In what cases can green be reidentified as neutral?

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  #1  
Old 05-31-13, 07:32 PM
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In what cases can green be reidentified as neutral?

In doing some wiring around here today in various buildings, I see that when the local poco did my new meter loop and two service entrances weeks ago, in both cases (two separate crews, two separate days) they used green THHN for the neutral. This is obviously normal SOP for them. The latest crew was nice enough to reidentify the conductors in the load centers. The first crew did not bother to do so.

Size is #4 and #6. These are small conductors.

From memory, I didn't think this was legal. No, I'm not too lazy to dig through the code myself, but tonight I have to get back at the wiring itself before it gets dark. I just thought someone might know off the top of their head. Regardless, I would want a second opinion before I question them about it, even if my reading of the code gave me an answer.

I'm not going to get my panties in a bind even if it wasn't legal, but considering they refused to do certain things for me based on liability reasons I think it would be cute to throw this back at them.
 
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Old 05-31-13, 07:55 PM
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POCO is not subject to NEC.
 
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Old 05-31-13, 08:04 PM
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POCO is not subject to NEC.
Now there's an answer I wasn't expecting. Even on customer-owned equipment?

I'm actually quite speechless. I suppose if someone asks me why there's no ground rod present at 'x' location I can say "the POCO did that entrance, and they didn't think it was necessary".

Wow. I can save a lot on materials this way.
 
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Old 05-31-13, 10:40 PM
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It is true that electrical utilities are not subject to the National Electrical Code but they ARE subject to the National Electrical Safety Code. Generally, the closest an electrical utility would come to working on customer-owned equipment would be the line-side lugs on a meter base served from an underground conduit. I cannot think of anything a utility might be doing on customer premises that would involve running neutral or equipment grounding conductors with one possible exception.

IF you have a large service, 400 amperes or larger, you might have a current transformer enclosure and transformer meter. Even then, most often it is the electrical contractor, not the utility, that wires the meter base and everything downstream of the current transformers.

Could you elaborate on just what the utility was doing?
 
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Old 05-31-13, 11:14 PM
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Could you elaborate on just what the utility was doing?
Sure. This is all paid work by me, and it's a co-op. I probably should have said that in the OP but it would have spoiled the effect. I guess that strategy backfired.

At any rate: *From the meter* I have overhead triplex going all over, to several buildings. I say again, this was on my own dime and I was paying them for everything. This time, they were asked to do two service entrances. For each building: From the triplex to the weatherhead and on down, they ran 2 blacks and a green. The green THHN is crimped in a WR159 onto the bare aluminum of the triplex. So in the 1" PVC conduit down to the load center for each AG building is two blacks and one green. The green is a neutral. #6. I have a green going into my neutral bar in the "big place". I may need to seek counseling?

Now look guys, I'm not looking for what's "legal" or not, I'm just saying is it "right". If green can't be reidentified in a res load center then the poco "shouldn't" be doing it either. And the fact that green is hanging out of the weatherhead just bothers me all the more.
 
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Old 06-01-13, 01:30 AM
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Let me see if I understand what you have. The utility power conductors come to a central (more or less) "power pole" and directly to the meter. You also have "feeders" (not services) from the power pole to numerous buildings. Correct? Do each of these feeders to the other buildings have a disconnecting means at the power pole? Is the disconnecting means a circuit breaker panel fed directly from the meter with a circuit breaker for each of the feeders or do you have several fused disconnect switches that are individually fed from the meter?

The term SERVICE has a very distinct meaning in electrical work. It means the wires from the point where the utility's conductors end to the first overcurrent protective device or disconnect. Generally that means the wires from the weatherhead, through the conduit to the meter and on to the main circuit breaker in the service panel. The term FEEDER means any circuit that originates in one circuit breaker panel and serves another circuit breaker panel. A BRANCH CIRCUIT runs from a circuit breaker to a point of direct utilization.

When you write "triplex" do you mean a cable with two insulated conductors and a bare "messenger" or suspension strand? Or do you mean a cable with three insulated conductors along with a bare messenger?

IF the panels in these various buildings are 240/120 volt single phase then the NEC requires that they have FOUR conductors; two "hot", a neutral and an equipment grounding conductor. In addition, the panel must have the neutral isolated from the enclosure and the equipment grounding bus must be "bonded" to the enclosure. There must also be at least one grounding electrode buried in the earth and connected to the panel with not less than a #6 copper conductor assuming that the panel is fed from a circuit breaker of 200 amperes or less. Several years ago it was acceptable to use only three conductors provided there wire no other metallic sources (telephone wiring, water piping, etc.) running to the separate building but that exception has been deleted.

