Interlock vs. throwing the main circuit breaker for generator powering a house

RickB

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How do linemen work on dead lines? Do they ground out every line before they touch it? Do they were appropriate PPE when handling it? Sticking a meter only verifies it is dead right now. It doesn't account for anything that may happen in the next instance. I don't know, as I'm not a lineman. All I know is I am required to lock out tag out and verify every circuit I change a light switch, outlet, or ballast on at my employer. What's the procedure for a lineman?

Exactly my point. I don’t know what the proper procedure is for linemen and I’ll wager none of these keyboard jockeys do either. I respect the work utility linemen do in all manner of weather a lot more than some here apparently do. Calling them stupid and acting like somebody that gets injured or killed was asking for it is well beyond the limits of human decency. This thread needs to be closed.
 

KAdams

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What I have found is several blogs/message boards for utility linemen. To a T, they expect homeowners to be idiots and blame any injuries on poor training by the employer of the lineman or lack of discipline in not following proceedures. One that they refer to in '05 says a homeowner came past them and fired up a generator while the lineman was working on a line he was told was grounded out. It wasn't grounded out, and they never proved any homeowner fired up a generator. The line may have touched something else. Regardless, it wasn't grounded out while he was working on it.
I hate to break it to you,but you are incorrect regarding this story from '05.The line was indeed grounded.The homeowner did in fact fire up an illegally wired in generator in which he immediately had removed prior to the investigation.He also admitted in his deposition that he had turned on the generator that he had wired in himself incorrectly and then removed it.I know this to be 100% accurate,because the lineman who was killed due to this homeowners negligence was my father.I was 15 years old when he was killed.My father had been a journeyman lineman for over 20 years.The homeowner was found at fault.I just wanted to inform you that just because you look up an incident that happened,and think you have all the facts of it,you don't.Today would of been my dad's birthday.I just so happened to Google his name and this forum popped up.I had to grow up with out him and my baby brother had to give me away at my wedding.He has had to miss all my big moments thanks to someone who decided to wire in a generator incorrectly.
 

Jstpssng

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I hate to break it to you,but you are incorrect regarding this story from '05.The line was indeed grounded.The homeowner did in fact fire up an illegally wired in generator in which he immediately had removed prior to the investigation.He also admitted in his deposition that he had turned on the generator that he had wired in himself incorrectly and then removed it.I know this to be 100% accurate,because the lineman who was killed due to this homeowners negligence was my father.I was 15 years old when he was killed.My father had been a journeyman lineman for over 20 years.The homeowner was found at fault.I just wanted to inform you that just because you look up an incident that happened,and think you have all the facts of it,you don't.Today would of been my dad's birthday.I just so happened to Google his name and this forum popped up.I had to grow up with out him and my baby brother had to give me away at my wedding.He has had to miss all my big moments thanks to someone who decided to wire in a generator incorrectly.
I am sorry to hear about the loss of your father. Keyboard warriors are just that; we sit here typing and pretend that we know what we are talking about. Your father died in the real world because a homeowner really was an idiot.
 

etpm

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Every time I read a post about how to avoid connecting a generator properly and safely I cringe. Especially when the person says that everyone in their household knows how to safely do the switch over from the mains to the generator. Oh, and then the poster says they are or used to be a professional who knows better than most folks anyway. Why wait? They should just get it over with and electrocute a family member, friend, or stranger. Because that's what happens all too often. If you can afford the generator then you can afford the minimal cost of the proper switching gear. Sheesh!
Eric
 

MossRoad

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I hate to break it to you,but you are incorrect regarding this story from '05.The line was indeed grounded.The homeowner did in fact fire up an illegally wired in generator in which he immediately had removed prior to the investigation.He also admitted in his deposition that he had turned on the generator that he had wired in himself incorrectly and then removed it.I know this to be 100% accurate,because the lineman who was killed due to this homeowners negligence was my father.I was 15 years old when he was killed.My father had been a journeyman lineman for over 20 years.The homeowner was found at fault.I just wanted to inform you that just because you look up an incident that happened,and think you have all the facts of it,you don't.Today would of been my dad's birthday.I just so happened to Google his name and this forum popped up.I had to grow up with out him and my baby brother had to give me away at my wedding.He has had to miss all my big moments thanks to someone who decided to wire in a generator incorrectly.
Please accept my condolences on the passing of your father. I sent you a private message.
MR
 

3Ts

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I've just come across this thread today and have read all 16 pages of it. Some of you come across as being rather arrogant. I do not doubt your abilities nor your interest in doing things safely. BUT, don't forget that in times of stress people tend to forget what they are supposed to do. It is only thru training over and over again that things are done right during stress.

I've flown for both the military and commercial worlds and I've used check lists and I've written check lists. Still, there have been loss of life in accidents in the air because procedures were not followed. There have been fuel tank ruptures in the air because maintenance personnel did not follow procedures on the ground.

For those of you who do not have disconnect or transfer switches, how often do you practice the transfer of power? If you have others in your household, how often do they practice the transfer? I expect the answer is "Rarely". I also know that the transfer of power is not seen as nearly as critical as aircraft operations so will be practiced less and approached with a somewhat careless attitude so the chance of an error is greater. And yet with as critical as aircraft operations are and the training the crews receive, mistakes are still made and people die. So, how much is a life worth? Get the lockout switch! The NEC is there for a reason and gets updated to protect us from new ways we find to put ourselves at risk.

(full disclosure: I've backfed a panel when we were without power for 9 days after a hurricane came thru, so I understand why it's done. But, I've since had an actual auto transfer switch installed along with a whole house generator.)
 

old and tired

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A tree fell and broke our line; the very first thing the lineman did was to connect the lines together with a jumper. That would short out any generators trying to back feed the lines. Not sure if this is new SOP.

I don't run a generator unless it's out for multiple days, it been so many years, I don't remember when I last did it. For the ice storm coming, I've already have signs taped to my back door, Main breaker OFF first. Before I do anything else.
 
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TheMan419

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We have a transfer switch in place. It is manual but you can only turn on generator power after you turn off main power. Physically impossible to do otherwise. I cannot imagine doing it any other way (other than automating the process). Back feed is so so dangerous.

Thankfully Indiana looks like it is going to get spared this current winter storm that is going to cover most of the eastern half of the US. However we have all tanks full and generator was test run two weeks ago.

Tractor battery was replaced and she is running like a kitten now. So we are ready.

Oh we did not buy french toast supplies though.
 

buckeyefarmer

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I seldom have long outages. I use extension cords to power anything from my generator. I have never backfed thru my house wiring. I feel very competent that I can open my main and do it, but I don’t.
 
 
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