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beachy
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December 4, 2010 12:14 pm  

anyone have any experience, positive or negative, on trying to get WAPA to pay for sudden burning out of appliance motors etc? There was a power issue in our area Thursday, and we lost both our water pump and our pool pump motors...I'm just really getting tired of this sort of thing..


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margaritagirl
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December 4, 2010 12:37 pm  

When we first moved here we had a power surge that came thru the house that zapped all of our TVs, a printer, clock radios, and our refrigerator. We had a whole house surge protector and power strips on everything. One of our power strips left a burn mark on our tile floor.
WAPA came out and it was the neutral on the pole which is there responsibility.
I wrote WAPA a letter to try to get compensated. Needless to say they wrote a letter back saying they are not responsible.
We just never know when something like this will happen again.


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beachy
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December 4, 2010 12:54 pm  

I'm sure if they paid one claim they'd be paying millions...but figured I'd ask anyway...seem to have heard Chucky mentioning how she'd gotten WAPA to pay such claims, but that would be for "her people" and I doubt if we'd qualify....did have someone tell me once the way to get the VI gov't to pay for pothole-related repairs, but for potholes you need a descriptive police report and you know the chances of getting that ...


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beachguyvi
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December 4, 2010 1:44 pm  

We lost our two living room ceiling fans when WAPA was working on our street and reconnected incorrectly. Big bang, and by the time I ran to throw the master breaker the fans were burnt. WAPA has field managers here within an hour. They took pictures and told me to submit receipts and they would pay. Back and forth, back and forth, they finally said they would settle for $300 when the bills I submitted were for $500. Fine, I wanted to be done. After hounding them for over a year no money. I just give up...which is what I am sure they are waiting for. If they give you the runaround for long enough you will go away. But try not paying your bill and see how fast they move.


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DixieChick
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December 4, 2010 1:52 pm  

b.f. had bad power surge at his office. called wapa many t imes and they said it was not there respon. he was running one half of office under surge and the other half over voltage. burnt out stuff. all office building effected. well he decided to deduct 100.00 off wapa bill until they corrected and they shut him off. they not only made him pay the 100 but also reconnect fee of 50.00 lol he now has a call into hugo hodge. told him good luck with that. but he has mega expensive damaged by WAPA's nonconcern.

we did put house surge protector on, you might want to think of doing that.

how much does the goverment owe WAPA.???


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Juanita
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December 4, 2010 1:54 pm  

A little off topic, but related...we have a security light that only works intermittently. We have been reporting it to WAPA, every so often, since April. We can't seem to get it fixed, and they won't give us a credit on the bill UNTIL it's fixed. They SAY they will then give us a credit, retroactive to April. We have to keep paying it because there are 3 lights on the bill, and we need the other 2. We keep paying at full rate for all 3 lights. I know this is totally wrong, but what do you do??


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DixieChick
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December 4, 2010 2:01 pm  

i think start calling a caring senator... do we have one?

b. was told to talk to a mr. mulligan i think it is. you have to personally know someone at wapa to get any kind treatment.

we should all load up our broken appliances and dump in front of the WAPA building and set the stuff on fire,
wow i think i'm a bit radical. (left over from the 60's i guess)


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longtime
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December 4, 2010 3:31 pm  

Get a surge protector that goes behing your meter, that helps


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SkysTheLimit
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December 4, 2010 4:39 pm  

Whole house surge protection is a great start. As for power strips most are just that,....a power strip. Panamax makes a great surge protector and other products that actually work. Sold one to a customer and everythingin the house fried during a WAPA spike except the tv and receiver on that strip. Literally took a hit so hard it blew fire out the back permanantly scorching the terazzo floor. But it save the TV and receiver.
Computer, water pump, fridge, microwave, clocks, other tv............All fried!

http://www.panamax.com/Products/Floor-Models/Default.aspx


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Juanita
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December 4, 2010 4:57 pm  

Hey Dix, I'll get on the phone to my caring senator right away! :S Oh, wait...which one is that?

@Skys, Thanks for that link.


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westom
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December 5, 2010 5:42 am  

WAPA came out and it was the neutral on the pole which is there responsibility.

One of many reasons for earthing; so that a neutral line failure does not cause that damage. In another event, the same failure caused household electricity to complete a circuit through the gas meter. Fortunately, no one was home when the house exploded. Another example of what can happen when you do not inspect your earth ground. Only you are responsible for that earthing.

