Posted by daestrom on August 22, 2005, 9:56 pm
Our utility, NationalGrid (formerly NiagaraMohawk) has a 'little' trailer of
a mockup of a couple of poles and typical service entrance they use for
training various volunteer fire departments, rescue squads and such. They
come to your parking lot, set things up, have a *real* line crew go through
all the safety precautions and stuff.
Then they show the fireman how a fireman's 'rubber' boot is absolutely
*useless* for electrical protection by drawing a 4160 arc thru it to ground.
They put a live line across a 'car' (and old klunker they bring with them)
and show the arc when they attempt to ground the frame so rescue squads can
understand the risks of touching a car trapped by a live line.
And one little part of the demonstration is a little 3000 watt homelite
portable generator fed into the 'residential service' panel. They
disconnect the normal supply, and with just this little portable unit
running, supplying a couple of light-bulbs in the 'service panel', and
backfeeding to the 'pole pig' and such. Then they proceed to use a hot
stick to try and connect a ground clamp on the 4160 line. As you might
expect, the 'arc and sparks' are impressive (when seen from a distance).
The lineman was able to draw a couple of feet long arc and sustain it for
almost 30 seconds while the generator just buzzed along.
Depending where a break is, and the surrounding T&D lines, a 'little
portable generator' can be quite a hazard. And all it takes is one screw up
and the homeowner will find themselves paying lawyers for years. That's why
the NEC and CEC require the types of disconnects they do.
Posted by Dale Farmer on August 31, 2005, 8:28 pm
I think that the solution for these is to prosecute the illegal generator
users for murder and sending them to jail for a bunch of years. It wasn't
an accident, they knowingly and negligently hooked up the thing.
Posted by daestrom on August 31, 2005, 9:55 pm
Only a couple of problems here. Chances are good that it wouldn't be a
lineman that is killed, but rather someone else. And if that someone dies
from electrocution from a downed power line, hard to prove whether it was
utility electrons, or home-generator electrons. Then prove that the
arrogant home-generator owner *knew* he had violated code, with total
disregard for the safety of others. Get that far, and you've got a case
Posted by Solar Flare on August 31, 2005, 11:29 pm
Everybody driving a car fits that same bill. They knew they could cause an
accident and still knowing continued to power the vehicle.
Posted by daestrom on September 1, 2005, 12:02 am
Not exactly. Driving a car is not a flagrant violation of laws enacted to
ensure safety. And driving a car doesn't result in an accident all the
But *if* you have an accident, and *if* its a direct result of willfully
acting in an unsafe manner, and *if* it results in a death, then *yes* you
can be charged with 'vehicular manslaughter'. It does happen on occasion
with a repeat DWI offender that kills someone while driving drunk.