At work today I had to do a 600 amp, three-phase service lay out; they are fairly common in my line of work. The service consisted of a 75kva 480-120/208 transformer, a 600 amp MDP panel, a 600 amp 3R service disconnect, 3-200 amp 3R service disconnects, 3-200 amp MCB panels, 3-meters, and the kilowatt meter. A service of this size I can usually have laid-out and priced with the approval drawings in 20-30 minutes using a computer. If I have to do it by hand, which is very rare, it takes longer. You wouldn’t believe the questions I get concerning these services. People have no concept of how electricity works, and what it takes to distribute and meter it safely. I’m seeing this more and more.
Surely some of you reading this may say that I’m not being fair. After all, I’ve had nearly two years of schooling in electrical systems, 67 credit hours to be exact, not to mention on the job training and ten years of work experience; it should be expected and required of me to know more than the layman. Maybe. But there are books, videos, courses, etc. available to anybody who wants to learn more about electrical systems and how they function. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to learn the basics of electrical distribution. Electricity has been in widespread use for nearly one hundred years; the tools haven’t changed much; even the way it is generated has remained rather consistent. Surely the only things keeping the average person from learning about electricity, it’s uses, it’s generation, it’s equipment, and it’s tools are laziness and stupidity, aren’t they?
I know that some of you who read this probably are thinking that I am nothing more than a total jerk right about now. You may be wondering how I could be so presumptuous to assume that any person who doesn’t possess common knowledge of a skilled trade that requires years of schooling, practice, and on the job training must be nothing more than a lazy fool blissful in his own ignorance. You may be wondering how I could be so callous as to scoff at their questions concerning my trade. You may be wondering why I think it ridiculous for any person not to own a professional set of electrical tools. You may think that I am a creep because even though I do electrical work for a living, I expect people who are not exposed to it very often to have as much knowledge and skill as I do. You might think of me as nothing more than a complete A**hole to expect an amateur to dedicate all of his free time to learning about electricity, otherwise he is not worthy of the knowledge.
Now that I think about it, those of you who think those things may be absolutely correct. But I don’t mean to insult; I am just passionate. With all due respect, shouldn’t I expect everybody to be as passionate as I? Don’t I have a right to do that? I’m just doing my best to be an ambassador to the trade; is that wrong? I know that I get paid for my work in the trade, but shouldn’t I be able to expect the same level of dedication from those who want to learn about it just for fun in the little free time that they have? The bottom line is, I am only trying to get you people off your asses and show you just how rewarding electrical work can be. There’s nothing wrong with that, is there?