Your symptoms imply an all so critical earth ground did not exist. If earthing does not exist, then a 'whole house' protector also cannot be effective. Essential is earthing that meets and exceeds post 1990 National Electrical code. One reason why is so that neutral wire failures do not cause that damage.

Second, why do power strip protectors not provide effective protection? Where is the short and dedicated connection to single point earth ground? Does not exist. Panamax, et al will not discuss this always required short connection (with no splices, no sharp bends, etc).

And third, protectors do nothing - remain inert - until the 120 volts exceeds 330 volts. Read that spec number on its box. But most important is proper earthing - to avert many problems.


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sloop jones
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December 5, 2010 8:50 am  

Westom, by "earthing" do you mean a "grounding" ?

Sloop


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DixieChick
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December 5, 2010 10:31 am  

juanita we have called nellie o'reilly about things before. she listened and we actually had some action.


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DUN
 DUN
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December 5, 2010 12:20 pm  

b.f. had bad power surge at his office. called wapa many t imes and they said it was not there respon. he was running one half of office under surge and the other half over voltage. burnt out stuff. all office building effected. well he decided to deduct 100.00 off wapa bill until they corrected and they shut him off. they not only made him pay the 100 but also reconnect fee of 50.00 lol he now has a call into hugo hodge. told him good luck with that. but he has mega expensive damaged by WAPA's nonconcern.

we did put house surge protector on, you might want to think of doing that.

how much does the goverment owe WAPA.???

Your neutral is broken, that is why you have high voltage on 1 leg, low on the other.


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captpete
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December 5, 2010 4:11 pm  

If you all remember...when you signed up for WAPA, they had a document in the forms signed for waiver of liability to damages caused b;y tlheir power. Surges, brown outs, over limits...its all thier problem but not their concern, especially since you agreed that they could do it to you. Someday we will get a real power company here, not some yahoos who don't know what they are doing. Until then, make sure all appliances are on power conditioning stips, surge protectors or OFF and unpluged when not necessary. I had an ultra high power, 250,000volt surge triacs installed in my incoming line to the house (after the meter and prior to the house) and that was 8 years ago...no surge problems since then. I live at the end of the main feeder line so I get the brunt of the surges to my transformer. Since they came out earlier this year with a new transformet, I have had relatively no problems. I just make sure that I unplug anything of value when going away from the house. Naturally cannot do so with the refrigerator, but most everything else.


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Jules
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December 5, 2010 4:16 pm  

Whole-house surge protection is the easiest and cheapest way to avoid this.


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Jim Dandy
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December 6, 2010 11:47 am  

As mentioned in previous posts surge protectors don't cut in until the voltage is 330 volts or more. What is really needed to give you protection is an isolation transformer to smooth both the high and low voltages along with a whole house surge protector to knock down the spikes. Isolation transformers are something to consider for new construction or a major remodeling.

I run all my most sensitive electronics plugged into UPS. Since plugging my Broadband VI radio and my routers into a UPS my service has been much more reliable with no need to reboot everything when service went down.

Everyone in the USVI also should have a digital multi meter to check voltage regularly on both legs of their residential electrical service. Because of corrosion problems we have here service neutral failures aren't that uncommon. Aluminum is often used as the neutral conductor and the humidity and salt in the USVI eat it up. Good grounding will help prevent damage from the failure of the service neutral, but it won't eliminate the problem. The earth doesn't conduct electricity as well as copper or aluminum. Even with a good ground, when my neutral failed I was seeing voltages of 90 volts on one leg and as high as 140 on the other leg. Low voltages are just as destructive to motors as high voltages are to electronics. If your lights dim or surge, fans over rev, etc. you have a problem.

