Ownership of Burried Service Cable 15kv

Old 04-13-03, 08:42 AM
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Ownership of Burried Service Cable 15kv

We had an ice storm in northern New York and a 7 unit all electric apartment building I own lost power for a day and a half.

Power was restored but went down a day and a half later. The problem is a short in an 18-23 year old 250' direct burrial aluminium 15kv service cable from a pole to a 7.5kva transformer.

There is a 25' run of buried cables from the transformer to the main panel in the building with 8 meters providing 240bolt single phase power.

So... The power company is a municipialy owned utility that serves 14,000 customers. It says that the 15kv cable is mine and I will be charged $3k for its replacement.

How do I find out if this is correct?

As well, the "all risk" insurance coverage won't be covering the work or the generator used to power the building until the present.

It would cost $2k to dig 8' down through macadam to
uncover the short and splice it. I figure this is not money well spent.

The policy says if something "wears out" then they don't pay. If there is a short, they pay only for fire damage, not wire replacement. (All risk?)

Any experience with this situation?

Thanks for the help.
Old 04-13-03, 09:49 AM
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That is not a new installation and I would tend to believe that since it is ahead of the meter it is the property of the power company. They would be required to maintain it. I would call them again and while you are at it ask them for the phone number of the state public utillity commission.
Old 04-13-03, 01:57 PM
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Who owns the transformer? If you do then it is your wire and you are responsible for its repair. If the power company does then they might be responsible.
Old 04-13-03, 02:08 PM
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Drewsaum I live in Rochester, yes it was quite the storm not quite like the last though. About your question, yes you are responsible for it. You are responsible from the service point to your panelboard. If this was an overhead service the service point is usually located right where the overhead wires meet with the wires that come down the side of your house. In an underground install itís from the Power Companyís (Fairport Electric) pad mounted transformer. If you own the transformer, the service point is at the POCOís pole. As for you insurance I donít know
Old 04-13-03, 07:51 PM
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Thanks for the good info! - especially pier14's Rochester perspective.

So.. Fairport Electric is acting as though I own the transformer, though they own the only key to it as far as I know.

I purchased the property "used" so I don't know the arrangements when the building was powered.

How do you get to own a transformer?
How do you determine who owns a transformer?
Is transformer ownership common for apartments?

Old 04-15-03, 11:18 AM
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I really don't have anything to add other than a couple of points and questions:

Large Pad-Mounted Transformers usually have a nameplate label that displays ownership.

You said the short was between the pole and the transformer, not between the transformer and the apartment complex. Even if you did own the transformer, wouldn't the power company own the supply side wire? That leads me to the "pole". What is at the pole? Could the pole be the divide between power company and customer?

Power companies often supply overhead power at no charge, but charge for underground drops unless the maintenance and installation of the overhead drop makes the underground drop cheaper. For instance, it is cheaper to run an underground drop through a heavily wooded area than it is to run overhead. Could they replace the underground drop with an overhead drop at no charge? This would probably entail setting an additional pole adjacent to the transformer and running down the pole to go underground. In other words, they may be charging for the underground run only because they could do it cheaper with an alternative method.

Look around for other similar installations and ask the owners how it is handled. I would think if you "own" the wire, then you own the transformer which probably means you would be leasing it from the power company and would be paying a monthly charge which should show up on your bill.

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