Covering load center lugs

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  #1  
Old 03-22-06, 01:23 PM
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Covering load center lugs

My power company ran permanent power to my meter today before I had added all the circuits to the load center. They were not scheduled until next week. The wires from the meter box to the load center are already there, but the concern I have is with the lugs in the load center. Can they be temporarily covered to reduce the chance of me accidentally touching them? Would electrical tape be sufficient?

Thanks

Brian
 
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  #2  
Old 03-22-06, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by bbarnhart
They were not scheduled until next week.
Was the inspection already done??

> the concern I have is with the lugs in the load center.
> Can they be temporarily covered to reduce the chance of me
> accidentally touching them? Would electrical tape be sufficient?
Yes and yes. Tape will prevent shock from simple contact.
You can leave it there when you are done.

Tape does not protect you from poking a wire or a tool around the lug.

I commend you for keeping the main turned off while you work in the panel and recognizing that some parts are still energized.
 
  #3  
Old 03-22-06, 02:00 PM
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The inspection was done, but when I called the power company for permanent service, they said it would be next week before they came out. For some reason they showed up today. I don't have a cut-off mechanism beside the load center main breakers. Thanks
 
  #4  
Old 03-22-06, 02:17 PM
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Did they put a lock-tag on the meter box?
 
  #5  
Old 03-22-06, 02:54 PM
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I trimmed a flexible clear plastic container lid to fit around the incoming 4/0 and main breaker to cover the lugs. I taped it in place using electrical tape around the breaker and wire.

Although obviously not rated for this purpose, my lid kept errant screwdrivers, fish tapes, wires and fingers away from the lugs. In other words, it worked for me but I was still very cautious.
 
  #6  
Old 03-22-06, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bbarnhart
The inspection was done, but when I called the power company for permanent service, they said it would be next week before they came out.
Same story here, except they say, "it could be next week". Showing up the next day is typical. They just don't commit themselves.
 
  #7  
Old 03-22-06, 05:17 PM
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Can they be temporarily covered to reduce the chance of me accidentally touching them? Would electrical tape be sufficient?

With the lugs energized (main breaker equipped panel with meter in place) you would not want to try to put anything over them, too much of a risk of contact. Some panels like square d and cutler hammer are coming out with lug guards just for that very concern of yours.
 
  #8  
Old 03-22-06, 06:57 PM
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The other side of the argument is:
If the lugs are energized, you want to put something over them; otherwise. too much risk of contact.

Personally, if I feel that there is a risk of accidental contact, I'd much rather "risk" a deliberate contact than accidental contact any day.
 
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Old 03-22-06, 07:14 PM
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DID YOU SHUT OFF the main breaker before covering it? So as to leave the buss de-energized.
It's all about risk management!
 
  #10  
Old 03-22-06, 07:14 PM
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I covered the lugs with electrical tape and as you all probably know the lugs are sort of sunk into the main circuit breaker. I made sure tape was "floating" over the lugs and only touching the plastic surrounding them.

There is a lock on the meter box. I think I'll also get a plastic container lid like ArgMeMatey mentioned as another level of precaution. That should keep things from pushing the tape onto the lug.

Thanks
 
  #11  
Old 03-22-06, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by lectriclee
DID YOU SHUT OFF the main breaker before covering it? So as to leave the buss de-energized.
It's all about risk management!
The main breaker was turned off.
 
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Old 03-22-06, 07:29 PM
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Thats A Good Thing!!!!!
 
  #13  
Old 03-23-06, 10:08 AM
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Even then, you'll probably want them to not have power to install this 'safety device'.
Most utilities will give you a meter seal break as long as they don't think you were trying to steal power. Cut the seal and pull the meter (make sure there is NO load on it) and be very carefull with the meter. Don't drop it, etc.

If they ask, just explain that they installed the power before they said they would, and you weren't ready.
 
  #14  
Old 03-23-06, 10:30 AM
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meter is not a disconnect

Why break the seal and pull the meter?
There is less hazard in covering the lugs than in pulling the meter.

If it is hazardous for you to be covering the lugs with non-conductive material, then you do not have the skills for working in the panel or pulling the meter safely at all.

Leave the meter alone. Otherwise you risk needing another inspection of the service.
 
  #15  
Old 03-23-06, 01:01 PM
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I can't pull the meter because if I did it would be dark in the basement. They took the temporary power. I guess I could use a flashlight. I've taped up one load center and I'll also use the plastic lids. Plus, with being extra careful I should be good.
 
