Electric power to houses

A thing I forgot to mention yesterday: At the start of one of my online ethics classes, I was expecting two prior students, plus one new enrolment, who I’ll call Barb (not her real name). One of the prior students arrived, and then a minute or so later Barb connected to Zoom. I could only see the thumbnail video until she spoke, and it looked very dark. I waved and said “Hello Barb, welcome to the class”.

The video went from thumbnail to the main window and I could see an adult woman in a dark room. She looked sleepily at the camera and said, “What’s happening? I got a message on my phone saying there was a Zoom on now…”

I said, “You’re Barb’s mother?”

And she said, “There must be some mistake. It’s 1 am here. She’s asleep.”

I said, “Oh… there must have been some time zone mix-up!” I told her to check, in the morning, the time on the class and I’d contact her through Outschool to help work it out. I deduce from the time she said it was that she must have been in the US Eastern time zone. Outschool is supposed to show users all times in their own time zone, so I can only guess that she must have had her time zone set incorrectly in her user profile. So that was pretty strange. I just hope she got back to sleep okay!

Today I finished off the week of classes on the current topics, with four of the age 10-12 classes. In between I started work on writing a new class for this group, for the week after the next one. I’m trying to stay a full week ahead in my prep (as I think I mentioned before). I had a one hour break from 12 to 1, and took Scully for a walk to the fish & chip chop, intending to get some fish & chips for lunch to eat on the way back. But the shop was closed for summer holidays! Some businesses do this here, close for a few weeks in December/January so the staff can have some vacation time over the summer. So I had to walk Scully back home quickly and make myself a quick lunch at home to be done and ready for my class at 1pm.

I took her for another walk again around 5. While I was walking, I did a bird count using eBird, so I was looking around at things, and I noticed an interesting thing with some of the houses I was walking past, and their connections to the overhead electricity wires. The area around here has a lot of older houses, and they generally have the wires supplying electricity strung from the street poles directly to a terminal on the top of the house. Like this:

Wires to house

There are also several properties where the old house has been demolished and a more modern house has been built. And in almost all of these, the wires are not strung to the house itself, but rather to a pole erected just inside the property boundary. Like this:

Wires to pole

Presumably the wires go down the pole and then into the house underground. I’m wondering why this is such a popular choice for new houses. Do the owners make this choice to route the wires this way via a pole on their property, or is it some sort of new requirement by the council? I have no idea. And why string the wires to a pole??

In another interesting piece of trivia, I got talking with some of my friends in our Discord about how many different animals we’ve eaten. We did a survey by emojis, and I thought I’d copy the results here. The number indicates how many of us have eaten meat from the animal in question. This number includes me, except where indicated.

๐Ÿ‚ – 7
๐Ÿ– – 7
๐Ÿ‘ – 7
๐Ÿ“ – 7
๐Ÿฆƒ – 7
๐ŸŸ – 7 (generic “fish”)
๐Ÿฆ˜ – 6
๐Ÿฆ€ – 6
๐Ÿฆž – 6
๐Ÿฆ‘ – 6
๐Ÿ‘  – 6 (โ€™eel)
๐Ÿ – 5
๐Ÿฆ† – 5
๐Ÿ’ช – 5 (“mussel”)
๐Ÿฆช – 5
๐ŸฆŒ – 4
๐Ÿ— – 4
๐ŸŠ – 4
๐Ÿฆˆ – 4
๐Ÿ™ – 4
๐Ÿฆ – 4
โญ๏ธ – 4 (sea urchin)
๐Ÿ‡ – 3
๐Ÿช – 3
๐Ÿฆข – 3 (goose)
๐Ÿฅ – 3 (quail)
๐ŸŽ – 2
๐Ÿฆฌ – 2
๐ŸŒ – 2 not including me
๐Ÿฆ™ – 1
๐Ÿ• – 1 not including me
๐Ÿฆค – 1 (pigeon)
๐Ÿฆฉ – 1 (emu)
๐Ÿข – 1 not including me
๐Ÿธ – 1 not including me
๐Ÿฆ— – 1
๐Ÿœ – 1
๐Ÿ› – 1 not including me (witchetty grub)

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2 thoughts on “Electric power to houses”

  1. Well, I work for an electric utility, so let me answer those questions.

    The wires get run underground partly for esthetic (or in England, aesthetic) reasons. It also makes it impossible for a branch to fall on your electric service and pull it down. (“Service” is the term for a line that connects a customer location to the utility main. The same word is used for hooking up electricity, natural gas, sewer, water, phone, and cable television/internet.)

    The point of entry for electric service to a building (in the USA) is officially the “service entrance”, but US electrical workers, at least, tend to refer to it as the “weatherhead”.

    The pole is there because you don’t want 240 volt lines running within reach of a child (or adult) who might put hands on it. You keep the service either below grade or above 3m high, ideally.

    Larger buildings will have what’s called a “riser pole” outside. That’s a standard utility pole with power lines, with a cable running directly down the pole itself (in a conduit) and then underground to the building’s service entrance. (This assumes the primary conductors, the ones that distribute power from the substation to the area, are above ground. If they’re also buried, obviously the service is just a direct run from the primary to the structure.)

    1. Interesting! I actually think the extra pole looks uglier than just running the wires to the house. But having less wire for trees to fall on is sensible.

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