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Listen to the Voice of Experience

After a lightning storm one spring, I was running trouble calls with two young apprentice linemen.

We got a call for a power outage in a subdivision with back lot distribution of 7.6 kv. After refusing the cutout on a 50 kva transformer, we closed the cutout, which did not hold.  Since it was after a lightning storm, we figured the lightning arrester was bad. One of my apprentices climbed up to disconnect the arrester. After coming back down below the CATV, he looked down and told us to go ahead and try it!.

I told him no, come on down because if the transformer is bad we will have to get a block and line to change it out. He wanted to go ahead and try it, thinking that if it’s bad, he would start stripping the transformer. Once again, I asked him to come down. When he got on the ground, I closed in the cutout and the transformer exploded, sending an arc up into the three-phase line. It came down on top of us like an umbrella of fire.

Thinking back on it, it’s scary to think that if he had not listened and come down, I may have lost that young apprentice and a great friend, as well.

Brothers, you have to be careful and think about the unexpected.



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