Electricity- flickering, brief outage

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Hello,
Since about December 2008, there has been intermittent flickering of lights and very brief electrical outages in this house. It occurs on several circuits at the same time. I had an electrician tighten up connections in the circuit breaker box, but he did not remove any and reinstall any breakers. A corroded and detached ground wire from the breaker box to a water pipe was discovered and has since been repaired. There was no sign of "arcing" in the box. All connections were tight.
Could the problem be in a location in the box that is inaccessible unless the breakers are removed?
I will have Con Edison (utility company) send a technician to inspect their electric meter.
There have been problems reported by the utility company that I was told involves the melting salt used on the roads mixing with snow and leaking into the manholes, causing corrosion of electrical lines. Such disruption of the lines should affect many houses on the grid, not just my own, should it not?
My biggest concern is that the problem will occur during heavy usage of electricity during this summer when the A/C units are running.
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Toasty wrote:

Yes. Circuit breakers "plug" into a buss bar and poor contact will lead to excessive current flow in a small area. This excessive current flow, in turn, leads to melting and arcing.
Some box manufacturers are more prone to this condition than others. Who made yours?
Hope it wasn't Federal.
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I had a few mystery brownouts, the power compny set over a couple of techs, and they found a wire between the street and my meter that had worn through due to a tree branch. They spliced in a new wire and all is good now. I take it from your post that the wires in your neighborhood run underground, still they must have a method of load testing them. It really soulds like a problem on their side of the meter. Get them out before you fry appliances.
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Toasty wrote:

Around here, your electrician can pull the meter and check the connections there as long as he/she/it calls the power company to let them know the seal was cut. With the meter out, everything can be safely checked out. Making sure they notify the power company keeps you out of trouble.
TDD
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RBM wrote:

Similar in Houston without the paperwork or licensed electrician. One calls the power company and they come out within six hours, record the reading, and remove the seal. Homeowner or his agent removes the meter at his convenience.
When the work is done, call the power company to reseal the meter (homeowner presumably has replaced it). They will respond within twelve hours to reinstall the seal.
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John Grabowski wrote:

I once worked for a company that sent out crews to inventory (by serial number) all the meters, transformers, and connections in a rural electric cooperative. They found the usual stuff - meters plugged in upside-down so they would run backwards, and the like. The most amazing was one "customer" who had bought his own transformer somewhere and thrown connecting lines over the primaries!
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Man up and swelter for a few hours. Jeez.
If that's your most pressing concern, being a little uncomfortable for a little while, you lead a pretty darned blessed life.
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On Mar 9, 1:22pm, snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

Thank you for adding your utterly useless comment, sir.
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Toasty wrote:

problem with the transformer on the pole. The power company pulled the transformer, on a hot day in July and we did swelter from like noon till 3 pm but we survived, and replaced it and all has been well since. Suck it up.
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Were any other homes affected by this problem or was it isolated to yours?
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I don't have a problem dealing with some heat during the summer if necessary, but my property has tenants in it now and they aren't the type to "suck it up."
My concern regarding the A/C units is if these repeated outages will adversely affect them.
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wrote:

I don't have a problem dealing with some heat during the summer if necessary, but my property has tenants in it now and they aren't the type to "suck it up."
My concern regarding the A/C units is if these repeated outages will adversely affect them.
That is the important issue. Bad electrical connections invariably get worse, and voltage lowered by bad connections can damage equipment in the building
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On Sun, 8 Mar 2009 15:16:35 -0700 (PDT), Toasty

