I will post in a second...
We just had a young man killed in Augusta GA under the same circumstances. Touched a light pole and a fence and was electrocuted. This is still under investigation for alleged negligence by the city as well.
The local paper has details on the Augusta, GA electrocution here.
We had a young man killed at a City basketball court some years ago. The pole base was not grounded. Afterwards I made it a priority to always check to see if the pole bases are grounded, so many electricians wrap the ground wire around the usual 3/8 stud welded to the pole. I require them to use appropriate lugs or terminals. Also, some believe that grounding the lighting fixture at the top of the pole serves to also ground the pole, I will not accept any pole that does not have a bonding jumper between the equipment grounding conductor(s) and the lighting pole base.
A major problem is copper theft. Tamper resistant screws are no deterrent. We had a homeless person killed when he tried to tap into the pole wiring circuit, as he had done many times before. Unfortunately, he was under a freeway underpass, and did not realize the black unshielded conductors were part of a 2400 volt series lighting circuit...
THANKS everybody. Keep the posts coming!
I'm thinking that we need to introduce some new code Article to deal specifically with light poles. This has been going on forever, and something needs to be done about it.
I'm thinking that we need to introduce some new code Article to deal specifically with light poles.
Based on that statement I have the feeling you do not understand the NEC, Article 250 address's the installation of privately owned 'light poles," which municipalities fall under.
Had the pole been installed in full compliance with 250, it would have not presented an electrical hazard.
So one or more of a few things happened.
The pole was not installed in compliance with 250 nor inspected by the cities AHJ.
The pole was installed in compliance with 250 but not properly maintained.
The pole was installed by a utility for the city, utilities do not fall under the NEC, they work under the NESC which is not as strict when it comes to grounding.
Believe it or not, I do understand the NEC.
"Had the pole been installed in full compliance with 250, it would have not presented an electrical hazard." Incorrect. Wayne, please go tell that to the parents of the kids who got killed. I'm thinking you simply don't see the many dangers or hazards involved with light poles. In the example that I pointed out, if one watches the news clip, you can actually see the light pole swaying in the wind. Many light poles even require a wind speed rating. When light poles sway, the insulated conductors can be heard whipping against the inside of the metal pole. Ever been on a bridge in high winds? This can lead to insulation degradation and pose many dangerous conditions (even intermittent) that may not trip a circuit breaker. This is even though the pole may have originally, "been installed in full compliance with 250." This kind of shoots down your argument. And the last sentence (though erroneous and untrue) is actually part of the problem as a whole, and one which you seem perfectly satisfied with.
This light pole problem has been apparent for over a decade now, and it keeps getting worse. Needless electrocutions and needless electrocution deaths... Nothing ever seems to get done about it, --(but we will require GFCI for a dishwasher... which is still OK by me). I believe that this is a problem that needs to be addressed. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. It's OK Wayne - you don't need to be part of the solution. But I can see no reason to deter someone who wishes to make a Public Input.
Incorrect. Wayne, please go tell that to the parents of the kids who got killed. I'm thinking you simply don't see the many dangers or hazards involved with light poles.
I fully understand such.
In the example that I pointed out, if one watches the news clip, you can actually see the light pole swaying in the wind.
In other words it has not been properly maintained, which is a NEC violation.
Lay off the emotion and get with the code or take your media circus somewhere else.
Regardless of who is to blame, it commonly observed in every city the rampant vandalism caused by copper thieves. Not saying this was the case in the cited injury, but it is a huge problem. Improper installation is another issue. Certainly there is room for improvement.
Street lighting is installed in many cities using the Green Book - Standard Specifications for Public Works Construction. Much different than the NEC.
Your opinion is certainly your own and you are entitled to it. But I find your comments to be disgraceful, to put it lightly.
It is an issue. My understanding is that even power companies, when installing light poles in public easements (where people can physically touch the equipment) are still bound by NEC. They will tell you NESC, which is true. But if one investigates a bit further, they are also required to comply with NEC in these instances. Many public service commissions will back up what I'm saying. We had this happen in Wyoming, when certain power companies would supply the main service disconnect. They were not only bound to NESC but also to NEC, per Public Service Commission.
