Temporary Bypass Cables: A permanent solution for a temporary problem

The information on this webpage is designed to help CenterPoint Energy employees understand more about temporary bypass cables, the purpose they serve our customers, and the processes involved for the employees to learn so that they can assist customers more effectively and efficiently. 

What is a temporary bypass cable and why are they installed?

A temporary bypass is an insulated cable that is ran above ground from the customer’s electric meter to the transformer or pedestal.  The cable provides the customer with electricity service temporarily while an electrician makes repairs to the customer’s underground service drop.  The service drop is the wire between the meter and the transformer.  The diagram below provides a visual of what this looks like.

Diagram of typical residential home and how underground (URD) service is supplied.
Who can have a temporary bypass and who can’t?

Any occupied, single family home can have a temporary bypass cable installed.  Mobile homes, apartments, duplexes, townhomes, vacant homes, model homes, and commercial buildings do not qualify for a temporary bypass due to safety/liability reasons.

The Underground Service Drops are the Customer’s Responsibility

Underground drops are not repaired by CenterPoint Energy.  They run along and through the customer’s property line, therefore making it the customer’s responsibility to fix whenever they become damaged.  

How does the underground service drop get damaged?

In most cases, damage to a customer’s underground service drops are caused by digging.  The damage doesn’t always occur instantaneously, however.  For example,if a customer’s underground service drop has previously been nicked due to digging or excavating and no effect on the electricity service occurs from the initial hit, heavy rainfall can later cause major problems as the moisture seeps into the ground causing the underground service drop to no longer be functional.  When this happens to a customer, a temporary bypass cable installation may be needed.  See the installation page for more details.

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