# Residential Street Pole Power Lines: How Configured Question, Please ?

• posted
Hello:
Figured that this would be a good site to post my question.
Was looking up at all the poles in my neighborhood that carry power, cable,
etc., and was wondering a bit on how the power lines are configured.
Is this a 3 phase system on these residential street lines ?
From what I see, there are "usually" 3 lines on the upper part of the poles
which I'm reasonably sure are the power lines.
The upper, middle one, I'm guessing is a "high voltage" line.
Correct?
What voltage do they usually carry (residential area, street poles) ?
If so, where is the ground for it ?
What are the other 2 ?
Are they different phases (115 V each relative to some ground ?) after the
high
voltage is reduced via the periodic pole transformers ?
Rather than continue with these questions, might someone please explain how
this is all put together, please ?
Thanks,
Bob
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• posted
| Hello: | | Figured that this would be a good site to post my question. | | Was looking up at all the poles in my neighborhood that carry power, cable, | etc., and was wondering a bit on how the power lines are configured. | | Is this a 3 phase system on these residential street lines ? | | From what I see, there are "usually" 3 lines on the upper part of the poles | which I'm reasonably sure are the power lines.
Sounds like three phase there. Some places have fewer wires and either 1 or 2 of the three phases, depending on what is economical for the power company.
| The upper, middle one, I'm guessing is a "high voltage" line. | Correct?
It depends. There may be a ground wire running. There may be 1 or 2 or 3 of the 3 phases running.
| What voltage do they usually carry (residential area, street poles) ?
In the USA, voltages before transformers generally range from 2300 to 34500 volts. Quite a number of different voltages might be in use depending on the particular power company and the age of that section of distribution. New construction going out in residential areas will typically have one of:
12470/7200 - 12470 volts line-to-line, 7200 volts line-to-ground 13200/7620 - 13200 volts line-to-line, 7620 volts line-to-ground 13800/7970 - 13800 volts line-to-line, 7970 volts line-to-ground
Transformers could have either of the voltages as input. Note whether there is one bushing, or two bushings, on top.
| If so, where is the ground for it ?
Several reasons. It's the return circuit on single phase connections (the lower of the voltage pairs shown above). It serves other purposes as well. It is often attached to a grounding electrode every few to several poles.
| What are the other 2 ? | Are they different phases (115 V each relative to some ground ?) after the | high | voltage is reduced via the periodic pole transformers ?
The wires from the output of transformers are kept lower on the pole. In the USA, the typical voltage is 240/120 split single phase using 3 wires (one is neutral). In some places it can be three phase with 208/120 volts (the high end being slightly lower due to the 120 degree phase angle of sine waves and can be calculated using the square root of 3 (about 1.732) times the line-to-ground voltage).
In other parts of the world, voltages differ, frequencies differ, and three phase may be more readily available, or even required, for residential use. And three phase can come in two basic configurations called "delta" or "wye" (most countries use "star" instead of "wye", but the USA uses "wye").
The USA and some other countries, due to the legacy of single split-phase dual voltage, has ended up with several voltage choices (under 600 volts) available to end users. Europe and some other countries, due to higher voltages and general lack of split-phase, have fewer voltages available because what they do have satisfies the needs better.
In the USA single phase generally is just the 240/120 volt split-phase. But 480 volts, or 480/240 split-phase, is often used for major roadway or tunnel street lighting. Three phase is more complex due to trying to also provide voltages suitable for single phase and/or attempting to use common transformer voltages. The result is voltages like 208/120, 240/139, 416/240, 480/277, or 600/347 (in the "wye" configuration), and 240, 480, or 600 (in the "delta" configuration). The 208/120 wye and 240 delta are intended to supply common single phase 120 volt circuits, too (using a split-phase on one of the three phases for the 240 delta).
Motors designed for 240 delta can usually be connected to 240/139 wye. Likewise, motors designed for 480 delta can usually be connected to 480/277 wye. But the wye configurations have a lower line to ground voltage, which allows using lower cost wiring systems, and is safer for humans.
| Rather than continue with these questions, might someone please explain how | this is all put together, please ?
The specifics vary, but basically high voltage is transformed to low voltage for delivery to the home.
Power distribution (getting power around to customers) and transmission (getting power between power company facilities) uses the term "low voltage" for anything under 600 volts, "medium voltage" up to about 40000 or 50000 volts, and "high voltage" for anything above that.

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