What Do You Do When Your Main Conductor Cable Is Gashed?

Oh, No Do I Have An Emergency Electrical Service Call Need?

Peterson Electric, LLC can help you when your main conductor cable is damaged and power is out in your house. We received a phone call from Dish Network in Loveland, CO about an emergency service call. Was it truly an emergency? Yes, it was.

A technician installing a dish in a client’s house, accidentally drilled two holes through the main SE (Service Entrance) conductor cable at 240-volts. Needless to say the technician blew up his drill bit and felt a jolt, but he was okay. Our customer now had a big electrical problem!

What Is A SER Cable Problem?

The problem with the SE or SER Aluminum Conductor Cable is that it is a soft material and it could have melted the SE Cable in half. The arch happened on a wall where the meter is feed ,by the utilities’ transformer. Typically, the main breaker of most homes, have a high “Fault Current Rating”. This type of short would not trip the main, nor the transformer’s fuses. The arc flash was visible on the OSB board once the drywall was removed.  We had to cut open his brand new home’s drywall in the dining room, to access the SER cable, in order to replace it.

How To Investigate Older Homes SER Cable?

If this had been an older home where the was no main disconnect breaker, then the whole house could have taken the hit and shorted out computers, appliances, smoke detectors, garage door openers, spas etc…… How do you know if your home has a main disconnect breaker? It is really easy to figure out, first go outside and find your meter box, there should be a round meter, this is how your electrical utilities is logged. Look next to the meter or below the meter, do you see a panel cover that can be opened? If you do, open it and look at the top of the panel in the center. Do you see a main breaker? It will say the amps on the breaker handle; either 100amps, 125amps, 150amps or 200amps. If there is no main breaker a the top dead center, then you may have one in the panel in the garage, laundry room or basement. This would look the same as the outside panel, main breaker is in the top dead center. If you do not have either, chances are that your home does not have the added protection. Now days the cities and local fire department require there to be a main disconnect breaker outside next to the meter, encase of a fire they do not have to run around the home trying to find the panel, plus they prefer to hit one switch that kills all of the circuits at once.

Wondering, if you have Aluminum in your house? Probably, so.  Feeders are still current to todays code and is practiced in new homes. There is a difference between Aluminum “Feeder Cables” and “Branch Circuits”, Google it. Tip: branch circuits are the circuits that you plug into and use to turn on your lights daily.

The precaution is to know where your meter is and where the SER cables are going to the panel. Do not drill near there! You might want to be home to communicate these details to the technician! Dish Network installed the dish further back from the meter.


If you have any questions or concerns, we would be more than happy to come out to your home for a 30 minute consult and give a verbal estimate. You can also send us some pictures. (This does not include us using an testing tools for the free estimate, this would be billed as a service call).

Below are pictures to show what happened. The arch, black marks,  below don’t look that big of deal, but they are! By the picture, it doesn’t look like a big deal. The spot is hardly seen, but it was.