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View Diary: ALERT: High Risk For Destructive Derecho/Tornadoes Today From Iowa to Ohio, Maybe Further East (120 comments)

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  •  Buried lines are often worse in a storm, as (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weatherdude, Dragon5616, argomd

    underground line failures in residential areas are fixed last.   My family was without power for eight days after Irene because the underground line feeds our house failed when BGE brought the overhead transmission path back on-line.  

    The wire concentric that jackets a 7500 Volt underground power line has a finite lifespan (less than thirty years).  The wire concentric serves as neutral in the AC voltage transmission path. Below the wire concentric lies a semi-conducting outer layer that serves as neutral after the wire concentric corrodes. The semi-conducting layer cannot handle the high inductive surge currents that occur when power is restored and HVAC compressors kick back on.  The surge causes what looks like a .22 caliber bullet hole to form in the non-conductive layer that surrounds the center conductor and the semi-conducting layer than surrounds the non-conductive layer, which, in turn, causes a short to form between the center conductor and Earth ground.  This short trips protection devices in the transformers, resulting in the loss of power.  Power cannot be restored until the underground short has been located and repaired. Repairing an underground line takes at least half a day because it involves using a backhoe and a specially-equipped truck that contains a device known as a "thumper" to locate the failure.  

    Most power companies have a multi-failure rule for underground power distribution cable replacement.  BGE’s rule is that the cable has to suffer three failures before it is eligible to be replaced.  We were without power for eleven days in a little over a year due to two failures in the same distribution underground distribution cable. We lost power for an entire weekend during the summer of 2010 due to a failure in the underground cable, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky (BGE did not have an underground line team working in our area that weekend).  The only reason why BGE replaced the line last summer is because we made huge public stink about losing power for eight days after Irene and three days during a bright and sunny weekend in the summer of 2010 due to failures in the same power cable.

    In the end, luckily, my wife and I had reached the point where we no longer trusted BGE to provide us with reliable power after the summer of 2010 weekend outage and had a licensed electrician install generator transfer switch in house (we had experienced multiple extended outages in less than a decade).  No power in a house with a well pump means no running water.  No running water in a house becomes a public health issue after flush water that was stored before a storm is depleted.  We were able to run our well pump and several of the electrical circuits in our house from a backup generator during eight days that BGE took restore service after Irene.

    •  It is due to that public health issue (0+ / 0-)

      that we keep, in addition to a working compost pile, two bright orange buckets, one of which is filled with wood shavings, two lids, and a Luggable Loo seat.

      When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

      by Alexandra Lynch on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 12:56:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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