Service Drop Question

Whenever I do a 4 point, insurance inspection, I note the service drop as a deficiency in need of repair if it is significantly less than 10’ high. Usually, I’ll only note it if it is about 9’.
My question is, “Is anyone else doing this?”
While I don’t want to hurt the homeowner, If someone hit the drop with a ladder and it was found to be 9’, instead of 10’, I could be held liable.
Any thoughts?

The installation provisions for a utility service drop are typically the responsibility of the utility company, who have their own requirements. You can use model codes as a quide, but you may want to find out what the local utility company requirements are. After that it’s a judgement call for an existing installation.

And I hope your not using a metal tape to measure the height, because the bare messenger (neutral) wire typically carries current … :shock:

It’s been my experience that service drops to residential dwellings start just below the transformer than slope down to the service mast. If it is less than ten feet than the homeowner is responsible for raising his service mast to the required height.

Please correct me if I am wrong…

Reece…ever have to go back to verify that the deficiency has been repaired?

Actually, I’m going back tomorrow to check the repair of a service drop that was about 4" above the peak of an outbuilding. The homeowner had the weatherhead raised.
I don’t like going back for free.

Yes. Yes, I am using a metal tape measure. I have been VERY cautious. Do you have a better method?

Use a nonmetallic measuring stick instead:

You should review NEC “Section 230.24 Clearances. Overhead service conductors shall not be readily accessible and shall comply with 230.24(A) through (E) for services not over 600 volts, nominal.” This rule was revised long ago to comply with the NESC so that heights above various locations would be the same. :slight_smile:

It is the same around here.

ELEC-Service%20Drop%20Clearance%20Diagram [640x480].jpg

Code wise it’s somewhat contradictory because on one hand service drops are covered by the utility company regulations and are outside of the purview of the NEC, but the NEC still lists minimum heights in 230.24. I’m guessing that if the drop is solely covered by the utility then 230.24 does not apply.

The one pictured is a specialized tool, and a little costly at around $700 just for getting a service drop height. He could just use a 16’ fiberglass surveyors rod at around $60 … :wink:

Thats my read too. And in some more rural areas the service drops to a pole with a meter near the property line, and then continues overhead to the building which is covered by the NEC.

Have heard of at least a few cases where inspectors flagged somewhat low drops, and clients were later told by the utility there wasn’t a problem. Some utilities require greater clearances (e.g. see attached from local utility company). If you dont like egg face sandwiches the best thing to do if you are checking drop clearances is contact the local utility company to get their requirements.

And put away that metal tape for gods sake … is your life worth $60 … :wink: