Pulling the meter

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Old 09-25-05, 08:03 AM
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Pulling the meter

I am trying to replace my old 100 amp service panel with a new one. Nothing tricky inside, just replacing the old 100 amp circuit breaker panel (which only has 10 breaker positions) with a new one that has 20. I have done this kind of thing before, and usually I can just pull the meter outside to cut the power. This particular meter (GE TM 900) doesn't look like it just pulls out. Instead, the glass cover twists off, exposing the inside mechanics. Is there a trick to getting this thing disconnected? I DO live in an area that allows me to do my own electrical work, including the service panel. I also did call the power company before beginning, and they told me it was OK to pull the meter. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.
 
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Old 09-25-05, 08:08 AM
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I am amazed at the sheer STUPIDITY of POCO's letting homeowners pull meters!
This can be MUCH more dangerous than most folks think. Unbelievable.

NO, the glass does not twist off. The internals should NEVER be exposed.

You may have a ringless meter pan. This is where you must take the cover off the meter pan to pull the meter. There is no typical external aluminum ring securing the meter.

PLEASE (!) consider having the POCO come out to pull the meter so you can do this work. Please.

Where are you located?
 
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Old 09-25-05, 08:17 AM
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Actually, there is an aluminum ring around the outside. It looks like any other meter but when I gave it a "tug" the glass began to twist off. As I said, I have done this before and never had that happen. I do have an electrical background with training and experience, although I changed careers about 30 years ago. I just need to cut the power so I can safely replace the service panel.

I will call the power company again and ask them if they will come and disconnect for me. Do they typically charge a fee for that? I'm afraid they will hit me with some kind of ridiculous service charge since they already told me to do it myself.
 

Last edited by mwarney; 09-25-05 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 09-25-05, 09:42 AM
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Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

Thanks!
 
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Old 09-25-05, 10:05 AM
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Don't do it yourself.
 
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Old 09-25-05, 12:59 PM
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While I don't doubt your utility told you you could do this, I really feel the need to refrain from giving any more advice on this subject.
This board is read by thousands of DIY'ers. It is NOT the place of a DIY board to give advice that is widely known as typically way outside the realm of DIY work. Aside from the fact that it is highly illegal in most areas.
Sorry.
 
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Old 09-25-05, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by mwarney
I will call the power company again and ask them if they will come and disconnect for me. Do they typically charge a fee for that? I'm afraid they will hit me with some kind of ridiculous service charge since they already told me to do it myself.
Around here you get one free disconnect per year. It will depend on your POCO policy.
 
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Old 09-26-05, 03:49 AM
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Thank you Joed!
 
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Old 09-26-05, 05:20 AM
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The glass does twist to take it off....which does you absolutely no good whatsoever in getting the meter out. Besides exposing the hot internal parts, it breaks the seal the Utility put on the cover to prevent theft of service and opens you to suspicion.

Our utility will allow a non-employee to pull a meter. Not a practice I am entirely comfortable with. I've had older meters stick and the whole meter can pull off the house.

On the other hand, we don't charge to come pull it as long as we are given notice and aren't asked to do it on a weekend or holiday. Check with your utility and explain what happened. A phone call is cheap!
 
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Old 09-27-05, 04:07 AM
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Thankyou WFO!

Someone from the power company came out and told me that they do get stuck sometimes. He replaced it with a new meter because my old one was wired for an electric water heater (which is long gone from the previous owner). The new meter comes in and out nice and easy. He was very helpful, and told me to call when I was finished and they would come out and replace the seal.

I don't reccommend that inexperienced home owners should be pulling their meter, but if you are an intelligent person with a good knowledge and respect for electricity, this really is pretty straight forward and simple.
 
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Old 09-27-05, 05:04 AM
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Thumbs up

Quote:

"I don't reccommend that inexperienced home owners should be pulling their meter, but if you are an intelligent person with a good knowledge and respect for electricity, this really is pretty straight forward and simple."

Probably true. However, intelligence, knowledge, and respect are hard commodities to judge, particullarly over the internet. The last thing you want to do offering advice is get someone hurt.

You would be amazed how many people that we've tryed to talk through the act of merely re-setting their breaker over the phone. It's like talking to a 2 year old.
And one guy that was stealing electricity started a fire when he tried to pull the meter.....ended up burning the house down.

Good luck on your repairs!
 
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Old 09-27-05, 08:02 AM
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In my area, licensed electricians are allowed to remove and reset meters and then notify the local utility to come out and inspect/re-seal the meter. As an electrician, you have to be prepared for the worst. More than once, we've had the guts to the meter socket start to come out with the meter. In these cases, the bakelite or plastic material insulating the socket lugs was either broken or had degraded to the point to where it easily fragmented. There have been a number of occasions where I've had to stop pulling the meter and cut the conductors at the weatherhead. This requires that the meter socket or guts be replaced (if the guts interchange) and reconnecting the conductors at the weatherhead. Again, we are allowed to do this as long as we use the appropriate connections. The crimper and dies to handle the various wire sizes requires about a $400 investment in tools and another $300-$400 or so worth of connectors (barrell sleeves, copper crimpits, etc.) to have available. Of course you have to use rubber gloves (class 0) for this and those don't come cheap either. It gets a little tricky when the service drop is attached to the mast. In these cases you have to temporarily hold the service drop some other way. (On many occasions, it is necessary to lower the service drop anyway to get tree limbs off it.) When you're going down the street repairing meter loops torn off of houses by storms/trees falling on the service drop, it is not practical to coordinate a utility person at each location and so we operate as quasi-utility contractors (with the utility's blessing). We don't bill the utility for any of the work that would normally be theirs. We bill the customer. But it saves our customers a lot of time and money in the long run by not having to make two trips and wait on the utility to disconnect/reconnect service drops.

From my experience, I would not recommend that anyone other than a qualified utility employee or a qualified electrician pull a meter. Notice that I said "qualified". We've done service work for the utilty company when a collector pulled a meter for non-pay and the guts came apart. I'm not even sure a firefighter should pull a meter on a burning structure. Not long ago, a firefighter pulled an instrument rated meter (because he didn't know the difference) and caused more problems than he solved.
 
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Old 09-28-05, 05:36 AM
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Thanks to everyone here for the valuable input. I am glad I took the advice from the folks here and called the power company!!!
 
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