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You are responsible for power cables on your property

As the property owner, you are responsible for any underground utility service cables that run from your property line up to and including your power meter socket. These lines, most commonly underground cables, would have been installed by the builder or developer when your property was built.

Ordinarily, the electrical service cable to your home operates for many years without a problem—unless a cable fault occurs.

​What is a cable fault?

A cable fault is a failure (or fault) in the service lines that transport electricity to your home or business. Cable faults are a common reason for power outages.

What causes cable faults?

  • Normal aging and natural deterioration over time
  • Accelerated deterioration cause by changing ground conditions such as tree roots, rocky ground conditions, or excessive water
  • Deterioration or overheating due to minor damage.
Damage to the cable at the time of installation or due to excavation work. If the cable fault occurs on your property and maintenance or repairs are required, we will work with you to ensure all repairs are done safely and with minimal disruption to your power service.

​Repairing a cable fault

Once a cable fault has been identified as the probable source of the power outage, how do you fix a power cable?

1. Getting temporary service

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2. Locating the fault

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3. Digging a hole for fault repair

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4. Final inspections and restoration

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​1.  Getting temporary service

When our crews respond to a faulted service, they'll disconnect power to your service line and attempt to set up a temporary service line so that you'll continue to receive power until the faulted cable can be repaired. We try to restore as much power to your home as possible. This is often done using a jumper cable from the meter at your neighbour's home to the power meter at yours, which will provide full temporary power to your home. When this is not possible you may receive half power, or 120V, until the repairs can be made.

Once this temporary service is provided, repairs must be completed within 30 days. After 30 days, temporary power will be disconnected.

Temporary service connections don't affect metering in any way. They are safe and reliable as long as vehicles do not drive over them.

 

2.  Locating the fault

If we find that the electrical service cable failure is on your property, the fault must be located. For single-family homes in Edmonton, we will locate the damage on the cable and perform the repair at no costs to you, so long as the original installation meets EPCOR Standards

However, you are required to pay for excavation and any landscaping restoration. We do not provide excavation services for private properties. All homeowners are responsible for hiring an excavation contractor.

You may also choose to hire a qualified electrician at your own cost to complete the repairs rather than use our free services. The electrician you select will be required to obtain an electrical permit and will need to pass an inspection completed by the City of Edmonton before your power service can be re-energized. Re-energization of an inspected repair can be scheduled through our Metering Department by calling
(780) 412-3288.

Note: The above applies to privately-owned single-family homes only. For commercial properties, multi-family units (townhouses, condos, etc.) or properties that are under ownership of a homebuilder, please contact our Faulted Service Representative.

 

3.  Digging a hole for fault repair

To limit costs, many homeowners opt to excavate the power cable themselves. This is safe if you take certain precautions.

  1. Contact Alberta One-Call before any work begins to locate any other utility lines in the area.
  2. If EPCOR has set up a temporary 120V jumper, you will need to contact our Metering Department at (780) 412-3288 or the Faulted Service Representative to temporarily disconnect power service. This disconnection will allow you to dig around your service line without worrying about the risk of shock or electocution. A minimum notice of 2 business days is required to ensure the disconnection happens on the same day as your excavation.
  3. If EPCOR has set up a temporary service using 240V jumper support from the neighbour's service, you are safe to excavate because the underground electricity cable has been fully disconnected.
  4. Typically, the cable is buried approximately 4 feet underground. However, this depth can vary. Some cables have been found as deep as 6 feet. Ensure that the excavation complies with Part 32 of the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Code (2009).
  5. Use extreme caution when you're exposing the power cable by hand with a shovel, especially if other utilities are buried in the same area. You will be responsible if they are damaged during the excavation.
  6. To complete the repair, we require the hole to be 4 feet wide by 5 feet long, with a minimum of 4 feet of cable exposed. The damaged portion of the cable should be in the middle of the excavation with 2 feet of clean cable on either side.
  7. Clear the hole of any debris or water.
 

4.  Final inspections and restoration

If excavation and repairs take more than 1 day, your power will remain off. We will not reconnect power to your home until repairs are complete and your service has passed inspection.

  • If our crews are doing the repair work, we will also inspect the line.
  • If you hire an electrical contractor, the City of Edmonton will need to complete the inspection.
  • Once the cable has been repaired and tested by EPCOR crews, we will remove the temporary service connection and restore power to your home. We will leave you a notice of completion, which permits you to complete the backfill and any restorative landscaping.

Landscaping and clearance requirements near power equipment

EPCOR maintains the infrastructure that provides safe, reliable electricity to your home or business. When we need to access this equipment, it's important that there's room for our crews to work safely. You can help by ensuring the landscaping on your property is not interfering with our equipment.

Learn more about your responsibilities as a property owner

 


Disclaimer

This webpage provides information regarding safe work practices in relation to EPCOR power facilities. Employers and contractors have responsibilities under the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (Alberta OHS) Act, Code, and Regulation. When there is a conflict between this document and any bylaws, legislation, or regulation, the relevant law prevails. Any reliance placed on this information is strictly at your own risk. EPCOR does not assume any responsibility or liability for any action, loss or damage that arises out of, or is in connection with the information contained in this webpage.