Can I cut power to panel without involving power co.?

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  #1  
Old 08-31-11, 11:15 PM
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Can I cut power to panel without involving power co.?

Want to change a breaker. Need to cut power to panel.
Problem: No main cutoff. Power is cut by removing meter.
Problem: Meter is locked and is a smart meter on top of that.

I've seen enough "how to remove meter lock" hacks on YouTube so I think I could get it off with little difficulty. But, being a smart meter, would doing so set off red flags at the power co and trigger repercussions? Just wondering.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-01-11, 12:08 AM
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Don't even think about pulling your meter. It takes special training and protective equipment to safely pull a meter.

And if by the term "smart meter" you mean that it is monitored and read remotely then yes, the power company will know within minutes of you pulling it.
 
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Old 09-01-11, 04:07 AM
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I don't understand why you don't have a main disconnect? You generally don't need to de-energize the panel to change out a circuit breaker. If you are uncomfortable working within the energized box, then you may be safer to call a professional. Why do you see the need to change the breaker. Can you post a couple of pix of the panel so we can see what you see? http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
 
  #4  
Old 09-01-11, 09:18 AM
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Yes they will know if you remove the meter and tamper with the lock. Even though it's a smart meter they still have inspectors come around occasionally to check the locks and verify the electronic meter is working correctly, so they will find the broken lock eventually. In most jurisdictions they can fine you, cut off service for tampering with the meter and force you to have an inspection and audit to prove you weren't stealing power. Not only that but it can be dangerous to do this yourself. Most of the time a meter pull goes off without a hitch, but when it goes bad it goes really bad.
 
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Old 09-02-11, 09:42 AM
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Most of the time a meter pull goes off without a hitch, but when it goes bad it goes really bad.
And most people only make a fatal mistake once.
 
  #6  
Old 09-02-11, 06:21 PM
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when the fuse at the road is thrown open from a "lightning storm" there is no power in my home
 
  #7  
Old 09-02-11, 06:32 PM
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Can you explain the danger in pulling the meter? I have had to do this once, but luckily I called the POCO and they came out same day - had the fix done before he finished his paperwork and he popped it back in for me. What exactly can go wrong? If your not pulling loads on your side of the service there shouldn't even be an arc.
 
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Old 09-02-11, 07:17 PM
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Google "arc flash blast" to see what can go wrong.

Warning some content can be very graphic.
 
  #9  
Old 09-02-11, 07:27 PM
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i would bet that most meter pulls by the poco are not done live...in rural ontario where i live they always use that big long stick and open the fuse at the pole before doing any work at the meter. why take a chance with that arc blow stuff if you don't need too?

i will admit to helping that fuse at the pole open a time or two
 
  #10  
Old 09-03-11, 05:04 AM
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Maybe they have a fuse at every residence out in the sticks, but not here in town.
 
  #11  
Old 09-03-11, 07:23 AM
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Most power companies are starting to fuse the primary ahead of pole mounted transformers, but there are still a lot of them connected directly to the line with no fusing. Fusing the primary will not prevent an arc flash incident. Power companies are getting more safety conscious and many are also requiring a horn bypass meter socket for residential use. Bypass capability has been a commercial standard for many years on smaller commercial services (100 to 600 amps). The bypass prevents having to remove a meter under load thus minimizing the possibilty of an arc flash occuring, but it can still happen when metering equipment is in bad shape or has broken components. Often there is no way to realize the jaws or lugs on a meter socket are broken till the meter is halfway out.
 
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Old 09-03-11, 08:10 AM
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The OP hasn't been back, so hopefully it was done properly. It brings back the same question. Why is there no disconnect downstream of the meter. Doesn't make sense.
When I was younger....much younger. I was helping a couple of guys at our local POCO (summer employment) develop an anti flash pad mount suppressor. The original one was only a rubber boot as long as the electrode. It could flash over and all hell would break loose. I've seen safety movies on it, and it ain't pretty. The one they developed was a telescoping bakelite type material that allowed disconnect with the arc contained in the boot. You then, twisted the boot ccw and removed it all. This is not to mention installing a meter sideways
 
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Old 09-03-11, 08:27 AM
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The NEC has a 6 throw rule. No main cut off needed if 6 breaker handles or less. On the older 60 amp services that used to be used there was no need of a main shut off by code. In my time I have encountered far more panels with no main breaker then with a main breaker.

Until I was educated here I never thought twice about changing a breaker hot. I know now I shouldn't have been doing that but when most of the boxes have no main breaker it just seems normal. Not saying you should change a breaker hot. You defiantly should not. Just commenting on how little we use to pay attention to safety.
 
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Old 09-03-11, 09:20 AM
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Most power companies are starting to fuse the primary ahead of pole mounted transformers, but there are still a lot of them connected directly to the line with no fusing
Mine is starting around here on the new ones. I guess theyre sick of them blowing once a month.
 
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Old 09-03-11, 10:15 AM
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I'm sorry, I must be dense, if there is no load being drawn on the customer side, is there still a risk of an arc flash occuring? Doesn't seem so...
 
  #16  
Old 09-03-11, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by chopnhack View Post
I'm sorry, I must be dense, if there is no load being drawn on the customer side, is there still a risk of an arc flash occuring? Doesn't seem so...
Arc flash can also occur if a live conductor or component goes to ground, accidentally. The keyword is Accidentally!
 
  #17  
Old 09-03-11, 01:12 PM
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Thanks Joe, basically if one of the hot leg grounds out as you pull the meter socket out.
 
  #18  
Old 09-06-11, 09:21 AM
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Most meters have been sitting in the jaws for years or decades undisturbed. There is usually a good layer of crud built up and sometime you really have to rock it and use some force to get it loose. In doing so if you accidentally short it out, break a jaw loose, pull a conductor loose, etc you will have an arc flash and the glass meter can even explode.

You also don't really know what kind of condition the wall and fasteners holding the meter is in. Termites, water damage, bad siding, shoddy installation, corroded bolts, etc -- one good yank on the meter and the whole meter, mast and conductors can come down on your head. I've seen a lot of meters mounted to nothing more than the fiberboard sheathing. The require treated wood mounts and stainless fasteners now, but all the existing meters out in the field are just sitting there rotting.
 
  #19  
Old 09-06-11, 11:22 AM
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I have an older house (1966) that has a 150 amp split breaker panel with no main breaker/disconnect but it meets the 6 throw rule as there is a 60 amp breaker for the 120 split part of the panel and up to 5 other 240 volt breakers.

When I needed to install a new breaker in the 240 volt always hot part of the panel the POCO came out and pulled the meter at no charger. They pulled the meter, I seated the new breaker and the put the meter back. Took less then 10 min total.
 
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Old 09-06-11, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by belgarid View Post
I have an older house (1966) that has a 150 amp split breaker panel with no main breaker/disconnect but it meets the 6 throw rule as there is a 60 amp breaker for the 120 split part of the panel and up to 5 other 240 volt breakers.

When I needed to install a new breaker in the 240 volt always hot part of the panel the POCO came out and pulled the meter at no charger. They pulled the meter, I seated the new breaker and the put the meter back. Took less then 10 min total.
You were lucky. Many power companies won't replace the meter after new work has been done till they get a wiring approval (inspection) from the AHJ.
 
  #21  
Old 09-06-11, 06:39 PM
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I checked and they were only concerned if anything in the meter box was touched. I made sure before asking them to remove and reinstall the meter.
 
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