Hookup before permit inspection on main panel

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  #1  
Old 08-08-14, 03:59 PM
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Hookup before permit inspection on main panel

Question:

I am having my main service panel upgraded from 100A to 200A (and fuse to breaker) as part of a solar install. Yesterday the work was done, and the city came out to inspect, but failed the inspection because the permit was just for the solar system...no permit was pulled for the main panel upgrade (and they had a problem with some wiring). The wiring was fixed, but the city inspector had left...so we did not get a utility release or a closure on the permit.

I was told this by my contractor over the phone. He said he would 'take care of it', and when I got home, I had power. He had his electrician connect everything up and restore power, and said he had rescheduled inspections for 3 days from now.

SO: Is this legal? Can the electrician do that or do I have an illegal hookup right now while my contractor figures out the permit issue?
 
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  #2  
Old 08-08-14, 04:06 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Without knowing exactly what wiring was causing an issue we can't say for sure.

I have had issues where the inspection failed and we had to change wiring. The service remained live, the corrections were made and the jobs re-inspected.

Your electrician should have performed the changes that the inspector requested and if so..... you should be legal but waiting for a final inspection.
 
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Old 08-08-14, 04:33 PM
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The electrician likely hooked up your service with temporary splices. The poco will come back (before or after passed inspection depending on the area) and crimp your connection.

Technically your not supposed to have power before you have a green ticket. The inspector could take offense to that. But just play dumb, its the electricians responsibility dealing with the inspector... its one of the reasons you hired him.

No idea of what is the norm in your area though so anything is fair game.
 
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Old 08-08-14, 05:36 PM
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Thanks...the issue was with the wire from the main panel into the house where the distribution sub panel is. The penetration to the house was within 36" of the gas main, which is a no-no in PG+E territory (or at least in Oakland, CA). So they had to pull that wire and re-run through the garage to a different penetration point before hooking into the new main panel.

The electrician did use temp splices, and he will be the one dealing with the inspector. I'm just kinda wondering if that is a normal thing/allowed or not. I had imagined that electricity can't be turned back on until the city gives the OK, but is that true? Or does a permit just mean the electrician can do what he wants but is taking on all liability until the city gives an OK?
 
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Old 08-08-14, 05:55 PM
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I'm just kinda wondering if that is a normal thing/allowed or not. I had imagined that electricity can't be turned back on until the city gives the OK, but is that true? Or does a permit just mean the electrician can do what he wants but is taking on all liability until the city gives an OK?
Its going to be hard to say as its goes by your area. One place an electrician cannot even pull a meter without the involvement of the utility. Other places anything goes.

Was the power company involved in turning off the service when the work began? Do you have overhead or underground service?

Evidently your area must be relaxed as your humming away with wirenuts on your service and your not sitting in the dark.
 
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Old 08-08-14, 05:58 PM
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Even if the city gives their blessing to the job...... the liability for the job still lies with the electrician. That's why you use a licensed and insured electrician.
 
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Old 08-08-14, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bigboypete View Post
Its going to be hard to say as its goes by your area. One place an electrician cannot even pull a meter without the involvement of the utility. Other places anything goes.

Was the power company involved in turning off the service when the work began? Do you have overhead or underground service?

Evidently your area must be relaxed as your humming away with wirenuts on your service and your not sitting in the dark.
Utility didnt physically remove the meter, but they did have to come and physically disconnect the service (overhead wires were disconnected at the weatherhead and temporarily capped. Those are the wires, which were live, my electrician temporarily reconnected to my house with splices). The permit process here is that on inspection you get a utility release, then the utility has to come out to reconnect power, then you have another final inspection to close permit.

My electrician is now having the city come out Monday to inspect, and utility is scheduled to come out that afternoon with assumption we will have the utility release. We have another city inspection Tuesday. I guess the electrician will remove the splices on Monday before all that happens.

Thanks!
 
  #8  
Old 08-08-14, 08:20 PM
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Every area has different requirements for inspections and timing for a final.

I built a 1650 sf lake home (brick, 2" XPS and concrete block structure with attached garage in an area that had few requirements, but a good arrangement with contractors regarding inspections (preliminary and final) and issuance of permits. I had subcontractors for concrete and masonry, electrical, roofing, septic system but did the interior myself over a few years (I did not call it a home and it was cabin because for about 8 years and I did not have to always take off my boots when constantly going in and out. Fortunately the area is a mix of fully used homes and homes under long term construction.

My building permit was $25 and they never looked at the plans (no local or state building code requirements), but inspections and no permits for electrical, septic (if done by a licensed contractor).