If I am correctly envisioning what you have, there are definitely deficiencies in the work you have had done, at least in accordance with the NEC. Further, the NEC DOES apply to anything past the point where the utility's wires connect to the customer's wires, regardless of who does the work.

(CYA exemption: ALL codes are local. The NEC has no power of enforcement unless and until it is enacted into law by a local or regional legislative body. The enabling legislation may add to or delete from the model code. The ONLY code you need to comply with is the one enforced by your local jurisdiction.)
 
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Old 06-01-13, 11:37 AM
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If this is one meter on a pole with triplex feeders to the buildings that go directly into subpanels, then it's totally wrong - not just in the color of the neutral, but in that as Furd said subpanels require four wire service. If each building is metered separately and the pole is merely serving as a 'fanout' point for the services (the triplex drops DO NOT come from the load side of a meter and service disconnect), then it's acceptable.

Since they were hired to do the services of a residential electrician, they are required to follow whatever code has been adopted by your AHJ, and if the AHJ requires it they must pull permits and have inspections performed.
 
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Old 06-01-13, 12:05 PM
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*From the meter* I have...
Interesting. So You're saying these overhead conductors were installed on your side of the meter? None of the seven or more jurisdictions I work in, including the co-op that serves the town I live in, would do this work, even if the customer was offering to pay for it. They hand over responsibility for all wiring at the transformer for underground feeds or where the triplex is attached to the structure. They will verify that the underground feed to the CT cabinet meets specs and terminate it to the transformer, or they will pull to the meter base for UG res service. Overhead, they will splice the triplex to the owner-supplied wiring in the SE cable or mast. The only other thing I've ever seen them do is disconnect the GEC bond in the CT cabinet. Every time. We reconnect the bond as soon as they leave, of course. Can't pass without it.

Anyway, long story short, all that wiring they did for you is your responsibility, not theirs. What did the inspector say about it, JOC?

If having the green wire there is really threatening to get your panties in a wad or drive you to the couch, you could always paint it white. No, not with house paint. With white liquid electrical tape.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 06-01-13 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 06-01-13, 01:45 PM
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Guys, there are NO subpanels anywhere on the property. There are 7 sevice entraces. And yes, I'm quite aware of what a sevice entrance is. I should be getting good at them by now. But I'm not. First one of my own turned out ok I think.

There's no OCPD for the triplex except one of those fuses than jumps out and assaults you on the ground when you blow it. Actually now they updated it and I have a 200A weatherproof breaker box out there with genny interlock, but that's comical since some of the triplex is quite smalll. There's a 24" section of what looks like #6-#-4 to me, running everything on the prop except my hoiuse. That one WILL be melting down, I guar-ron-tee. It's air-coooled though so I'm not too worried. Worst case I see some crispy aluminum.

So You're saying these overhead conductors were installed on your side of the meter?
Yes, yes. From the meter fans ot to several buildings including my house, them farther downstream more fanning out. All my responsibility. All my responsibility to get these friggin H-taps crimped on. Holy Lordie.

Man, you guys have me thinking I'm quite fortunate being able to pay $120/hr for this stuff. Hopefully I can get these entrances done, get them back out here to energize the runs, and chalk it up as done. They wouldn't leave live phase conductors taped up next to a weatherhead, so now I'm stuck having to do all these entrances mysekf. We compromoised and they will come back and do the final H-taps for no trip charge. Still gonna cost me another $120/hr.

What did the inspector say about it
That was a joke, right? I'm out in the middle of nowhere. If I see any inspectors it's going to be between the sights of my shotgun.
 
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Old 06-01-13, 02:12 PM
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Just.. Wow.

You're the one "concerned" about the safety and legality of work, and then you say that you'd shoot an inspector that tried to make sure it was done right - which it obviously hasn't.

You've got a bad attitude, Sonny Jim.
 
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Old 06-01-13, 02:20 PM
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I have nothing against inspectors. ANY trespasser or revenooer would get the same treatment around here,

You're the one "concerned" about the safety and legality of work
Yes I am. That's why I hang out here. I don't need nannies snooping around my house finding my still when I can obviously get the same abuse for free on this forum.
 
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Old 06-01-13, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by core View Post
I have nothing against inspectors. ANY trespasser or revenooer would get the same treatment around here,


Yes I am. That's why I hang out here. I don't need nannies snooping around my house finding my still when I can obviously get the same abuse for free on this forum.
Um. Yeah. Ok. So now that you've publicly admitted to a crime, and the moderators can forward your IP address to the proper authorities, is there other dumb comment you care to make?
 
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Old 06-01-13, 02:37 PM
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Yeah, learn about proxies, Matt. I thought you were here for AC distribution, not a basic course on how to use the internet. Try again.
 
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Old 06-01-13, 02:41 PM
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