Electrical Grid Connection Services in Melbourne: What does this Job Entail?

December 12, 2018

Homes in and around Melbourne are hooked into the mains electricity supply. In this grid, overhead lines and power poles and underground cables create a power transmission network, which terminates at a substation. Through switchgear housings and step-down transformers, residentially-sized low-voltage power lines make their way towards a property. Here, in the connection pit, the armoured cable arrives at the meter side connector.

The Meter-Side Enclosure

Arriving as a separate utility line or as part of a common services pit, the cable makes its way over from the nearest substation. There are cable pullers on site. Their duties are over. The trench is being backfilled, and the excavation vehicles are cooling their engines. It's time for the electrical contractors to leave the warm Melbourne air behind and drop down into the termination pit. This is the site where the grid electricity enters. It's stripped back. Layers of plastic and rubber are cut away. Hydraulic crimpers are next on the installation tech's agenda. He's done this job a thousand times before, and he knows the procedure by heart. Specially powered hydraulic cutters and crimpers prep the conductors while the tech's mate configures the earthing side of things. Incidentally, that could be a separate conductor, the metal armouring around the mains cable, or it could even be an entirely separate earthing electrode, which is located inside a second pit.

Sealing the End-Phase Grid Connection

A remarkable array of tools and equipment are carefully positioned around the pit. There are powered cable cutters and crimpers. Liquid solder could be in there, too, coating the wires so that they conduct electricity to the max. Filling the termination, a simple screw-type compression connector gets the job done. Alternatively, for large-diameter armoured cables, bitumen-filled mechanical joints fill open voids while special sleeves and collars anchor the armoured cable strands. And, as we said at the start, all of this work is required to get the distribution-side cables safely hooked into the meter. That's the Melbourne-based power company's property. It's their responsibility, their stage of the proceedings to sub-contract and install. Finally, getting the work done, the trenching team need permits. They also need to do their homework.

Trenching teams and electrical contractors know all about power transmission lines. They know how the grid works, how power is generated and sent via overhead pylons to switching stations and transformers. Beyond the technical side of things, though, in Melbourne as with any other city, there are other duties to plough through. Is this a pole to underground cable project? Are all the relevant permits in hand? Confirmed, often in triplicate, the filled in paperwork allows the contractor to turn a lonely, power-isolated property into powered part of Victoria's grid-enabled roadmap.

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