Yo, Yo, Yo... Welcome back to yet another edition of A Day With A Lineman where I try my best to give you Hivers a little inside scoop of what goes on when your lights go out. I’ve been in the hooks for 15 years and let me tell you, I have seen some crazy things happen throughout my career. I really wish I would have documented all those crazy incidents, I tend to forget things when I sleep. 🤔🤔.... Anyway here is a little surprise that happened the other day at a local winery
Often times it is really funny when you compare the description of the incident received at the time of the call to what is actually going on.
“We lost a well head and it flooded around the transformer and now the transformer is falling into the hole. We need the power shut off ASAP!”
Well it is flooded, I will give them that, but the transformer isn’t quite falling in the hole. Then I get the, “Wait!! Do you really need to turn the power off now? When can you turn it back on”
People tend to get a little excited when stuff like this happens, but really I can’t blame them for their level of excitement. There was a lot of water flowing all night and it moved a heck of a lot of dirt down the hill. Look!! It’s The Mini Grand Canyon.
At first they thought it was their well head, then they thought it was an irrigation water line, then finally the found out it had to do with their fire sprinkler system. A pipe on the outside of the building broke and was running all night long.
They built this winery into a hillside and it has really tall foundation walls which definitely helped in this situation. It’s helped in a way that the water didn’t undermine the foundation of the winery. Now I really couldn’t do much at this point, I am here by myself. Other than keep people from standing on the concrete pad or getting under it. Lee the place safe. That transformer weighs approximately 4,500 pounds and all the weight is in the back portion of the transformer. The back of the transformer is the part that is no longer supported by the dirt.
In order to properly and safely de-energize this section of underground cable I need one more guy. The process of de-energizing, testing and grounding underground cables to make them safe to handle is a 2-Lineman operation. As I talked to the General Foreman and gathered up the crew, I couldn’t help but take a few more photos.
The mud around the pump building was close to a foot deep. It was tough to tell how deep it was until a guy had to dig a path in order to open the door. Daaanng that’s alotta mud!
With the crew on their way, I needed to find a place to setup the Linetruck in order to pick this 4,500 pound transformer. The flat pavement was way too far away. The truck could reach it but the lifting capacity that far from the truck is not near enough. The ground is sloped in what seems every direction and I am really scratching my head on this one. It’s going to be tough to set the truck up. The transformer is hidden behind some tall arborvitae trees.
Playing some angles and approaching the setup spot from one direction and sharply turning another, we got the truck setup. With it being so top-heavy, taking it on side hills is pretty sketchy. These Linetrucks aren’t cheap but they sure are heavy
Sorry about the ruts...Gotta do what we gotta do
Most likely to replace all the missing dirt they are going to have to remove some trees to get access for their equipment. So I don’t think the ruts we put in the grass will be a big deal in the long run.
After getting the truck setup and ready to lift the transformer, we headed over to the junction box to de-energize the cables feeding the transformer. We try our best to minimize the amount of time they are out of power. So we wait until we are completely setup before we kill it.
I guess someone running the show at the winery didn’t tell the lady working inside that the power was going to be out. She came outside with her panties in a knot I will just say that. WOW She must have been in the middle of tweeting about her cup of coffee....
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to hang around and show you guys the process. Me being a Serviceman, I am the first to get called during the day when any issues arise on our system. This time it was just a meter not reading into our system, so I had to leave and check it out.
What the crew ended up doing some was disconnect all the cables from the 300 KVA transformer. Lift it off the concrete pad and set it on the pavement. Drive the truck out of there and wait for them to do whatever they are going to do to fill in this hole and compact it. It needs to be strong enough the bare the weight of the transformer. So I hope they do it right...
The next day I ended up having to go to that area to trim a tree and swung by to see what they did. Well.... I think this big concrete kickstand should do it. Lol
With all the cables reconnected and the transformer humming it’s sweet tune, the lights are back on and all is well and good. Hopefully that Lady got her morning coffee tweet in...
Thanks for taking the time to stop in and check out another episode of A Day With A Lineman. I hope you enjoyed it and gained a little insight on how things get done and how we try and keep the lights on.
Make sure to Jiggle
The toilet handle
Or you could have
A mess like this