It is an issue. My understanding is that even power companies, when installing light poles in public easements (where people can physically touch the equipment) are still bound by NEC. Many public service commissions will back up what I'm saying.
That is incorrect, utilities do not come under the scope of the NEC.
It is an issue. My understanding is that even power companies, when installing light poles in public easements (where people can physically touch the equipment) are still bound by NEC. Many public service commissions will back up what I'm saying
Power companies work under the NESC, not the NEC and no PSC will back your claim.
Get a clue before posting anymore BS..
Not to be argumentative but in this State Utilities are governed by the PUC and not covered by the NEC. Instead they use Construction Safety Orders.
On CalTrans and City Public Works projects light street lighting is covered by the Green Book, the bible of Public Works Inspectors.
Here is an example.Street Lighting. Arizona and Nevada are similar.
You aren't being argumentative. Thanks for the info. I'm aware that all states are different, and that NESC is a code commonly used by utilities, as is the publication you refer to. It's just that there is a character - taking my original statement out of context, and doing everything possible to discredit me (won't happen, though). What I originally stated based on my experience in Wyoming is true. The Chief Electrical Inspector for State of Wyoming (there was a different one when I worked there) and I had several interactions with the Public Service Commission. I was posting additional information based on my experience as a State of Wyoming electrical inspector, over the past six years. This person was (and is) also incorrect on several other points, but I have to let all that go and move on with the original intent of the post, so it does not keep getting hijacked. Thanks for posting the additional information.
Please re-read my response to James.
I read it and it is incorrect, utility installed streetlights do not come under the scope of the NEC ever.
So - I worked in Wyoming for 6 years. The Public Service Commission informed me that utilities must comply with NESC and where they install equipment which people can touch and use, they also must adhere to NEC. Furthermore - they asked if I had any instances where the power company did not comply with NEC - they were more than willing, at my request, to have one of their PSC engineers come out and write a report, and take action on the Utility where they did not comply with NEC. But you know better, Wayne. I'm wrong in the information I'm sharing here (not). Your kindergarten responses continue to trump my experiences and knowledge, by far. Keep it up, hot shot.
Until you can post something in writing from the PSC what you state is hearsay and not worth the words written.
I have a call in to both the Wyoming Attorney General and the PSC seeking a clarification as to whom has jurisdiction over utility owned streetlights, I will post the information as soon as I receive it.
I also contacted Rocky Mountain Power and High Plains Power for additional information and they advised they will pass my request to their appropriate legal departments and when I receive that information, I will also post that here.
I have been brought in on two streetlight electrocutions and in both cases the utilities while not in compliance with the NEC Article 250 they both where in compliance with the NESC, and even with that they both settled out of court.
And I have emails from the State of WY Chief Electrical Inspector and WY Public Service commission. But I'm not going to share them with you, as your comments seem very nasty, and - I think it is high time that you renewed your prescription. You will most likely get incorrect information anyway. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a liar. I don't have to prove anything to you, especially when your comments are rude and condescending.
This post is about light poles, and additional safeguards that can be incorporated into NEC with regard to light poles - and NOT about who has jurisdiction on them. If you would like to start another post on NEC vs. NESC, then please do so and I will continue this conversation in that post.
If you don't want to be part of the solution, that is fine.
In other words you have no such letters.
The discussion about the NESC and the NEC is quite relevant as depending on who installed the pole determines what code it falls under.
I will no longer reply to you. Good day, sir.
By the way, based on further investigation, it appears you are operating out of a Parcels Plus drop box, versus having an actual physical location.
And while you claim to be an Electrical Inspector, you are not employed by Pompano, Broward County, Coral Springs, Margate, Ft Lauderdale or Deerfield Beach.
One wonders where you are an AHJ.
