How does this house have power?

I went to a house where the grounded conductor (neutral) was completly disconnected at the drip loop, I understand how the 240 items in the house worked, but how did the 120 stuff work? please explain. I was not able to find where the house was grounded, but maybe it was connected to the same water pipe as their neighbor and it went back up from there?

That is a dangerous scenario. 2 x 120V power lines and no return.
The power cables, 2 x 120V SEC enter the mast weather-head. The neutral is disconnected.
Disconnected SEC neutral

1 Like

my main question is how does the 120 v items in the house work if there is no neutral line to complete the circuit?

Ground electrode is working as the neutral.

1 Like

If there is a bonded metal water pipe system the neutral current is flowing through the pipe to the neighbors house and returning on their neutral.


It is a dangerous defect and should be corrected by the POCO (power company).


I agree, all of the neutral current flowing on a grounding electrode is not good.

1 Like

I just had that on a house last week. Neutral disconnected, not a good thing. I got sparks at the electrical panel when attempting to remove one of the cover screws.

Further evaluation would be needed to confirm if the ground is providing the return, but I suspect the 120 volt circuits are operating as two 120 volt circuits connected in series across the 240 volt supply. If you disconnected one of the hots, both 120 volt circuits would go dead. This can usually be easily confirmed by the occupants if they experience some lights much brighter than others, depending on the voltage drop seen across whichever lights or plugs are being used.

Either way, it needs to be fixed asap before injury or sensitive equipment gets fried.

Happy everything turned out well.
I would never attempt to dismount the front under those/that condition. You put your safety at risk.

YUP…ticking time bomb.

Those sparks may have come from the panel cover screws in contact with internal wiring. I’ve seen many times where the wires coming off the breakers are so sloppy or bunched up so tightly against the outer walls of the panel that the cover screws, depending on length, are actually driven through the bundle. Many times I’ll use my screwdriver to wedge & pry the inner conductors away from where the panel screws need to go.

1 Like

I’ve seen this three times, each time I called the local power company and they had a someone out there fixing it within an hour.


I had a restaurant on Long Island that lost the neutral on the bug nut at the street. The power was going to ground through all the under slab copper water and heating pipes. It pitted most of the copper and water came up from the concrete slab which is how it was found.


Sometimes you live to learn!

1 Like

Sometimes you live to learn!
So you can teach others! :+1:

We had a disconnected neutral on my own home at the pole. Figured it out after about a week of all of our home lights flickering with the agitator every time the washing machine would run.