I had an electrical contractor install the 100' underground connection to the underground road service and put in a meter on a post 10' from the garage (construction power). When I got the shell up, he put in a 200 amp panel inside the attached garage and informed the utility I has doing my own interior electrical. About a year later, the utility called and asked to schedule an inspection when there would be someone there.

The inspector showed up and checked out the service panel inside the garage and approved the 1x12 that was installed over the bottom truss cords as a "runner" into the home itself. Inside the inside of the block walls were still exposed with conduit run (I planned to wire and leave the walls uncovered until I was ready to do the finishing). The thing he immediately attacked was my fireplace (brick front) that had a thermostatically controlled 3 speed 2 fan system. He could see the open back of the fireplace because it was a corner and all conduits could be seen. I gave the wiring diagram to an electrician were I worked at and he gave me a sketch of how to wire into place, made the identified conductor labels and cut some lengths of THHN wire for me to install. His only question was "where did you get all the colored THHN?". - That satisfied him immediately.

Next, he went to a couple of the wired boxes on the interior boxes that were supplied through a conduit and all he did was to say "it looks good and everything is OK". I did not tell him I that my 12 year old son made the connections after I ran the conductors through the conduit.

He only looked at 2 interior outlets to check the stapling to the wood studs near the boxes. He never even looked at the 220 wiring from the panel above the bottom cord of the roof trusses or the connection to the back-up under counter water heater that was switched from the wall.

All in all, it was a lot of unneeded fear for a quick inspection, but I had almost a year to get ready for it.

A year or two later, I talked to the electrical contractor and he said it was common because of the time difference between supplying service and they loved to inspect an easy job that looked right. The electrical contractor also mailed me a copy of the approved inspection he got from the inspector.

My septic tank/drainage system for a lake front lot was also fast and I easy. I never saw the septic contractor or inspector, but saw notes, flags, stakes, a test hole dug and sketches for the inspector when I came there to work on week-ends. A week after the system was finished, I got a gold edged certificate from the state health department that listed the tank capacity, distribution box type and size and drain line lengths and materials of the drainage system. That was worth its weight in gold for a lake shore home, especial at 12' above lake level with sandy soil.

Dick
 
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Old 08-08-14, 09:02 PM
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they loved to inspect an easy job that looked right.
The inspectors can judge a job by just looking at how neatly it was done. If the work is haphazard and not neat..... the inspector will pick the job apart.

Not to get too far off topic..... sometimes I'll do work for a homeowner that has pulled his own permit. The inspector comes and asks "you did this work" ? The homeowners will usually say an electrician friend helped me out.
 
  #10  
Old 08-09-14, 04:31 AM
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You really want to see how relaxed they are in your area?

Call up the utility Saturday afternoon and play dumb, tell em your new service has been installed and you think your supposed to call to be hooked back up. I bet a linesmen will be over within a few hours to crimp your overhead service no questions asked.

I wouldn't sweat this one minute.... you'll have a green ticket and a bucket truck in your driveway by Monday night. And on the extremely remote chance some inspector might take offense to the power being back on without his "authority" well its not your problem.... you paid thousands of dollars to the electrician... let him deal with it.

p.s.- Don't pay in full till you have a green ticket either!! Good practice.
 
  #11  
Old 08-09-14, 07:28 AM
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Is this legal? Can the electrician do that or do I have an illegal hookup right now while my contractor figures out the permit issue?
In most areas the AHJ will work closely with the licensed electrical contractors and utility companies when upgrading an existing home's service because they cannot have an inspector stand by while the work takes place and they also realize the homeowner cannot wait 3 days to have their power restored. Utility companies cannot have a man standing by to reconnect a service either and usually allow the contractor to make temporary connections to their system till the final inspection is completed.

the city came out to inspect, but failed the inspection because the permit was just for the solar system...no permit was pulled for the main panel upgrade
I'd have an issue with the electrical contractor who obviously knows a permit is required for a service upgrade, but didn't bother to get the necessary permit. This doesn't speak well of the contractor or his reputation. In some areas the contractor would be subject to a fine by the AHJ.
 
  #12  
Old 08-09-14, 12:39 PM
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I live in CA, and the Inspectors are very picky. However, although this is technically not supposed to happen, they overlook it. The City knows it will take a while to get an Inspector back out and the electrician needs to coordinate with Utilities. They don't expect you to be without power except in extreme cases.
If the Inspector didn't want temp power restored, He would have made that very clear.
 
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