[ There are 6 photos in this post. ]
THURSDAY 19 January
The DTE crew that was here yesterday and did, in fact, return today and got a lot accomplished. Not everything, of course, but based on what had previously been explained to me, I did not expect them to complete the job today. DTE has crews (and/or contractors) that do “overhead work,” crews/contractors that do “underground work,” and (apparently) crews/contractors that do “fusing work.” Which is fine; each of those kinds of work requires different equipment, knowledge, and skills. Our project required all three types of crews (or at least overhead and underground ones).
The work today was fascinating. They started by pulling the new pole out of the drainage ditch (where it had been for a while), down the street, and then up the driveway. They positioned it in the yard close to where they needed it, but off of the driveway where they could work on it without being in the way of the trucks. Crew members drilled holes for the mounting of the new crossbar, transformer, and the rack and attached a bare copper ground wire along the full length of the pole.
A new crossbar was attached near the top of the pole and new insulated standoffs and a disconnect switch for the distribution lines were mounted. The crane truck was used to hoist the pole up with the crossbar parallel to the distribution lines so it would pass between them. The pole was then lowered down into the new hole (dug yesterday) and then turned 90 degrees so the crossbar was above, and perpendicular to, the power lines. They sighted the pole for plumb from two directions, about 90 degrees apart. When they were satisfied that it was vertical, a 2-part epoxy was mixed and poured into the hole. After a suitable amount of time, they then partially back-filled the hole with 1”-size gravel to secure it in position.
The new pole was 45’ long, compared to the old one at just 40’. They were both in the ground to about the same depth, and the top of the new pole was now a comfortable 5’ above the top of the old one. This added height was one of the main reasons for the new pole. The other reason was the condition of the existing pole, which had been there since the early 1970’s (best estimate).
All of this work was done without disconnect the existing transformer primary taps from the distribution lines. The crew obviously knew what they were doing, and had all of the necessary personal protective equipment (clothing) to be working with energized, un-fused, high-voltage wires, but it was still impressive to watch.
With new pole secured in the new hole, the disconnect switch was closed, restoring utility power to our house. The power was only disconnected for about an hour, but the house was never without power as the whole house generator started up and ran flawlessly the whole time.
Again, I e-mailed our planning consultant to let him know what had been accomplished today and included a couple of photos. Again, he seemed surprised. I thought that was odd, but I was just pleased that crews were at our house and the work was getting done.