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The Roll

For a few years in my distribution career, I was on a crew that did a lot of re-conductoring.

We pulled 477 ACSR in on three phase circuits replacing smaller conductor. Sometimes we built a double circuit where there had previously been only a single circuit. This investor-owned utility used suspension vertical angles a lot.  

They are dangerous enough on their own, especially when moving hot conductor. When the circuit went from horizontal to vertical there was a standard for which phase went where; (middle to the top, left to the middle, right to the bottom). This was dependent on knowing the direction of feed or source. Usually when we outrigged the old wire at a vertical angle, we spread it out horizontally.

Unfortunately, "which phase was which" sometimes got lost. In other words, no one made a sketch or took notes. This particular utility had changed the spec on how to “roll” the wire at some point and that’s where we ran into trouble. At least twice in my experience we pulled the new circuit in according to the new spec while the existing circuit was rolled to the old spec.

I learned to check the phasing before making jumpers on the new circuit. This was a lesson learned the hard way. Being young and somewhat scared of the foreman I usually did what I was told.

To a new line worker coming along, my advice would be, don’t be afraid to question something, especially while doing hot work. The big noise and fire at the end of your hand is no fun. Neither is a flash burn to your eyes.

 In Florida, while working on Hurricane Hugo, FP & L gave us a small spec book which included a drawing of how to make up jumpers at a junction pole. It was a little confusing at first but it worked. They used North, South, East, and West to help you figure out how to make connections.

 I wish I had kept a copy of that drawing, maybe they still use it! 

Dick Weaver – Retired Lineman

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