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#200087 03/20/11 06:00 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 764
KJay Offline OP
So, very early this morning, I was awakened by a drumming sound coming from outside my second floor bedroom window. I jumped out of bed and threw on some clothes while hoofing it down the stairs and out the door. I look up and I see this little black and white woodpecker about 6" long, pecking away on my service cable. I shooed him away, but the little bugger had already punched a hole, dead center, right through the outer PVC jacket.
I filled the hole he made with silicone as a temporary repair, but now it looks like I have yet another project to do when the weather warms up, that being changing my service. I think now I will probably switch from SE cable to PVC pipe and wire.
After almost 30-years in the trade, I canít say Iíve ever heard of, or seen a woodpecker attacking SE cable before, until now. Is this something that happens often in some areas?
Do you go out of your way to avoid using SE cables because of situations like this?

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Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,158
I am glad we dont have such a cable in Canada smile

Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 265
Never heard of a woodpecker attacking an SE cable. I do go out of my way to not use SE at all. Unless a customer refuses to have it on their house, I always install a mast. The big enemy here seems to be UV radiation, it degrades the outer jacket, and when it cracks water wicks into the meter base which is never good.


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Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,958
Likes: 34
Usually a woodpecker only goes after something if they see a bug in there so it may have already been compromised.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,462
Likes: 3
Cat Servant
Woodpeckers are misunderstood. Here's why they peck:

They will zero in on anything cylinrdical, thinking it's a tree, branch, or root. Their first few pecks are intended to make sound; they're listening for an echo that tells them there's a hollow space under the bark. They will then drill a series of holes, until they catch up to the bug that made the tunnel.

That's what the woodpecker is following - the gap between the outer jacket and the conductors. They'll also be fooled by dry / empty irrigation tubing.

Article 110 states that wires need to be protected from mechanical damage. IMO, this general provision trumps any general provision that mights say, for example, that SE can be used for service drops. I maintain that if woodpeckers are a problem -as evidenced by the damage to the wires - code would require additional protection for the wires. Simply using an 'approved' method isn't automatically enough to meet 110. That's my take.

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 943
Likes: 2
Originally Posted by dougwells
I am glad we dont have such a cable in Canada smile

I am glad SE cable is not in PG&E's Greenbook as allowed for a service, whistle so it is not used anymore any existing SE cable is 50-60 years old.

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,392
wouldn't s/he be an electricalpecker?


Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,233
I never had a woodpecker bother any electrical work, but squirrels on the other hand would always chew my plastic drip irrigation pipe. When I first turn them on for the season, there is water shooting out every where.

Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 613
Doug We do have SE in Canada but can't use it for an OH service. See Table 19 page 311 Fro service entry below ground. Need mechanical protection above ground.

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,158
Thanks Mikesh, I do remember a USE cable years ago but some how i thought is was restricted to mobile home parks at that time hmmm

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