Why just the meter? Why just connections in the breaker box.
Maybe you are omitting other things, but rather than direct your electrician and Con Edison so much, I would tell them your problem and ask them to solve it. Of course you shouldn't give the electrician a blank check, but 30 or 60 minutes to diagnose and tell you what he thinks is wrong and a price for the rest of the job would have been fair.
How do you know for sure it is only your house. I have flickering lights a couple times a month. I'm sure it's the electric company's failing, and not in my house.
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The outages here shut down my computer sometimes. This has been too disruptive too often. I ask my next door neighbor if they noticed any flickering after it occurs here, but they have reported no such thing. I'm not certain that the problem is with only my house, though.
You're probably right about my directing the electrician too much. Someone more aggressive might have suggested shutting off the power and inspecting the main breakers, etc. I ASSUMED that if he felt this necessary to diagnose the problem, he'd suggest it. Eh, I'll shut my mouth next time and just ask him to do whatever is necessary to find the source of trouble.
Con Edison reported that no other customers in the area filed any complaints regarding flickering, outages. They did mention something about a "smoking manhole" problem in different parts of the city. Sodium Chloride used to melt snow is corroding electrician lines, according to Con Edison and this MIGHT be related to my electrical problem. Anyway, Con Edison says they won't send a technician here to make any inspections until the "smoking manhole" problem is taken care of first.
I'm going to stop acting as if I'm a licensed electrician and just LET THE EXPERTS DO THEIR JOB!!!!
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wrote:

The outages here shut down my computer sometimes. This has been too disruptive too often. I ask my next door neighbor if they noticed any flickering after it occurs here, but they have reported no such thing. I'm not certain that the problem is with only my house, though.
You're probably right about my directing the electrician too much. Someone more aggressive might have suggested shutting off the power and inspecting the main breakers, etc. I ASSUMED that if he felt this necessary to diagnose the problem, he'd suggest it. Eh, I'll shut my mouth next time and just ask him to do whatever is necessary to find the source of trouble.
Con Edison reported that no other customers in the area filed any complaints regarding flickering, outages. They did mention something about a "smoking manhole" problem in different parts of the city. Sodium Chloride used to melt snow is corroding electrician lines, according to Con Edison and this MIGHT be related to my electrical problem. Anyway, Con Edison says they won't send a technician here to make any inspections until the "smoking manhole" problem is taken care of first.
I'm going to stop acting as if I'm a licensed electrician and just LET THE EXPERTS DO THEIR JOB!!!!
FWIW, any professional is going to do that regardless of what you say, know, or think you know. Do you have a single main circuit breaker in this service, and if so, what make, size, and color is it?
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I have a black-colored 100-AMP double pole main circuit breaker, manufactured by "Murray Mfg. Corp."
It's about L:2.5" W:2" H: 3"
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wrote:

I have a black-colored 100-AMP double pole main circuit breaker, manufactured by "Murray Mfg. Corp."
It's about L:2.5" W:2" H: 3"
I had an incident with a Murray 150 amp main breaker that went bad. It was a similar situation to yours, and I couldn't find the fault. I had the utility company come out (NYSEG) and check the transformer connections and everything was good. The only thing I hadn't inspected was the main breaker, and only because it was cool to the touch. I've seen plenty of breakers burn up internally, but when this happens, they're always hot. Once I pulled the breaker, it was obvious that a bad connection with the panel buss annealed the buss metal and caused the flickering. Your particular main breaker is much smaller, so I'm sure it would have heated up noticeably, if it was the problem
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Thank you for the information.
How did you treat the annealed buss metal?
One time when I noticed flickering, I went to the circuit breaker box and touched all the breakers, but did not notice any heat.
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wrote:

Thank you for the information.
How did you treat the annealed buss metal?
One time when I noticed flickering, I went to the circuit breaker box and touched all the breakers, but did not notice any heat.
The time to check for this is when the flickering is occurring. If the bad connection is in the main breaker, touching your palm to the breaker should reveal the heat. You may also smell an acrid aroma, and hear hissing or sizzling. Of course none of this will show up until the breaker is really toast. If you remove the panel cover and expose the breaker, a visual check of the sides of the breaker may reveal discoloration or charring of the plastic. Most often when I've seen the style of breaker you have, go bad, it'll burn a hole through the side of the breaker. The buss was destroyed in the panel I described. I replaced the entire panel and breakers. I'll link pictures of the front of the breaker, which looks fine, the back of the breaker, where you can see one connection is copper colored, and the other is gray from overheating, and a picture of the section of annealed buss in the panel
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b97/royapples/Damaged%20Breaker%20panel/Circuitbreakerandpaneldamage006.jpg
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b97/royapples/Damaged%20Breaker%20panel/Circuitbreakerandpaneldamage008.jpg
http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b97/royapples/Damaged%20Breaker%20panel/Circuitbreakerandpaneldamage005.jpg
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