How to shut down power in a commercial setting?

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Old 06-15-16, 06:05 AM
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How to shut down power in a commercial setting?

I'm installing some lights in a home that is shared with a storefront. First floor is a store and second floor is where the apartment is. The light that I'm working on has a cable running from the store front. I need to shut the power down but how can I with the store in operation? How is something like this usually done?
 
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Old 06-15-16, 06:08 AM
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Locate the circuit breaker that controls that lights' circuit. Then only turn off that breaker. Power will remain on everywhere else but everything on that circuit will be dead. If people/strangers will have access to the breaker panel when you are working consider taging or locking it out to prevent someone from turning the power back on while you're working.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 06:13 AM
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Yes but I don't think the store will let me touch their circuit breakers. Besides there's probably a goodhandful of them in there, they're not going to let me run back forth as I shut off the power one by one to test.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 06:17 AM
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Shut Off Power

Pilot Dane gave you the correct procedure. Just do it.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 06:20 AM
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What do you mean just do it? I'm telling you the business won't let me come anywhere close to their electrical.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 08:49 AM
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If you cannot safely shut off the power you cannot add the wiring.

Your wiring should not be on the store panel.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 08:54 AM
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In most areas sharing electrical between separate units is illegal unless the landlord pays the utilities and provides on site maintenance. You need to have the property owner fix this so you have control of your breaker panel.

There is no way to do what you want without turning off and locking out that breaker. Given that it's a commercial property your state law also probably requires the work be done by a licensed electrician.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 09:34 AM
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It probably is illegal. The owner has a tenant living on the second floor, and the tenant doesn't want to pay the electric on her hall light, they just want me to leech if off the store. But it's only a very small cfl lighbulb.

What if I just turn the switch off? When I check with my multi it reads 0.1v when the switch is off, is that reasonably safe?
 
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Old 06-15-16, 10:15 AM
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Kill the power before the power kills you.

Personally, I would tell the tenant the approximate cost of running a low wattage CFL and to live with it.

If you are charging for your service, your labor estimate should be considerably higher than the electric cost of that bulb.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 01:07 PM
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I am sorry, but it does not sound like you are qualified to do this job. There is too much liability on commercial work.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 01:16 PM
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What if I just turn the switch off? When I check with my multi it reads 0.1v when the switch is off, is that reasonably safe?
It is safe only if there are no other live circuits in the junction box.

If you know what you are doing and careful, you can work with live wire, which I do time to time, BUT! I cannot recommend doing so for your own safety.
Also, if you knew how to safely (relatively) with live circuit, then you probably won't be asking this question. So, don't touch if are not 100% confident.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 01:17 PM
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I agree to much libality for you to do this. One can of worms I would not get involved with.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 02:22 PM
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OSHA rules prohibit live work with very few exceptions. Adding new work is not one of them.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 04:20 PM
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Allright, thanks for everyone's input. I don't feel comfortable working with live electricity nor do I have any tools for it.

I don't think it's the only live circuit in the box. So how dangerous is it exactly, I mean there should be no current in the wire right? Or are you saying the switch might fail? What is the likelyhood of that? I've never had a switch failing to on position and the light suddenly turning on.

As on qualifications, it's a very simple job. I just have to piggy back one lamp on to the other. So the whole job is literally splicing 3 cables together.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 04:46 PM
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A trained electrician could survey the situation and identify the risks. None of us can see the wiring in your building so we have no idea. It sounds like you have minimal electrical training or experience and no tools so it would be irresponsible for us to advise you to proceed. Whether or not a wire/conductor "should" be off is irrelivent. The person doing the work needs to test and make sure the power is off and stays off while working.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 10:46 PM
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the tenant doesn't want to pay the electric on her hall light, they just want me to leech if off the store. But it's only a very small cfl lightbulb.
I came in late and everything has just about been covered..... but you're kidding me right ?
If it's that big of a deal have it deducted from the rent.
 
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Old 06-15-16, 11:58 PM
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I read up on it some more, since you guys couldn't give me a direct answer and it appears that even with the switch off you can still get shocked by the neutral wire and some fixtures have hot running directly into them. So yeah, I won't be doing that. I'll see if I can actually get to the breaker.

@PJmax
Yea that's right. To be fair it's a hall light, so I don't think it should be her responsibility, in my building the landlord pays for the light above the staircase and hall. And the light has to be on 24/7 so it does run up the costs.
 
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Old 06-16-16, 12:05 AM
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Actually with multiple tenants there should be a house meter and panel with the owner paying that meter's bill.

if you are not a licensed listened electrician you should not be doing any work in a mixed use building even with the owners permission.
 
 

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