Federal Pacific 200A Meter Socket needed

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  #1  
Old 05-24-11, 04:31 PM
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Federal Pacific 200A Meter Socket needed

Friend of mine lives in an area that the utility "upgraded" all the meters to the newer digital ones. She's in a neighborhood that was built with Federal Pacific StabLok panels. The power company broke the meter socket during the change, but is of course refusing liability. I'm hoping I can find her a new meter socket. I see one on eBay for a 125A panel, but I don't see one anywhere for a 200A. Any of you pros have a source, or know a substitute? I have a picture available of the broken socket. It broke one of the clips on the utility side and the subsequent resistance burned some of the insulation on the feeder, but that looks easy enough to trim and reuse.
 
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  #2  
Old 05-24-11, 05:05 PM
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Federal Pacific has been gone for quite a while so it is highly doubtful you'll find a new FPE socket. That being said, most power companies have a list of approved meter sockets and I can guarantee you there won't be a FPE approved socket on that list. I would check that list to get manufactuer's names and catalog numbers and then go to a supply house to buy a new socket. The big box stores might also carry a few meter sockets, but it is your responsibility (or your contractor's) to purchase and install a socket of the correct catalog number approved by the utility.
 
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Old 05-24-11, 05:10 PM
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While you're at it, replace the panel as the breakers often jam and are notorious for starting fires.
 
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Old 05-24-11, 05:30 PM
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Just to be clear the panel brand does not have to match the meter socket brand. Meter sockets will work with any panel. However if she has a meter socket incorporated into her panel then she will probably need to change the panel.

My question is has she explored the POCO's liability? did they at least jerry rig power for her. Are they going to pay for a replacement? I am having a hard time believing the POCO didn't just replace the meter socket.
 
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Old 05-25-11, 09:02 AM
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Hi Mac, it's been a while!

I can't think of any source to get replacement parts for a Stablok. I doubt that any second hand electrical dealers would even deal in FPE due to the known hazards associated with the brand. Do you think they caused the socket damage or was it already badly corroded just from the poor connections?
 
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Old 05-25-11, 10:41 AM
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Yeah, guys, I'm familiar with the bad rep of the StabLoks. But it's not my panel or my money being spent trying to fix this, so I am exploring all options for her. For those who don't know me, I'm a electrician, but I just have never had to do a meter socket before that wasn't already part of a combo panel that I was installing.

She does have power now. The way she tells it is that the first meter installer kept forcing the new meter into position, even causing the wall of the house to shake. A few days later, she dropped a phase. The next guy that came out took off the meter and found a broken clip and burned tip of one of the riser wires. She took a pic with her cell phone before the guy did a temporary repair and replaced the meter, which went on very smoothly with no forcing. He said he felt comfortable putting it back together and restoring power, but he recommended replacing the meter socket and that she (of course) consider replacing the panel.

I still have no idea how they are denying liability. Perhaps the age of the panel gets them out of it. Or perhaps she is not persuasive and they feel they can get away with it. But if they had not replaced her meter, she would still be fine. Maybe there was a waiver involved.

Nevada Energy (nee Nevada Power) is a huge monopoly, of course, with zero customer service. I do not expect them to answer any questions, nor would I know who to call in their huge corporation to find out what they would accept as a suitable replacement socket.

I'm very interested in what Ray said. Can I just get any 200A meter socket and bolt it in there?

I need to KNOW because to do the job, the utility will cut the wires in the morning, then I have to do the job, and they will splice it back that afternoon. No room for much error. I haven't even checked yet if she will require a meter tag permit/inspection. I hope not.
 
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Old 05-25-11, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
I do not expect them to answer any questions, nor would I know who to call in their huge corporation to find out what they would accept as a suitable replacement socket.
Up here in Michigan we have the Public Service Commission that oversees the energy and utility companies in the state. I would bet that you have something similar in Nevada where your friend could file a formal complaint.

Can I just get any 200A meter socket and bolt it in there?
You might be able to, but it wouldn't be UL approved anymore. They might refuse to reconnect if the socket isn't on their current approved list.

No room for much error.
Would it be possible to abandon the old meter socket, put in a new one beside the old one (like $50), and feed right into the panel side of the box through a short nipple? You would have to fashion a cover to patch the old meter socket hole or have the power company put in a blank socket cover. It would basically turn the socket-side of the old panel into a wiring gutter.
 
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Old 05-25-11, 03:58 PM
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She took a pic with her cell phone before the guy did a temporary repair and replaced the meter, which went on very smoothly with no forcing. He said he felt comfortable putting it back together and restoring power, but he recommended replacing the meter socket and that she (of course) consider replacing the panel.
It doesn't sound like a meter/panel combo so I would just replace the socket. Go to a nearby supply house and I am sure they will have an approved socket list and stock approved sockets. As far as the FPE panel, if it is in good condition I'd be more comfortable with it than I would be with a 30 year old GE panel regardless of the FPE reputation. After the socket has been replaced and re-energized, she should check to see if the POCO has a claims department and file a claim with them.
 
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Old 05-25-11, 04:16 PM
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Yes, it is a combo meter and panel, meter on top. I will check with the supply house on Friday to see if they are familiar with the meter socket requirements.
 
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Old 05-25-11, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
Yes, it is a combo meter and panel, meter on top. I will check with the supply house on Friday to see if they are familiar with the meter socket requirements.
Combos aren't the typical in my area, but I know they are some places. Since this is a combo, I think I would replace the whole thing. Tell her she should still follow up with the POCO claims department.
 
  #11  
Old 05-26-11, 08:08 AM
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Anything you find with an FPE label on it is almost 30 years old.....period. The only thing that was still made (for a while) here was the breakers through American Circuit Breakers...who later found it was better to buy them from Canada. There is a company called Federal Pioneer in Canada who still makes stab lok panels, breakers, etc. but illegal to sell it here in this country due to agreements with American Circuit Breaker....anyway avoid FPE labels if possble if for no other reason anything you get is OLD.
 
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Old 05-26-11, 05:17 PM
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In the last few years I have seen NEW FPE utility padmount transformers, but not sure who makes them or why they use the old FPE logo. As far as Federal Pioneer circuit breakers, I know a smaller distributor who handles them new. They are a blueish gray in color and design is the old FPE Stab-Loc, available in 1, 2 or 3 pole, either plug-in or bolt-on. I have no idea where they get them.
 
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Old 05-26-11, 06:49 PM
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LOL. I forgot about them....there is an FPE transformer company, I think an offspring from the old days, but not same company. I would think they would have been sued out of existance. The Federal Pioneer is Canadian and some people "bootlegged" them in for a while. Some time has passed and maybe those are no longer impossible to get without that. Anyway, the socket would be hard to find and I doubt anyone would have them on approved list. I guess I am confused as to whether this is a combo meter / panel, a meter center, or just a regular meter socket. Milbank is almost approved by most utilities as long as it it built to specs. Here we have to have horn bypasses and stainless hardware.
 
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Old 05-27-11, 03:26 PM
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Federal Pioneer is made by Schneider Electric.
 
  #15  
Old 05-27-11, 05:21 PM
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Milbank is almost approved by most utilities as long as it it built to specs. Here we have to have horn bypasses and stainless hardware.
They are widely used in my area too and one of the best sockets available in my opinion. We have to have the horn bypass in residential applications here too. What else I like about them is the interior hardware from a new socket fits right in a 40 year old Milbank meter can. Even the screw holes line up.
 
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