  #16  
Old 03-23-06, 04:30 PM
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What if the power company had come along and plugged in the meter while someone was actually working on the panel? Or, what if they plugged it in while the panel was in a bolted short condition? Or was the OP really there and gave the OK despite not being done?
 
  #17  
Old 03-23-06, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Skapare
What if the power company had come along and plugged in the meter while someone was actually working on the panel?
They must take down the temporary power first.

Regardless, it is the duty of anyone working on the panel to lock out power.
So if you have the MAIN turned ON while you are working it cold, you aren't really bright enough to be inside a panel.


> what if they plugged it in while the panel was in a bolted short condition?

Then it should not have passed inspection. Otherwise, the OCPD would open.


> Or was the OP really there and gave the OK despite not being done?

Once a cut-in card goes in to the poco with the inspector's signature, you don't have a real choice.
So yes, there is something odd about the alleged sequence of events.
 
  #18  
Old 03-23-06, 06:10 PM
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i was reading this forum and tell ya the quick point with the POCO they are pretty strict with metering devices.

the standard pratice for rehook up or new service they will " ohm " it first to make sure the breaker is off and no short on the service enternce cable[s].

anyone try to break the meter seal is inviting pretty serouis trouble with POCO unless they call them first before you do anything with it.


if shorted out you better belive it will show fireworks there!!!
i did see it myself been there and done that from household system to big industrial system which it have over 3500 amp at 480 volts [ the larger one will just burn up the pipe like nothing ] due the POCO side is genrally " unfused "

i am not sure what you been doing with service enterace cable and old box i know you try to change over but for wise advise it can get over your head fast .

Merci, Marc
 
  #19  
Old 03-23-06, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by bolide
Regardless, it is the duty of anyone working on the panel to lock out power.
So if you have the MAIN turned ON while you are working it cold, you aren't really bright enough to be inside a panel.
What if they are working on the main breaker itself, and attaching the service feed to it?
Originally Posted by bolide
> what if they plugged it in while the panel was in a bolted short condition?

Then it should not have passed inspection. Otherwise, the OCPD would open.
Or it could be intentionally shorted much the same way POCO linemen short out the MV distribution lines when they are working on them. I would hope they would ohm test the load side before plugging in the meter.
Originally Posted by bolide
> Or was the OP really there and gave the OK despite not being done?

Once a cut-in card goes in to the poco with the inspector's signature, you don't have a real choice.
So yes, there is something odd about the alleged sequence of events.
One should wonder about that sequence of events. In particular, how could the inspection have been final if the work was not complete? And the POCO should not hot anything w/o someone in authority on site giving the OK.
 
  #20  
Old 03-23-06, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by french277V
i was reading this forum and tell ya the quick point with the POCO they are pretty strict with metering devices.

the standard pratice for rehook up or new service they will " ohm " it first to make sure the breaker is off and no short on the service enternce cable[s].
I would hope so. It's their life on the line there. I do know in cases like fast rehooks due to widespread storm damage, a lot of the safety checks get lost in the shuffle. Generators installed by dummies tends to be the greater hazard in such cases, though.

Originally Posted by french277V
anyone try to break the meter seal is inviting pretty serouis trouble with POCO unless they call them first before you do anything with it.
It varies from CO to CO, but on average, they will definitely wonder what is going on. Some POCOs allow certain electricians (perhaps if they sign an agreement with them) to do the meter installs and tagging. Others won't.

Originally Posted by french277V
if shorted out you better belive it will show fireworks there!!!
I've seen quite a light show from a triplex that was overhead of an RV camper that caught fire in some guy's driveway and burned up. And that was just a small pig serving that one. A city block network transformer bank should be spectacular. High voltage is boring compared to high current.
 
  #21  
Old 03-23-06, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Skapare
What if they are working on the main breaker itself, and attaching the service feed to it?
Then the hypothetical person (1) shouldn't have turned in a cut-in card already, and (2) must lock out and tag the meter pan saying DO NOT ENERGIZE.

The poco guy better not cut off my lock or remove my tag to set a meter.


> Or it could be intentionally shorted much the same way POCO linemen short out the
> MV distribution lines when they are working on them.
> I would hope they would ohm test the load side before plugging in the meter.

They should. But worst case, suppose they didn't.
So what?
If you are harmed, that's your fault.


> the POCO should not hot anything w/o someone in authority on site giving the OK.

The cut-in card is the authority. Everything else is courtesy and must not be relied on.
One local poco requests that all mains be open. The other says nothing.
 
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