After a hurricane or a strong storm topples trees on overhead powerlines running to homes, many property owners are surprised – and not in a good way — to learn that it’s their responsibility to repair damaged weatherheads before their electrical service can be restored.

What’s a weatherhead, you wonder?

If you live in an older Orlando neighborhood with overhead powerlines, you may have one on your house. Often situated atop a pipe rising from a roof, a weatherhead is a rounded, water-proof cap where overhead electrical service cables connect with a home and run to the meter. OUC is responsible for maintaining the service cable from the utility pole to the weatherhead, but not the weatherhead itself.

“Many homeowners don’t realize this until a severe storm blows through and knocks down trees on powerlines,” said Jeff Mann, Manager of OUC System Operations, Electric & Water Distribution. “It’s our line crews that tell them they’ll need to fix their damaged weatherhead before we can reconnect our lines to their homes. We can’t work on anyone’s equipment but our own.”

While a handy homeowner could repair the weatherhead, the job is best left to a certified and licensed electrician. Click here for a list of OUC’s preferred contractors and scroll down to “electrical.”

Shawn Boone, electrical service manager for Ferran Services & Contracting, an OUC preferred contractor, said a permit is required to replace a weatherhead. “If it’s bent over, you’re replacing it,” he said.

A weatherhead repair typically takes about five hours, Boone said, but an electrician can’t start working on it until fallen trees have been removed and roof or siding damage near it has been fixed.

In the aftermaths of catastrophic storms, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, local governing authorities may waive permit fees and relax inspection requirements to help speed recovery.