How To Get Power Turned Off To The House?

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  #1  
Old 11-12-13, 11:52 AM
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Question How To Get Power Turned Off To The House?

I have to replace the main electrical panel box in the basement. Half of it is rusted. It's literally falling apart.
Replcing it doesn't seem all that complicated. I estimate it'd take me 3-4 hours to remove the wires and connect them back in the new electrical box. The panel and all breakers cost is less than $200.
I called BGE. They told me to find a licensed electrician. I found an electrician in the area. The guy showed up. He immediately stated that I have a major issue on my hands. The wall needs to be removed, the main cable replaced and so on and so on. All in all he quoted me $2,000 for the job if I put the sheet-rock myself after he's done... More if he has to do that...
He also told me that he won't switch the power off for me. Duh, why would he want to loose 2 grand.
I still think I can do it myself. Is there a way to get the power switched of by BGE?
 
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Old 11-12-13, 12:00 PM
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If this panel has the first overcurrent protection device then you can not shut the panel off. You can ask the electric company to pull the meter but they may not do it unless you have a permit. In some areas only a master electrician can pull the permit.

P.S. $2000 is in the ball park for the usual price.
 
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Old 11-12-13, 12:07 PM
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The panel has the big 200A fuse on the top. Is this that overcurrent protection device you're talking about?
How about requesting a stop service on one day and start service on the following? It would still be lot cheaper than the "master electrician", right?

Usual price? It's about $500/hour rate. Even my divorce lawyer charged me less than that...
 
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Old 11-12-13, 12:29 PM
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The panel has the big 200A fuse on the top. Is this that overcurrent protection device you're talking about?
In this case yes and if there are no others in a box closer to the meter then you have no shut off for that box.

How about requesting a stop service on one day and start service on the following? It would still be lot cheaper than the "master electrician", right?
Don't know what that involves but you do need to pull a permit. The fact you are asking such basic questions makes me wonder if this isn't above your skill level. This is not a low level DIY. It is an advanced DIY.
 
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Old 11-12-13, 12:35 PM
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I'd be very surprised if you did not need a permit, have to have the blessing of the building inspector and have him sign off on it before the power company would reconnect the meter.
 
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Old 11-12-13, 12:37 PM
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Usual price? It's about $500/hour rate. Even my divorce lawyer charged me less than that...
The electrician will have to pay at least $300 for the required permit - maybe $500. He will have to coordinate the power off and the power on with BGE. If they know and trust him, they might allow him to pull the meter to start work. The changeout will probably take longer that you think it will, because he will have to test each circuit as he goes. Let's say four hours. Then he'll have to be on site when BGE comes to re-mount and seal the meter. Pretty much a day. Throw in a couple of hundred for miscellaneous materials.

By the time he adds in the annual cost of his license and his insurance bond(s), he might have $800 left. If so, $100/hr. is entirely reasonable for his time. Just like your divorce lawyer, he has to cover the time he spends preparing for the visible work.

He immediately stated that I have a major issue on my hands. The wall needs to be removed, the main cable replaced and so on and so on.
Then you do. He has years of experience and training that enable him to accurately assess the overall condition. His assessment alone suggests that you found someone both knowledgeable and honest.

I had a licensed master replace the service riser and meter base, and feed the panel I'd already mounted, on a house I was rehabbing. That was less work - I know it took him roughly 4 hours, and he only had to step inside long enough to terminate the main feeders.

That cost me $800. Thirty years ago in a less expensive market.

I'd take the bid. You can get two more for comparison if you want to.
 
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Old 11-12-13, 03:38 PM
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All in all he quoted me $2,000 for the job
I actually think that price is a little high if he's using service cable. I cannot remember the last time I saw an estimate come out right at $2,000 even; that's more of a price that he threw at you. I'd call another small contractor and get another price.

He also told me that he won't switch the power off for me.
He'd probably be risking his license and a hefty fine if he got caught doing this for you and the chances of being caught are very good.

How about requesting a stop service on one day and start service on the following?
I think you just might be able to do that. I would guess they would either boot the meter or pulled it and blank the socket. Your problem will be when you request service again and they see you lied to them and changed the service. They'll likely leave you high and dry till they get a wiring approval from the local AHJ.
 
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Old 11-12-13, 04:14 PM
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Most change outs takes us two guys 6-8 hrs, so IMO $2k is about right. If you figure:

200 amp panel
New 200 amp meter socket (around here it is required by the power company to change the meter socket to one with a bypass handle when you change the service)
Somewhere around a dozen AFCI breakers (also required when the service is changed)
Ground rod
Water main ground
New mast (SE cable is not allowed here)
New wire 2/0 Cu or 4/0 AL (Since you have fuses I suspect your wire is not in good shape)
Labor at $90 per hr (Lets see, There is Insurance, Licensing, Bond, Overhead of the tools, trucks, fuel, training, etc.)
 
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Old 11-12-13, 04:23 PM
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I don't know about minimum wage in the states, cost of living, etc. which would dictate a fair hourly rate, but a one man army here would run about $60 - $70/hr labour. $90+ is generally what the big guys charge (the service guy I worked with as a first year charged $160/hr for the two of us).
Just take the hit and pay a couple grand to have the work done. The concept of "swapping wires under new lugs" is simple, but if you don't do all the little things right your house could turn to ash, or you could end up a burnt mess if something explodes. Get it done by a pro. Theres reasons why a journeyman is required to pull permits.
 
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Old 11-12-13, 04:40 PM
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a one man army here would run about $60 - $70/hr labour.
It's $90 to $100 here. This doesn't sound like a 2 man service change to me.
 
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Old 11-12-13, 05:12 PM
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Oh my company was hosing people hard.
He was being paid 38/hr and I was being paid 14/hr.
 
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Old 11-12-13, 05:19 PM
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You will not get BGE to reconnect without seeing an inspection from the local electrical board. They do not even allow a licensed contractor to pull their meters to cut power.

Where are you in Maryland?
 
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Old 11-12-13, 05:23 PM
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They'll likely leave you high and dry till they get a wiring approval from the local AHJ.
That is absolutely correct. The power company would have no problem disconnecting you but will not reconnect without a cut-in card from the inspector.
 
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