Jim


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DUN
 DUN
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December 7, 2010 3:52 am  

IMO 90% correct Jim & I hate to disagree at all(I find agreeing with someone 50% a major achievement around here sometimes!)but the isolation transformer idea could be used for safety reasons as it doesn't tie the ground of the utility.
It could also be used on a boat for electrolysis(especially metal hulls),It would still rely on the neutral from WAPA, & there would be no protection from low voltage/brownout.
If you were to add a duel voltage secondary & line conditioner, you would then be safe for low voltage as well as high(which you agreed only suppresses high voltage spikes.
The cost would be prohibitive for most. most small homes have 100 amp service or 24 KW of power.
I've repaired many Atlas units on yachts(the idea is you can travel anywhere in the world & plug in regardless of voltage or frequency).
WAPA is BAD, but not quite that terrible!
If you find a whole house line conditioner for $500, it's probably just a surge suppressor with MOV technology(same as a $25 surge suppressing strip)

A pure sine wave inverter for electronics with a auto transfer switch & charger may be better as the capacity is high(1-4 KW), but price is not awful though having & maintaining a battery bank is sort of a hassle.
Think of it as a large UPS, only w/ pure sinewave(ironically, most UPS would reject their own square wave output!)
During power outages, they could be used w/ the generator so you could reduce generator run times(& alternate power from the battery bank).

Air conditioners & especially refrigerators/freezers running off WAPA should at least have a timedelay relay so it doesn't short cycle.
Anyone who has noticed their refrigerator was warm after a short power outage would know what i mean.
Wapa was short cycling here so much, I was unable to buy one, so i built one.
8-10 minutes seems to work out well with the delay(your compressor can vary).
10 nanosecond switch gear w/ appropriate back up capability are generally done at the utility.
Not so here!
Not only does the power $uck, it's expensive!

When the neutral breaks, the voltage increase/decrease is proportionate, if you had 120 volts & lost the neutral, the voltage actually is still 240 across the two legs, so if you had 140 on one leg, you would have 100 on the other.
You could actually regulate this voltage by adding/subtracting loads, & in effect, be a human voltage regulator.
But when the fridge cuts off as it reached it's temperature, the other side will be sky high & so on!You could run the thermostat at full & hope for no cycle.
OK, a human voltage regulator is not a good idea!
On that note, a cheap 240-120VAC 2:1 transformer could be used as it wouldn't rely on the neutral(though it will not protect from high or low voltages, just the neutral.
You got to ask the question, will the next WAPA power problem be high, low, crappy neutral, or frequency(I'm still waiting for a runaway WAPA generator...oh, that would be BAD).
In conclusion, there really isn't any fast, cheap fixes for poor power.

Edited to remove a sentence that appeared twice.


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Jim Dandy
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December 7, 2010 2:23 pm  

Dun:

Appreciate your comments. Just to clarify.

An isolation transformer for residential service does not need all the bells and whistles of a marine unit i.e. the triacs, etc.

The prices of transformers closely follow the price of copper. A few years ago when copper prices were low I purchased an isolation transformer for a computer installation. It was rated for 35 Kw and the cost was less than $2K. It might have been a surplus unit, don't remember.

Isolation transformers tend to smooth the fluctuations in voltage out. For spikes they will give the surge protector more time to react prior to high voltages flowing through the distribution network. If you go into a brown out condition that lasts for more than a fraction of a second the low voltage will flow through your home eventually and your lights will dim. Transformers also isolate your electrical system from the noise that is present on even good electrical distribution systems.

You are correct the sum of the voltages on both legs should equal 240 V . But, if you have a ground rod at your service panel and per the NEC your ground is bonded to your neutral, some of the voltage will follow the earth back to the transformer so usually A + B will not equal 240 V with a failed neutral. That is why it is important to keep the earth around your ground rod damp to improve connectivity. When I was in the Army the Sargent Major had all the guys in the radio van urinate on the grounding rods daily to really improve connectivity and maintain a good ground.

In my home I have a whole house surge protector. My home theater the TV is plugged into a 1 Kw isolation transformer. In addition I have a small UPS plugged into the transformer which is used to back up the power on my satellite receiver and SlingBox. I have another UPS to back up my BBVI radio and router. WAPA's power doesn't run at a consistent 60 hertz and none of my equipment does anything to correct this problem. The quality of power I get from my Honda inverter generator is cleaner that what WAPA provides.

Jim


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stiphy
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December 7, 2010 3:05 pm  

I vote that Wapa hire Jim and DUN to work on the problems at the source 🙂

Sean


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westom
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December 7, 2010 5:32 pm  

Westom, by "earthing" do you mean a "grounding" ?

Many grounds exist. Some are interconnected. Others are 'floating'. But a ground that must be installed so that open neutrals are not so destructive is the earth ground. A wire from the breaker box safety ground to one or a network of earthing electrodes.

