Outside Electric Meter

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  #1  
Old 07-24-08, 11:36 AM
C
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Outside Electric Meter

We have a problem with the outside meter. The box and the riser have pulled away from the house, and the utility company is giving us 10 days to fix it. It's been this way for about 20 years, they have known about it that long, and only now decided to insist we get it repaired.

Questions.

Can my son (who worked as an electrician for 2 years) do this work?

Do we need the utility company to remove the lock on the meter and turn off the electricity from outside while he's working?

Do we need a permit for this repair?

Will the utility company require proof of a electrician's license before they will turn off the power and allow him to work on it?

And finally, if I have to call an electrician, what is a ballpark estimate on what they may charge me?

Thank you.

ChristaE
 
  #2  
Old 07-24-08, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ChristaE View Post
Can my son (who worked as an electrician for 2 years) do this work?
If he was an actual electrician, he should have the skills to do this.

Do we need the utility company to remove the lock on the meter and turn off the electricity from outside while he's working?
If the meter box itself needs to be re-mounted, yes. It it important to have the power disconnected, because a serious injury or fire could result if the whole mast fell down while someone was standing there.

Do we need a permit for this repair?
Probably not, although it depends on the extent of the damage that has caused the meter and mast to come loose. If it's just a few screws that pulled out, then it should be no problem.

However if you have rotten wood, termites or water damage which has ruined the structure inside the wall you may need a carpenter to repair it.

Will the utility company require proof of a electrician's license before they will turn off the power and allow him to work on it?
Not usually. Some areas do require licensed electricians, but most do not.

And finally, if I have to call an electrician, what is a ballpark estimate on what they may charge me?
Assuming there's no damage to the electrical components, you probably do not need an electrician. You just need someone to securely remount the box and mast.
 
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Old 07-24-08, 02:16 PM
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Why not just have your son ask his boss for some help...
 
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Old 07-24-08, 06:24 PM
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I don't know where you live but here in South Florida, you wouldn't be able to get FPL to reconnect without a permit and an inspection.
 
  #5  
Old 07-24-08, 09:11 PM
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Agreed, as long as the riser is in good condition, it'll probably just need some new straps and a dozen or so screws. Many older installations were attached with nails which sometimes work their way out over time.

Re-mounting the meter pan is a different story. You (or someone not very experienced) don't want to go into that box with a screwdriver regardless of how careful you are. I'm sure you'd be able to find a nice electrician who will come out and charge you for only half an hour or an hour to do this. ($75 or 100 in his pocket for about 15 minutes of work - well worth it if you ask me).
 
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Old 07-24-08, 09:49 PM
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It can be done with power on if you are lucky. I have done it but I can't recommend it without seeing it and knowing the skill level of the person doing it. The only safe way of knowing the skill level of the person doing it is to hire a licensed electrician.

DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU DO IT but if your son feels confident here is what I did. The very first thing I did was secure the traveler of the drop with a rope so there was no way for the line to drop. A second rope was used to pull the mast in. I was very careful to examine the insulation on the drop. The insulation on the drop looking good is not a sure sign it is safe to work with but any cracking is a sure sign you should not go near it.

There is no safe way for a DIYer to secure the meter can with the drop connected at the pole so don't even think about trying if you are working live. Pulling the meter will NOT make it safe. You will have to rely on a well secured mast and well secures panel to hold it.

To secure the panel you will need to first shut off the main. breaker. If there is no main breaker it is NOT SAFE for you to work on. Call the electrician.. If there are holes in the back of the panel well below the main breaker and not with in an inch of the buss bars maybe you can do it. Do Not use a battery screw driver. Too easy to slip and go to the wrong place. Use an approved insulated screwdriver with an insulated shaft. (That'll cost about a third of what you are saving by not hiring an electrician. See your not going to save as much as you thought and your risking your life..)

If no holes in the back of the panel you can't do it. A drill throwing metal shavings in a box even with the main breaker off is too DANGEROUS and if the drill slips heaven knows what it might hit. (Well you may be able to tell Heaven where it went.)
 
 

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