So I’ve just returned from a late night call out on a public holiday. It’s the close of a long weekend and everyone is going back to work. The house I’ve been called out to has no power after turning on an oven. So after asking a few questions and getting a few answers from the householder I decide to inspect the meter panel first. During our chat the guy mentioned his partner just came back from hospital with a new born, and due to the heat and lack of air-conditioning he hoped it was an easy fix. I congratulated him on the new addition to the family and we made our way to the meter panel.
On opening the meter panel all is not as it should be. The main fuse cover is laying in the bottom of the meter panel and the main fuse is still in the fuse holder. Which is odd because if you pull the fuse cover off; the fuse comes off with it. To put the cover back on the fuse must be located in the cover so that it clips into the fuse holder correctly. Except this fuse was clipped in without the cover and without the aid of a tool or insulating device I assumed as there was nothing of that nature laying around. Quite a dangerous situation with live connections easily accessible to anyone who opens the door.
I asked the householder how the fuse came to be like this. He mentioned he thought it was a re-wirable one and was going to rewire it. Except when he pulled the cover off he saw it was not. Then he was unable to replace the cover with the fuse not bedded correctly. So he just put the fuse in by hand.
I started a little at this and tested the voltage on the mains side of the fuse…..247 volts. I tested the load side and came up with zero. I turned to the home owner and said with a shaky voice “mate, your kid nearly grew up without knowing his dad. You came millimetres to being electrocuted. Please, don’t do that again”
The guy turned a bit pale and stuttered a little. I contacted PAWA and they did their bit. But I had a reaffirmation today and he learned a valuable lesson.
Don’t play with electricity, respect it and let the experts do their job. Do it for your family and yourself. Don’t try and save a buck here or there by doing it yourself, it always costs more in the end.
Luck has it, that this guy is still alive.
By Jon Story