As stated before, that earth ground solves many problems. Posted was one example.

Most see lights working. Using only observation not tempered by knowledge, they 'know' everything is good. Or use a receptacle tester to be deceiverd. Only way to determine good and necessary earthing is inspection. A homeowner is only responsible for maintaining that electrode.

Meanwhile, indication of a problem is incandescent bulbs changing intensity when a major appliance power cycles. No bulbs should ever change intensity when any other appliance powers on or off. That changing intensity is reporting a problem that may become worse - destructive. It is not cured with a transformer or UPS. It is cured by fixing the wiring (or transformer) defect. That means first finding a defect before fixing it or before appliances are damaged when that defect gets worse.


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DUN
 DUN
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December 8, 2010 12:25 pm  

Westom, by "earthing" do you mean a "grounding" ?

Many grounds exist. Some are interconnected. Others are 'floating'. But a ground that must be installed so that open neutrals are not so destructive is the earth ground. A wire from the breaker box safety ground to one or a network of earthing electrodes.

As stated before, that earth ground solves many problems. Posted was one example.

Most see lights working. Using only observation not tempered by knowledge, they 'know' everything is good. Or use a receptacle tester to be deceiverd. Only way to determine good and necessary earthing is inspection. A homeowner is only responsible for maintaining that electrode.

Meanwhile, indication of a problem is incandescent bulbs changing intensity when a major appliance power cycles. No bulbs should ever change intensity when any other appliance powers on or off. That changing intensity is reporting a problem that may become worse - destructive. It is not cured with a transformer or UPS. It is cured by fixing the wiring (or transformer) defect. That means first finding a defect before fixing it or before appliances are damaged when that defect gets worse.

In other words, WAPA is defective!

true, that is why we go through all this expense to correct it on our end, since WAPA won't/can't).
Also, much of the local wiring that I have seen, I say the electricians here have a hell of a imagination

Yes, a damp ground is more conductive than a dry one(don't know if I want to make that my peeing spot).
Though the thought of installing one in the septic leech field comes to mind.


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westom
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December 9, 2010 7:21 am  

Yes, a damp ground is more conductive than a dry one(don't know if I want to make that my peeing spot).
Though the thought of installing one in the septic leech field comes to mind.

Once reason why ground rods must be so long (ie 3 meters) - so that most of the rod is in soil that is constantly damp. If your ground rods are only 1 meter, then you have (virtually) no earth ground.

Also another earth ground is necessary for your house protection. Every transformer must have a half centimeter wire that also connects the transformer to earth. To many don't inspect that important ground because lights are working just fine. Another ground essential so that a failure does not threaten human life. It does almost nothing until a failure occurs.


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sloop jones
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December 9, 2010 9:08 am  

This is off the WAPA topic, but refers to grounding. Both Hughesnet and Dish network require grounding their antennas(satellite dishes) to t

I've been told that makes the antennas more of an lightning attractant. The antennas are energized by current flowing to the LNB from the modem or receiver.

I am not an electrician,. The attractant concept makes sense to me..

I also wonder "why ground the dish when it i fastened to a metal roof"?

sloop


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westom
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December 10, 2010 6:40 pm  

I've been told that makes the antennas more of an lightning attractant. The antennas are energized by current flowing to the LNB from the modem or receiver.

Lightning seeks earth ground. It will strike no matter what you do. Either it takes the Dish as the best connection to earth - destructively via your electronics. Or you install a better earth ground so that lightning current strikes the dish and goes directly into earth. Does not hunt for earth destructively via electronics.

Why did lightning strike Ben Franklin's wooden church steeples? Even wood is an electrical conductor. Everything on earth is an electrical path to earth. Everything is a potential lightning conductor. If you do not earth the dish, then the better path to earth is through the dish, into a building, then through modem, receiver, or other electronics. Once that current is inside, nothing will stop it from finding earth destructively.

NIST (US government research agency) defines effective surge protection.
> You cannot really suppress a surge altogether, nor "arrest" it. What these protective
> devices do is neither suppress nor arrest a surge, but simply divert it to ground
>, where it can do no harm.

Nothing stops a surge. Everything is conductive to some degree. Nothing will arrest, stop, or avert that electrical current. Only effective protection for over 100 years (and demonstrated by Franklin in 1752) is to give that electricity a more conductive and non-destructive path to earth.


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