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#150729 08/31/05 08:47 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,749
Question from contractor:

Good morning all, I'm getting very frustrated finding a versatile electrical sub. I've used several over the years and about to drop another one. Our work is mostly residential remodel with the occasional commercial remodel. The homes we work on are usually no older than the 50's.

Our electrical contractors are required to have a fair amount of hours before they can sit for the state test.

Currently I have a customer that needs an updated electrical service (it's only a 40 amp service), the wires from the service need to be replaced, and the basement panel is hot wired without a shut off to the service. The homeowner also wants a hook up for a generator installed. It's been difficult to get my current electrician over to get the work started. I know that the utility will be involved, but gosh it can't be that difficult to do.

It seems in my area that electricians don't want to do residential remodels. They only want to do new construction. So here I sit with plenty of work, but having a hard time getting any electrician interested. Other re modelers in my area face the same problems.

So my questions are:

1. How do you get an electrician interested in doing residential remodels? (We even allow them to bill on T&M, so I don't think it's the money.)

2. What questions do I need to ask to determine if they have the knowledge to do what we need?

I have to say that of all the trades we sub to, electricians seem to be the most finicky. Is it my imagination?

Answer from an electrician?:

As far as your service upgrade goes you should be fine, work with the feeders live.

I just call the Power Company to remove the ring. If they don't come out, I take it off myself. As far as working with the main feeders live, I don't see a problem as long as you know what your doing. If you have an overhead service drop, you can always have free power temporarily until the power company comes. Just hook up an outlet and run power from their lines. Usually the power company doesn't have a problem with me doing that. When you work with underground just insulate with tape to be safe. And if you need to cut the conduit just stick another stick of smaller conduit to cut around it so you don't nick the wires. Thats just how I do it.

[This message has been edited by Joe Tedesco (edited 08-31-2005).]

Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant
Arc Flash PPE Clothing, LOTO & Insulated Tools
#150730 08/31/05 10:33 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,411
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
I don't know where that answer/ advice was posted- but I think the guy is using the title "electrician" a little too freely!

A certain anount of "live" work is inherent in doing a service change- namely, disconnecting and re-connecting the utility feed. It doesn't sound like this is what the guy is referring to, though.
Breaking the utility seal yourself is questionable even where it is possible; most places have special locking rings, and an ordinance making posession of a "key" a crime.

Now, I've often wanted power to be available when I do a service change, and I've considered many things to make this possible- but tapping a 20 amp receptacle directly off the PoCo lines has never occurred to me.

The fact is, service changes are real work. There are also, invariably, other code issues to be dealt with. A permit is usually required. For these reasons, I am uncomfortable with folks doing their own service changes.

#150731 09/01/05 08:00 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 706
It's much safer to run a generator for power than connecting an outlet to the POCO lines. I work live with overhead, but have the POCO disconnect when it's underground. This is by their choice. If I had my way they'd disconnect for overhead also.


#150732 09/01/05 01:26 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
In my area we are not allowed to touch the meter seal, nor cut the overhead lines unless HECO is standing right there and directs us to do it. Exception is when there is any real emergency and HECO does not have any personel available, we would be allowed to disconect ahead of the service main at the service drop, or else pull a meter .

#150733 09/02/05 05:24 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,443
Likes: 3
I have to say that of all the trades we sub to, electricians seem to be the most finicky. Is it my imagination?
Could it be because Electricity has the potential to kill people or the menial fact that it can burn a house down?
Have a plumbing leak and all you get is wet or have a huge stink (if it is the sewage system that fails).
Over here, you certify your own work, as in, you inspect it yourself, if you muck up, it's on your head alone, you also have to put it in writing on a Certificate of Compliance, which is a legal document, that if you sign it, you state that all of the work you did complies with the current Regulations.
Hence the need for reliable testing.
As far as service changes go, that would be a PoCo job here, at least to the meters, EC's are not allowed to touch our metering gear.
Thier work starts and ends at the Consumers Main Switch.

#150734 09/02/05 12:23 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 246
Joe, it seems to me that not only is this guy scary, but he doesn't even answer the contractor's questions. Possibly he does not have a clue about the hazards, when he knows he has done it before, with no problems. When he does have a problem, he won't be answering questions anymore.

My advise to the contractor with the questions?

It's tough to get electricians interested in these types of jobs. It's hard work and the working conditions are unknown.

Word of mouth seems to be the best way to find out if someone is compentent.

Visit with the local electrical supply houses to see if the can recommend anyone doing this type of work. A visit with the local inspector could turn up leads as well.

Make sure that the pay is equal to the job, or the electricians will quit doing these type of jobs.

Rick Miell

#150735 09/02/05 12:29 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,749
Thanks Rick! Your commnets are appreciated.

Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

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