As a Master Electrician, I have worked in the electrical field for over 30 years. It has been common practice to use USEB cable for underground electrical services into houses: this is an aluminum cable with two conductors, and a PVC jacket covering. We were recently called to a called to a home where we needed to remove the concrete driveway and dig down 7 feet into the soil and gravel to find the service – it had been blown apart. The cable had been installed into a sand bed and had no rocks pushing against it: and so I was left pondering. Why had it been destroyed?
We repaired the cable, using an approved method of cutting out the broken section and splicing the two halves back together. We called for an electrical inspection. The Inspector then informed me that in five years of inspections, he had seen this exact same scenario over forty times: he thinks that the cables had likely been damaged during installation and on high rain years, like this year, the water gets into the cable and destroys it.
So the question to consider is do we continue using USEB cable for a cheap install and deal with the aftermath later or do we upgrade to a protected cable like an ACWU cable (a cable that has an outer armor of aluminum)? When will our codes catch up to the problems we are having in the field? Please KNOW what kind of service you are getting on your home; be aware. The dangers of using a USEB cable that has been damaged can result in a loss of power, like our customer, or a house fire.
For more info give us a call 1 866 210 0293 or check out our website www.myarcelectric.com