By the way I just checked Wyoming doesn't have a Chief Electrical Inspector, the various counties and cities do.
I just got off the phone with an Inspector with the Wyoming PSC who inspects any utility street light complaints and he made it very clear the only code that Utilities are required to comply with in Wyoming is the NESC.
You claim that utilities, per the Wyoming PSC must comply with both the NESC and NEC, therefore should be considered false, unless you can provide countering evidence.
He wanted to know what this was about, so I forwarded to him your FDBPR BN3106 licensing information and a link to this thread.
ChrisC, What you describe is certainly a great example of why there is a need to improve the NEC, with regard to light pole installation. I believe we have the technology to facilitate code changes that will increase public safety, and drastically reduce these needless electrocutions.
You are more than welcome to present a recommendation to the CMP for 250 detailing what changes need to be made to 250 to address any shortcomings in the code in reference to streetlights.
However keep in mind it's too late for any changes to be made to the 2020 NEC.
I believe it is time to try and facilitate code changes that will increase public safety (with regard to light poles) and drastically reduce these needless electrocutions.
Then do it, don't just talk about it, study the code identify deficiencies and get them resolved, but don't just keep spamming this forum with the same comment over and over again
Boy Electrocuted While Touching Light Pole On Expressway: $1,265,000 Settlement
Like most young boys, Jimmy Dietrichson was curious about his environment. While walking along the South Dade Expressway, he touched an adjacent light pole. He was immediately electrocuted because the internal wiring had come loose and was touching the metal pole from inside. Although these problems were well known to the State and its contractors, and the access plate to the pole had been removed, no inspections or testing ever took place. Jimmy’s parents, represented by LLRM’s Ira Leesfield, sued the state and the contractors, including the architectural and electrical consulting firms. Dietrichson v. DOT, et al., Dade County, Fla. Circuit Court.
Police said that the kid was stuck to the pole for at least five minutes before others noticed.
The reading of 20 volts in the poles was caused by an exposed internal wire making contact with the metal poles, he said.
Here is another case where light poles were tested, and many were found to have voltage on them:
I replied with links: two more examples of metal light poles - not being necessarily safe. I'm being moderated again. Please unlock the posts, thanks.
A question that I have, were the ungrounded contractors increased in size, which is a common installation practice with light poles. The most common violation with the upsizing of ungrounded conductors is Article 250.122(B), which also requires the equipment grounding conductor to be proportionately increased in size according to the circular mil area of the ungrounded conductors. Too many electricians just focus on Table 250.122 as it applies to the size of the equipment grounding conductor and the size of the OCPD for the branch circuit or feeder.
The majority of municipal streetlight circuits I have come across are wired with #6 copper for hot neutral and ground, utility streetlight circuits commonly only have a hot and neutral with a 8' ground rod.
Reference NEC, 2017 ed, Handbook Article 250.32 [A],
Buildings or Structures Supplied by a Feeder[s] or Branch
[A] Grounding Electrode. Building[s] or structure[s] supplied by feeder[s ] or branch circuit[s] shall have a grounding
electrode system installed in accordance with Part III of Article 250. The grounding electrode conductor[s] shall
be connected in accordance with 250.32[B] or [C]. Where there is no existing grounding electrode, the grounding electrode[s] required in 250.50 shall be installed.
Note: The Code in discussions thru-out consider a "POLE" as a structure [ Reference Article 100 Definitions,
specifically Structure and Building with the discussion under Building.
Parking Lot type installation poles are circuited via a branch circuit with an equipment grounding conductor that is
Bonded at the pole.
Sports Lighting type installations usually contain a Panelboard or Disconnect and connected with a feeder that contains
a grounding conductor.
Reference 250.32[B for the grounding required at each location.
I was asked to review an installation some 40 yrs past where a teenage boy lost his life when he touched a swimming
pool perimeter fence that was adjacent to a Sports Lighting pole that had not been properly grounded. It left a life long
consideration for me that I require a OHM test to determine suitable grounding.
Harvey Peel, PE
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