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Service upgrade: who is responsabe for each part of the process?

Service upgrade: who is responsabe for each part of the process?

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  #1  
Old 11-18-10, 07:54 AM
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Service upgrade: who is responsabe for each part of the process?

In a nutshell, I have 100 amp service. I want 200 amp service. I have a 100 amp main panel directly through the wall from the outside meter and a 100 amp sub-panel about 20 feet away.

My theoretical plan is to install a 200 amp meter socket load center outside (example) , and then treat both panels as sub-panels running 100 amp service to each. This avoids lots of rewiring. That way the only modification necessary is adding two feet to the sub-panel leads, running it through the same conduit through the wall, and connecting it to a second 100 amp 2-pole breaker in the new load center; And of course updating the grounding/bonding of the panels.

Questions:
Who is typically responsible for each part of the service components into the house? I just want to make sure I don't get jerked around by the power company's customer service. For example, do I have the power company replace the wires from the street to the house, (or even all the way from the boot to the meter) if this is a service upgrade?

What is the typical process? do I have them cut power in the morning and I replace the box, run leads from the meter socket to the boot, and have them turn power back on?

(power company is Illuminating Company aka Ohio Edison, a first energy corp power company, if anyone can share more more details form experience with this power company.)
 
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  #2  
Old 11-18-10, 08:06 AM
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I'm sure the electricians will be along later with better/more info

Our local power company owns the meter box [they give it to you along with the permit] On underground service they supply and hook up the wire from the pole to the meter. On an overhead service, you supply the wire up and about 3' past the weather head. Everything on your side of the meter is your responsibility.
 
  #3  
Old 11-18-10, 08:20 AM
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Why do you want to upgrade? Are you planning on adding any large electrical loads? Can you get a permit in your township for this work?

Most power companies will not reconnect until the work has been inspected.
 
  #4  
Old 11-18-10, 08:40 AM
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I had an electrician replace my 100 amp panel with a 200 amp panel.
He determined that the wires from the pole were adequate for 200 amps, he pulled the permit and he contacted the POCO.

In my area a licensed electrician can connect/disconnect the POCO meter during maintenance or upgrades. All he has to do is call them for permission. A couple of days after he finished the job a POCO guy came out and put a new seal on the meter.

Why not call the POCO customer service and ask them about their policy? Or ask your electrician, he should know.
 
  #5  
Old 11-18-10, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
Why do you want to upgrade? Are you planning on adding any large electrical loads?
When upgrading from a mid-century kitchen to modern appliances, my load increases significantly. For example, an induction cooktop will be 40A (four burners on high), double oven is about 30A in practice (two 3250 watt broil elements), Air Conditioner compressor is about 20A after starting. Clothes Dryer probably around 20 amps after motor start, plus small appliances, plus lighting, plus furnace blower, etc. A rough load calculation exceeds 100 Amps, not by a lot, but if by using a meter socket load center, I avoid changing the panels, why not upgrade to 200A service? Plus my meter socket is rusted and needs to be replaced anyway.
 
  #6  
Old 11-18-10, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by jm949 View Post
and then treat both panels as sub-panels running 100 amp service to each.
This is a workable plan, but you will probably need to install a meter/main combo panel outside. In that main panel, you would install two 100A breakers to feed your indoor subpanels.

Who is typically responsible for each part of the service components into the house?
Generally the homeowner is responsible for everything up to the weatherhead, and the power company is responsible for everything from the weatherhead to the pole. However, every company has some nuance to deal with. For example in my area the power company provides basic meter sockets for free, but it is the homeowner's responsibility to install it or hire an electrician to install it correctly. For other meter sockets, you can only buy from their "approved list".

For example, do I have the power company replace the wires from the street to the house, (or even all the way from the boot to the meter) if this is a service upgrade?
They probably will not replace the service drop (pole to house), but you will need to replace the wires from the meter socket up to the weatherhead. You usually leave about 2-3' of wire hanging up there and the lineman will connect it.

What is the typical process? do I have them cut power in the morning and I replace the box, run leads from the meter socket to the boot, and have them turn power back on?
It's hard for a homeowner to complete in one day, but you can probably pull it off if you get appointments with the poco and inspector, and get some work done in advance. Disconnect by the power company first thing in the morning, tear out old, get all the new service work done, call your inspector out to get an approval card on the service, get poco back out to reconnect. You'll be without power overnight if you miss any of those appointments. The inspector will probably be able to just approve the service that first day if you don't have all the branch circuits connected yet.
 
  #7  
Old 11-18-10, 07:59 PM
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Here, (in another First Energy Corp area), it costs approx $150 for a linesman to come out and disconnect/reconnect the service ($150 each time). By the time you do that, it may be worth it to just hire an electrician who has the experience/equipment to make the connection live. You may be able to find an electrician who will do the line/meter/first panel install, and you can do the remainder. An electrician will also know how to work with the POCO to ensure you have basically no downtime.
 
  #8  
Old 11-18-10, 08:04 PM
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My theoretical plan is to install a 200 amp meter socket load center outside (example) , and then treat both panels as sub-panels running 100 amp service to each. This avoids lots of rewiring. That way the only modification necessary is adding two feet to the sub-panel leads, running it through the same conduit through the wall, and connecting it to a second 100 amp 2-pole breaker in the new load center; And of course updating the grounding/bonding of the panels.
You never mentioned if you currently have overhead or underground service, but I am assuming it is overhead. Now that you'll have 2 subpanels instead of one main panel and one subpanel, you can't just extend the existing wiring to the present main panel because it is now a subpanel requiring 4 wires and separated neutral bus and ground bar. You'll have to add the ground bar and separate the neutral and ground wires to the appropriate bar in that panel. Wiring the 2nd subpanel is the same. Grounding the neutral conductor in your new service will now be done at the new panel outside, after that the neutral and grounds in the two branch feeders are separate to each subpanel (4 wires to each panel). This is a doable project, but will probably take at least 2 days for a DIYer, if DIY is allowed in your area.
 
