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#184679 02/18/09 01:04 AM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 7
New Member
I had a customer call and ask if I would check his apt's
for damage from a 12.5 kv line that fell on his roof.(poco cross arm rotted off) This is a steel building with high voltage lines running over the roof within 6 feet.
Does any one know the legal clearance these lines would be allowed?

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,349
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
PoCo rules would apply ... oddly enough, ours wants 20 ft.

Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 7
New Member
Thank's for the reply, the poco will not tell me the clearance they must keep their lines.
There was a person painting this same roof 9 months ago that was electrocuted,caught on fire and fell from the roof.

Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 368
I came across this link with suggested minimum clearences in it.

A couple of other sites recomend at least 10 ft clearence as well.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,349
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
"the poco will not tell me"
"There was a person"

Those two phrases speak volumes!

The PoCo, as an entity having 'eminent domain,' is sure to have their rules available to the public. They can't avoid it, since they need to reveal them in order to enforce their right to access, etc.

Not that this little detail has ever prevented private property owners from infringing upon the PoCo's easements! Naturally, decades later someone starts wailing when a line crew removes a beloved tree, or damages a trespassing fence.

There are rules and procedures for working around lines. If nothing else, OSHA rules would have addressed the matter. Had they been asked, the PoCo would have gladly wrapped the lines in protective blankets.

Once the lawyers get involved, all bets are off. It sounds like someone is trying to make the case that this accident was somehow the fault of the PoCo. Often seen as an unlimited source of funds, PoCo's are ready targets for all manner of spurious claims. With litigation involved, the PoCo isn't going to tell you anything outside the court's rules of discovery.

I also note two distinctly different stories: a crossarm failed, and someone was painting. There's something very wrong with having both stories; you sure would not get me to paint a metal roof when a broken crossarm had a wire dangling nearby!

Sometimes, bad things happen - and it's nobody's "fault." For example, things break - especially when 'public interest' groups constantly whittle away at the PoCo's efforts to maintain the system. Ralph Nader would be the first to chide the PoCo for 'unnecessary repair expenses;' maybe someone should sue him!

I can't say I've ever seen a steel building used for apartments, either. When you say 'steel building,' my imagination pictures something 20 - 25 ft. high. Other terms (powered lift, fall protection, etc.) start coming to mind. 6 ft clearance is plenty to prevent accidental contact - unless the guy grabbed the line to prevent a fall.

I wouldn't want to have anything to do with this albatross.

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 984
Likes: 1
I'd take 225.61 as a good starting point, although I'd increase it to whatever the local utility said that they wanted.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,313
Likes: 7
POCO's here abide by the NESC which I do not have a copy of.

Whatever POCO is at the location, someone should be able to get the code/standard they follow. No offense to any of my friends in PA, but some areas were like the 'wild west' last time I crossed the river.

I can't say I've seen any utility power lines crossing any roofs here, let alone 6'.

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 482
Sounds like the PoCo is trying to cover their butts, as usual. If a person on the roof can reach the lines, I would assume negligence on the part of the PoCo and/or whomever OK'd the clearances between the building and the lines. PoCos are usually major corporations now, and act as such when trying to deny their inherent lack of good judgment.

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