Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It costs nothing but money

So the electrician (see yesterday's entry) was unable to simply pull the defective power-line wire through the undergound conduit for the simple reason that there isn't any: the cable was simply buried.

That is legal, and the cable technically is able to withstand being buried, but--self-evidently--it doesn't fare well over the long term without being protected from rodents, moisture, and who knows what-all else by an encasing conduit. So we'll have to have a backhoe over, and spotters from the telephone comapny to tell us where their lines to our house lie, and then a dig and a conduit placement and finally more backhoe work.

What this will all cost frightens me: the cable wire itself is probably close to half a thousand, going at near to $4 a foot. And it should not have been necessary. We thought we had specified conduit, but when I look back at the actual specifications for the house, I find:

2.2.3 Electricity Capacity. The secondary-service lines shall be capable of supplying a minimum of 200-ampere service to the building site, but conduit suitable for a second 200-ampere line shall be included in the trench as a reserve against future expansion; the house panel, as described 8.1.2 below, shall be 200-ampere service.

2.7 Pipes And Conduits

2.7.2 Trenching--Specific Main Electricity-Supply Conduit. You shall bring the house electrical line from the nearest power pole to the house by underground supply. The trenching and conduit shall be as required by code and the local electric utility company for such undergrounding.
While at first glance that seems to demand that the buried service be placed in conduit, I see that a weasel could easily claim that the phrase "as required by code and the local electric utility company" could in principle be read as excusing bare cable if Code doesn't actually mandate it, regardless of clear the implication of the rest of the text seems to be. And believe me, the contractor who worked on that phase of the house was the very thing whose picture they put in dictionaries to illustrate the word "weasel".

Another one for the lawyers to contemplate. Sigh . . . .

Meanwhile, we were again without power for some while today, as the electrician did what he could, and ran a temporary of heavier cable for us, so we can at least function normally (till tomorrow, when construction work begins anew). That leaves me a long ways behind on many things, so this ends this chapter as as the world whirls.

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