  #9  
Old 11-19-10, 06:32 PM
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What I would do is to install the new meter/main in a position where the feeder to the existing sub-panel would be long enough to re-route to the new meter/main. Install the meter/main along with the new grounding electrode system, the mast and service conductors and any guys/braces necessary and get it inspected. Call the utility and while they are moving the overhead drop (or installing a new drop) move the feeder for the sub-panel from the old service panel to the new meter/main. This gives you power in at least part of the house as soon as the utility finishes their work. Then run a new four-conductor feeder from the new meter/main to the old service panel, remove the neutral/ground bond and re-connect all the equipment grounds properly.

This would minimize the time without power and also allow for a single trip by the utility. Depending on the inspector he/she may want to do a subsequent inspection after all the changes have been made. Note that this is NOT a job for a beginner, you need to thoroughly know and understand the whys and hows of an electrical service BEFORE attempting this project.
 
  #10  
Old 11-19-10, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by jm949 View Post
In a nutshell, I have 100 amp service. I want 200 amp service. I have a 100 amp main panel directly through the wall from the outside meter and a 100 amp sub-panel about 20 feet away.

My theoretical plan is to install a 200 amp meter socket load center outside (example) , and then treat both panels as sub-panels running 100 amp service to each. This avoids lots of rewiring. That way the only modification necessary is adding two feet to the sub-panel leads, running it through the same conduit through the wall, and connecting it to a second 100 amp 2-pole breaker in the new load center; And of course updating the grounding/bonding of the panels.

Questions:
Who is typically responsible for each part of the service components into the house? I just want to make sure I don't get jerked around by the power company's customer service. For example, do I have the power company replace the wires from the street to the house, (or even all the way from the boot to the meter) if this is a service upgrade?

What is the typical process? do I have them cut power in the morning and I replace the box, run leads from the meter socket to the boot, and have them turn power back on?

(power company is Illuminating Company aka Ohio Edison, a first energy corp power company, if anyone can share more more details form experience with this power company.)
Your project is definatly doable. If your a beginner i would definatly hire out an electrician to at least disconnect your service and reconnect it when your done. I highlighted one of your phrases in red. Its not as easy as you make it sound. Your existing SUB panel feed will not be able to go through your main panel and then go to the meter/main combo outside. You will need 2 seperate conduits or SER cable going to the panels from the combo outside. I think SER cable would be the easiest for you to run. The wires that are currently going from your meter to main panel cant stay without making changes. As it was said previously, you need a 4 wire feeder going to your sub panels. Also, all your ground must orginate at the first source of OCP which is outside in the meter/combo. So your ground rods and water pipe grounds must terminate outside. You will need #4 copper going to the water pipe and #6 going to the ground rods. the SER cable should be 2/2/2/4 AL, and you can either run 4/0 SE cable or 2" PVC conduit with (3) 4/0 AL conductors or (3) 2/0 Copper condutors for your service drop.
 
  #11  
Old 11-20-10, 09:09 AM
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If your a beginner i would definatly hire out an electrician to at least disconnect your service and reconnect it when your done.
I agree itís a bad idea for a DIYer to be doing service connections or pulling a meter. In most cases itís not permissible under any circumstance but safety is the important reason not to do it. If they donít know (or forget) to break loads before reconnecting, they could get unexpected sparking or even a serious flash/fire if they become spooked by the sparking if theyíre reconnecting by picking up significant load.

However, if the OP is going to tackle this task while working it dead, I would suggest he call his POCO to determine whether there is a charge or not. While I read one poster saying it costs about $150, that looked extremely high to me. All rates an IOU can charge are established by the state PSC under a tariff for specific service rendered. For service reconnect/disconnect work, they dramatically set the rates far below the real cost to the utility, and then have the general rate paying population absorb the difference in the base rates they are charged. Since First Energy Corp. is a holding co. comprised of four affiliate companies, OP would need to check his specific service provider's tariffs. This is the current approved tariff for Jersey Central Power & Light Co. for the type service at issue . . . http://www.firstenergycorp.com/Resid...ve_12-1-10.pdf. They seemingly charge $22 for a reconnection regardless of whether it was requested by the customer or relates to JCPL cutting the service for non-payment. This tariff for service shows what an electrician can and cannot do at 7.06 & 7.07 . . . http://www.firstenergycorp.com/Resid...e_11-19-10.pdf.

The OP should speak w/ his POCO rep to make sure there is a meeting of the minds as to the charge assessed. If it doesnít seem right, ask the rep the page or section of this PSC approved tariff, and where to view it (usually found at the utilityís website or at the PSCís site). Importantly, make it clear that this service disconnect/reconnect request is for inside service work needing to be performed, and not one related to nonpayment of bills. Some POCOís have a fairly high charge for payment defaults to discourage repeat behavior . . . some donít charge anything at all to do a safety disconnect/reconnect when inside work is involved. It just depends on the utility and what their PSC allows. In any event, I think the disconnect/reconnect of service will be far cheaper having the POCO do it than what an electrician would charge unless the electrician is there to perform other aspects of this job. Remember the recent thread where some electricians were justifying the $200+ charge a customer incurred based on the cost of their truck, investment in tools/equipment and materials they carry, specialized knowledge theyíve acquired, possibly having two guys show up, etc., etc., etc. . . . all of those reasons apply to a utility or even a doctor or other professional . . . I doubt many electricians can afford to compete against a utility that is working under tariffs designed in some cases by the PSC to shift costs to the general rate paying population.
 
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