Friday, November 30, 2012

More bad wiring

For the last couple of weeks we have had  power on two of the three power lines and the third only has a few volts registering on it.  The meter that was installed several months ago requires that all three phases have a minimum voltage or it cuts off all power to the house.  That means we've had to be on the generator all this time.  For a number of days I had been calling one of the phone numbers to report power problems and had promises of "someone will come out and check."  When there had been similar problems about a month ago there had been an occasional response and power on one or the other problem line was restored.  But after no response now for a couple of weeks, I went in to the office where you buy "pre-paid units" to feed the meter and asked if the power company (Bo-Kenema Power Service or BKPS) was simply cutting back on which lines had power.  The person there told me power should be on all three phases but the problem was because we were mixing copper and aluminum wiring and that I would have to have the landlord take care of it.  (Fat chance of that happening!  The landlord had two year's rent paid up front when the house had been arranged for us and has had absolutely no incentive to ever fix anything.)  When I got home I looked to see where there might be a copper to aluminum connection.  It turns out the wiring is continuous from the overhead power lines to the meter.

But I did look a bit closer at the "connections" at the overhead power lines.  Here is what I found.

3 lines, 3 power phases.  The top wire isn't connected very well.

Close up of the top wire.

The insulation is color coded, blue, yellow and orange and I could see that the orange wire that had a low voltage at the meter was the wire that was "connected" to the top power line.  I recalled that when the new pre-paid meter was installed the utility workers had disconnected the wiring from the power lines (even though there was a breaker at the house!)  They just never properly reconnected one of the wires.  They just wrapped it around the main power line a few times!

Monday I hope to see the BKPS Technical Director to see if someone can come out and more firmly attach the wire.

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