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Trouble Call

As a single person “Troubleman Crew” for an investor-owned utility in a metropolitan area, I met all kinds of people going on trouble calls. 

During storm outages, although most customers are appreciative, some customers get less than courteous when the bucket truck finally shows up after an extended outage.  However, on a normal day, I usually found our customers to be kind and generous.

Not so much late one fall evening…..

I was dispatched on a partial current and found a “dead leg” on a customer’s direct buried house service.  At that time, we would run a temporary triplex jumper on the ground from the line side of a neighbor’s meter to give the customer 120/240 service until the underground fault could be located and repaired at a later date.

I went to the home next to the customer and explained this to the gentleman answering the door.  Initially he was okay with the idea of the temporary jumper.  However, when he heard that I would need a 5–10 minute outage at his home to connect the temporary jumper (we used meter socket adaptors for this purpose), he immediately said no way.  He was watching a football game and did not want his electricity off.

I tried to explain that this was the quickest, most efficient, way to get his neighbor’s lights on, however he didn’t seem to care.

So, I connected the temporary triplex to the house in trouble, and then ran that jumper to the transformer (subsurface) that was down near the street between the 2 houses.  I called in an outage on the transformer and started the process of connecting the jumper to the transformer leads…. Needless to say, the “neighbor” rushed out of his house belligerent about the outage.

I stopped my work long enough to tell him that in order to restore his neighbor’s electrical service, the transformer would be off for 30-45 minutes, instead of the 5-10 minutes it would have taken if he had let me connect the jumper at his house. 

I didn’t hear another word.

Jon Rogers - Lineman, Retired

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