This should be a criminal offense with no statute of limitations

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Sometime last year I posted this photo of an electric service to a house in a very wealthy community in northern NJ. I say this because I can't understand why wealthy people look to save $$ by hiring a hack to do this work instead of someone like us to do the work. I had to re-attach a service head that had been pulled off the side of the house due to storm damage. When I climbed up the ladder I found that the aluminum strands of both the tri-plex service drop and the SE cable were split apart, twisted together as a splice and taped. The new homeowners had been in this house for 12 years.



I had originally gone there on a service call because an outddoor receptacle circuit was not working. I should have known, up front, that there was going to be a big problem. The breaker panel was behind a small door in the beautifully finished basement. My first problem was getting the cover off the breaker panel. The finished door in front was just big enough to allow the cover of the breaker panel to open. I had to use a stubby screw driver to get the panel cover off and then I had to warp the cover to get it out from behind the partition.

I got a call last week that their AC stopped working. I tried to walk the HO through a problem solving routine before going out to investigate myself. After 10 minutes or so he calls me back and tells me that he has one 2-pole, 50 amp breaker feeding two 2-ton units. So I tell him that there must be a breaker panel outside. He says "no, there's a junction box and 2 disconnects". So I go out there and this is what I found :

A 4 x 4 x 4 PVC junction box between 2 non-fused disconnects. The green wire with the insulation on it actually is the ground wire. The other green wires with no coating on it is what is left of the two of the copper AC phase conductors that were attached to one of the aluminum SER wires. They were spliced together with a big blue wire nut. Whoever spliced it together anticipated that it might corrode but instead of using Noalox they used a silicone sealer.:slaphead: The small tab on the end is what's left of the wire nut. The second photo is what's left of the JB cover. The third photo is a close-up of the burnt wiring and JB. The last photo is what's left of the SER cable. The white conductor is barely recognizable coming through the aluminum siding.

The cable run is about 50' between the disconnects and the breaker panel. Do tap rules apply here :?

BTW, the AC units turned out to be 3-ton units with # 8 THHN in the whips. I ended up removing all existing disconnects and JB's and installing a w/p breaker panel with two 2-p 30 CH breakers at the same location









And YES, I did this in the rain.
 

Jraef

Moderator
Staff member
Location
San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
Does a statute of limitation apply to the concept of "reckless endangerment"? How about "depraved indifference"?

To constitute depraved indifference, the defendant's conduct must be 'so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime. Depraved indifference focuses on the risk created by the defendant?s conduct, not the injuries actually resulting.
In some states, Depraved Indifference can be prosecuted as 2nd degree murder if someone dies, in which case the statute of limitations does not apply.
 

Jon456

Senior Member
Location
Colorado
Hmm... I didn't know that our solar installation electrician used to moonlight out in New Jersey. :happysad:
 

xformer

Senior Member
Location
Dallas, Tx
Hmm... I didn't know that our solar installation electrician used to moonlight out in New Jersey. :happysad:
I guess moonlight could be used but the result would be greatly reduced production....

Wait.... Never mind.. disregard previous sentence....:)
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Does a statute of limitation apply to the concept of "reckless endangerment"? How about "depraved indifference"?



In some states, Depraved Indifference can be prosecuted as 2nd degree murder if someone dies, in which case the statute of limitations does not apply.
Interesting opinion. I don't think the person who did this installation intentionally wanted to harm anyone. They were just cheap, unscrupulous individuals looking to avoid paying someone like us to do the job the right way and not thinking of the ramifications their shoddy work woulod cause.
 












are you kiding me that contractor or whatever he called himself that wired this up should be diped in hot oil and then hung he/she put that entire faimly in danger!
 
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FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
why was that center box even used? can likely fit two #8's in the terminal blocks of those disconnects, just gang the 2nd disconnect to the 1st one and voila, no tying of the wires. even this poor way of doing it would be much better than what you show in those horrifying pics. many houses burn down because of crap like that.
 
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iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
why was that center box even used? can likely fit two #8's in the terminal blocks of those disconnects,
Fit sure.

Be code compliant? Not likely at all.

The terminals would have to be marked as being listed for use with two 8 AWGs and I have not seen that type of disconnect marked that way.
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
Must have been done by a person with a PA electrician's license.
Wow: this forum is good, it not only records what I wrote but also what I thought!

Must have been done by a person with a PA electrician's license from a jurisdiction where no testing is required.

In many states the electrician doing the work is not required to be licensed, only the owner as a contractor.

Here many contractors will send a helper with little experience out to do a simple job like this. Others send a journeyman that knows little more than a helper.

Actually I have seen some real crappy work done by some of the bigger service companies that are supposed to have highly trained techs.

This is where inspections are important. I really can't see this work as passing an inspection.
 

FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
Fit sure.

Be code compliant? Not likely at all.

The terminals would have to be marked as being listed for use with two 8 AWGs and I have not seen that type of disconnect marked that way.
not code compliant, but also not likely to have things burn up the way they did. hopefully the feed had a breaker on remote side. but agreed, has to be done right and not like the way those pics show.
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
are you kiding me that contractor or whatever he called himself that wired this up should be diped in hot oil and then hung he/she put that entire faimly in danger!
No electrical contractor worth his salt would have done work like this. This was done by a builder looking to get work done for little or nothing at all. However, after 12 + years I doubt we'll ever find out who actually did the work. The HO is not interested in pursuing who is at fault. Usually situations like this need something severe to happen before HO's will act or file a lawsuit.
 
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goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
If they where fused discos the tap would be only the section from where it spilt.
I see your point. I still wouldn't have terminated it that way though. That's why I thought the outdoor breaker panel was the better way to go.
 
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