occurance is considered normal wear and tear.

Every once in awhile the transformer wails like a siren, not really loud, but loud enough to get our attention while outside. Is this normal?

thanks again!

Clove

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#7674 - 02/16/02 08:10 AM Re: Not an electrician, but need questions answered, please.
Frank Cinker Offline
Member

Registered: 07/29/01
Posts: 317
Loc: Pennsylvania
I live in Pittsburgh, PA. The local electric power company is Duquesne Light. Click on the following web page. http://www.duquesnelight.com/connections/esir01.htm
At the very bottom of page the power company releases itself from all liability. I may be reading it wrong. If it's legal, I would imagine most power companies across the Nation would include the same language to avoid litigation.

[This message has been edited by Frank Cinker (edited 02-16-2002).]

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#7675 - 02/21/02 04:02 PM Re: Not an electrician, but need questions answered, please.
circuit man Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/01
Posts: 287
Loc: saluda,s.c.
do you mean a loud hum?not a siren sound. if you mean hum this could be normal psrt of the transformer loading.

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