Changing meter socket

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Old 04-15-04, 11:59 AM
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Changing meter socket

The meter socket at my parents' house has a rust hole in the bottom about 1 1/2 inches across (you can look up and see the lugs), so I'd like to replace it for them. I've done many electrical projects/upgrades. It seems like a fairly easy and straightforward task. Any reason a reasonably knowledgable DIYer should not attempt this? The kicker is that the utility wants $200 just to de-energize and then re-energize the incoming lines. Is there a safe way to perform this task with hot lines?
 
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Old 04-15-04, 01:09 PM
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NO. The lines must be de-energized to remove them from the box to change the box. You can get seriously hurt or killed playing with that type of voltage. As with any electrical repair itís advised to cut power before commencing work. If you are not absolutely sure of what you are doing in this circumstance I think I would consider contacting a licensed electrical contractor for this particular repair.
 
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Old 04-15-04, 03:15 PM
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Usually when the meter box is replaced so is the cable between the utility drop and the main panel. You don't want to pay them twice to shut off and reconnect the power. Most utilities will allow you to disconnect/reconnect the power (if you are an electrician), and they'll only come (for free in my area) to check the work and reseal the box.
You have to do the actual replacement de-energized. Cutting the power off at the utility drop is not difficult, but connecting it back up is. I would suck it up, pay the utility to do the actual connection/disconnection and do the work by yourself if you feel confident that you can. The stakes are much higher now.. and you have to also consider how long you can stay without power. Some areas will also require you to get a permit for this, and bring the whole line from utility drop to main panel up to current code.
 
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Old 04-15-04, 03:20 PM
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Thanks. I am curious as to why, absent an upgrade, the cable between the meter socket and the main panel is normally replaced when the socket is replaced.
 
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Old 04-15-04, 06:37 PM
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Because if the meter base is that badly rusted the wire inside the cable can't be that much better. Where do you think the water came from? Down through the inside of the cable.
It's not worth doing this work and not replacing the $50 worth of cable while you have the meter apart.

MOST areas will not let a DIY do a disconnect/reconnect. We have to be on an approved list to do them. If you do and are not on the list you'd better not get caught, hurt, kill yourself or someone else. If you do, your parents will either be visiting the jail or cemetery.

I agree, either suck it up and have a professional do the work or pay the required fee for a disconnect/reconnect. Again, most areas with this policy want an inspection BEFORE they'll re-energize. Arranging for an inspector for that day is a must.
 
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Old 04-15-04, 07:27 PM
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I agree with the others, this is not your run-o-the mill DIY job.As Speedy said if the meter is rusted the service cable must be pretty deteriorated as well.I recommend getting a few quotes from pros.
 
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Old 04-15-04, 07:31 PM
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In my area I charge $300 for a cable/meter change,that without a shutdown.
 
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Old 04-16-04, 07:46 AM
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Only $300? It will run at least $700 for a full replacement between the main panel and the service drop. This is all done in metal conduit.

If the service cable is AL, it should definetly be replaced. AL doesn't like to be retorqued. But the biggest reason why we always replace it is because 99% of the time the old wire is too short. Old meter sockets were very tiny. The new ones are much larger, and you need a lot more cable to reach the lugs.

You'll also probably need to run a grounding rod and ground the meter socket.
 
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Old 04-16-04, 08:38 AM
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Okay. I am convinced. There are many obviously many factors involved that I was not aware of. Now if only I can convince my parents that they really need to get this done...
 
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Old 04-16-04, 09:26 AM
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Eclipse,

You might call CPP and ask about unsafe conditions and if they have any previsions regarding these issues. I just noticed you are from Cleveland, I am from Eastlake. If you have an old drop 3 single lines coming in ask what the charge is for an upgrade too a 100 amp. Service this may be a situation where they will wave the fee. Good Luck
 
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Old 04-17-04, 06:05 PM
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Trinitro,
Is the # you gave for a new length of pipe aswell? $300 will egt you a new service cable from connection point to panel and include a new meter, groundrod and all associated material in the Philadelphia area.
 
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Old 04-17-04, 06:37 PM
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Originally posted by ampz
$300 will egt you a new service cable from connection point to panel and include a new meter, groundrod and all associated material in the Philadelphia area.
That's insane.
A new 200 amp service averages $1200. How can one justify $900 just to replace the panel?
Even a 100 amp is usually around $900 complete.

I'm really surprised it's so cheap in Philly considering it's such a large city.

Our POCO just recently went to charging for discon/recon.
 
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Old 04-18-04, 08:40 AM
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Something else to consider in a DIY environment. If the utility finds you with it's meter seal cut and you fiddling with the meter, they may suspect tampering (ie-theft of service). That happens to be a third degree felony in our state.

I like the idea above about the incoming service. If it is delapidated enough (read that as unsafe) to warrant replacing, you may convince the utility of that neccessity and get them to waive the fee. Just make sure you coordinate everything timing wise and get your electrician there at the same time they are.
 
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Old 04-19-04, 07:47 AM
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$700 will buy you a new meter socket, 1 1/4" EMT between the service drop and the existing main panel and the wiring between (#2 copper). A ground rod will also be installed next to the socket. If it's really easy the price may be slightly lower (i.e. no need to drill a 1 1/2" hole through 14" of concrete. )
 
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Old 04-19-04, 06:52 PM
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Pete the $300 is for a 100amp cable/meter can change only not for a complete service. I assumed the eclipse's parents serivce was 100a. For a 100a service {panel,meter,cable,rod,& related material} the cost is $600-$750. A 200a will cost you as you said $1200-$1300 in my neck-o-the woods.Sorry for the confusion.Philly does not require residential service drops to be in conduit.
 
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