A break from the usual news, with something more personal that hopefully doesn't happen every day: Kabel-BW was supposed to show up and install a cable for a high-speed internet connection on my property. They showed up fairly late towards the evening, installed the cable, and… surprise, no more electricity in the house! The installer called me in and seemed not to understand how a fuse works – he told me that the fuse looked okay, the plastic coating was still hard and there was no switch to flip. He claimed he only bored one hole in the wall, didn't hit any power mains, and that maybe something else was wrong in the house, and then left.
I asked my neighbor (who is an electrician) to have a look. My neighbor came by and tried swapping out the fuse – the old fuse was burnt through, and the new fuse blew right away as well. I interpreted that as somewhere, there was a short circuit.
After talking to customer service, who refused to do anything until an electrician had demonstrated that they were at fault, I commissioned an electrician in to look at the matter. After about an hour, he found the cause: The cable was mounted to the wall with several screws, and in mounting the screws, the installer had drilled through the main power supply for the house and inserted the screws into the power mains, causing a short circuit. The electrician removed the offending screws, and put up preliminary safety measures in place to secure the site and restore power.
So much for high-speed internet installation! But, that raises a few questions:
1) Why does a technical installer who works with cables containing electricity not know what a fuse is? I know that few houses actually have fuses these days (newer houses have circuit breakers, but older houses don't).
2) How can you short out the power main and not realize it? Usually a spark flies, and I'll bet one flew when the first screw hit the power main…
Image source: „Kurzschluss 12V20A“ von MdE (de) – Eigenes Foto. Lizenziert unter Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 über Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kurzschluss_12V20A.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Kurzschluss_12V20A.jpg