Jaws Burnt On Meter Board

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  #1  
Old 10-17-14, 08:13 AM
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Jaws Burnt On Meter Board

So while at work, someone from the electric company was out here to replace the meter (nothing we were aware of) and left a note in the door that read "Both line side jaws burnt at meter board. Need replacing."

We've had no problems with our electic service. We did call to verify this is legit, and they said we need to have an electrician fix the problem within 30 days.

Not knowing what this was, I Googled the term. While I didn't find much, I found an old post somewhere asking a similar question, and the answer given was that the electric company should be replacing it.

One thing I do know, is the terms "line" and "load". "Line side" says to me means it's the street side whereas "Load" would mean inside, so I would tend to agree that it's their problem.

Before I call for estimates, can I get some opinions of what something like should cost, and whether or not it should even be my problem?

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-17-14, 08:55 AM
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In some areas of the country the PoCo owns the meter pan. In most parts of the country though, the PoCo liability stops at the weather head connection point. You need to find out who is responsible in your area. Most electricians in your area will know this info. This is not something you want to ignore for too long.
 
  #3  
Old 10-17-14, 08:57 AM
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Meter board or meter socket ? The metering equipment is customer-provided equipment , so you are responsible for it.
 
  #4  
Old 10-17-14, 09:40 AM
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More than likely it's going to be your responsibility. Here in NJ the power companies no longer supply meter pans for residential service and don't service the meter pans either.

The pans are very inexpensive. The cost will be how much disconnecting needs to be done to get the meter pan out. Things like underground service and conduit to top of pan from overhead service are key factors.

A picture would be a big help. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...rt-images.html
 
  #5  
Old 10-17-14, 10:53 AM
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And note, this isn't a "do it yerselfer" task, you need a professional.
 
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Old 10-17-14, 12:04 PM
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And note, this isn't a "do it yerselfer" task, you need a professional.
Would you like to explain that? Sure he may need an electrician or the PoCo to pull the meter and disconnect the feeds, but why couldn't he do the actual changeover of the box? At my place the meter is integrated with the breaker box on an outside wall. I've talked to both electricians and PoCo people and they said the meter can be pulled (PoCo property) and the power can be disconnected before the feed(?) so that the panel could be replaced cold. Then they come back, re-install the meter, re-connect the feed. Takes longer sure...but in some locales it could be done by a competent homeowner.

Btw...would you please correct your location info? It helps to know what rules people are familiar with when they post advice.
 
  #7  
Old 10-17-14, 01:01 PM
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Please buy a copy of Wiring Simplified and an Analog Multimeter before tacking your service upgrade.
 
  #8  
Old 10-17-14, 01:11 PM
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Just want to mention that unfortunately, it is your responsiblity. PECO's (it's PECO in Phila.) only responsible for the meter itself.
 
  #9  
Old 10-17-14, 03:18 PM
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... before tacking your service upgrade.
He never said he was going to do it himself and it's not a service upgrade, he was asking for basic costs and explanations and even mentioned he was calling for estimates for repair/replacement. From the sounds of it, Philly likely requires a licensed electrician to do the work, as do many East Coast cities.

Critical...line or load doesn't really make any difference, the box is on YOUR side of the PoCo (oops, sorry, PECO) demarcation point. Just like the cable or telco runs a line into a box when a home is built. They may initially supply the box or the builder may provide it, but after that, it's normally on you. They are only responsible for up to the point their cable connects to the box.

I really don't know, but maybe it's possible that the jaws/clips could be replaced w/o replacing the whole thing?
 
  #10  
Old 10-17-14, 04:17 PM
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A picture would certainly help.
You can call your utility to kill the service at the pole so that you/electrician can work safely on replacing the box or repairing the parts.
Most likely you'll at least need to acquire a permit and have it inspected before the utility will reconnect the service.
The city inspector usually sends a confirmation of inspection to the utility which they'll need to confirm before they'll send out their lineman to reconnect the service at the pole.

It used to be that some utilities would distribute meter cans to the customer when a new service was installed. That practice has fallen to the wayside to cut costs and liability.
Even if you have an old provided can, it's yours to replace. The utility most likely will only claim ownership of the meter itself and the wiring up to the weatherhead.

But there's also customer owned poles, so if you're in one of those situations, it gets a little more interesting.

How about why was the guy in your box to replace the meter in the first place? What prompted that replacement?
Also, I'm really surprised they didn't shut off the service since that's a pretty big safety hazard. It is critical to know why there is heat damage at the meter. Is the service undersized? Is a breaker not doing it's job due to a short on the inside?
That's just crazy. I can't believe how irresponsible that was on their part to just walk away.

Get it looked at fast! This is your biggest concern right now. Good Luck!
 
  #11  
Old 10-17-14, 05:34 PM
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They've been replacing meters in all of Philly so they can read them from a distance, rather than coming around. They did send letters out ahead of time, so not sure why the OP didn't get one.
 
  #12  
Old 10-17-14, 08:40 PM
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Too many posts to respond to!

It's quite possible we got a letter about the upgrade. However, my wife handles the bills, so it's quite possible she either tossed it, or didn't think anything of it.

I've gone as far as run a new line and install/replace breakers in my box, but would never think of working on anything prior to the breaker box itself, even if it WAS legal.

We haven't had any problems with any breakers tripping or anything, so I can't think of what could have caused the burnt jaws.

Didn't get a picture, but from the looks of it, the wire comes off the pole to the house, into the meter, then into the house and the breaker box, so I don't see any way to turn off the power without contacting PECO.
 
  #13  
Old 10-17-14, 10:27 PM
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I don't see any way to turn off the power without contacting PECO.
There isn't any way for you to turn off the power.
 
  #14  
Old 10-18-14, 05:38 AM
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good luck sir ...................
 
  #15  
Old 10-18-14, 06:05 AM
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Even if they were replacing the meters,which is how they found the burned jaws ,the socket is probably the customers property,except here in some parts of NH the POCO still supplies the socket and cable.(I am sure we pay somehow)
Geo
 
  #16  
Old 10-18-14, 09:44 AM
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"I've gone as far as run a new line and install/replace breakers in my box, but would never think of working on anything prior to the breaker box itself, even if it WAS legal.

We haven't had any problems with any breakers tripping or anything, so I can't think of what could have caused the burnt jaws.

Didn't get a picture, but from the looks of it, the wire comes off the pole to the house, into the meter, then into the house and the breaker box, so I don't see any way to turn off the power without contacting PECO.

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/electrical-ac-dc/536575-jaws-burnt-meter-board.html#ixzz3GVlXc6T6"


The meter is sealed to prevent anyone but the utility from handling that side of the power to your home. You have to get permission from them just to look into your own meter box. It's their way of preventing abuse of their service.
You can call them to have someone come remove the seal so that an electrician can inspect the box. Then the electrician/you call them back out to re-seal it.

The big concern here right now is the heat issue at the blades. The blades of the socket that the meter inserts into may not be making full contact. A gap in-between will cause arcing and excessive heat that will keep breaking down the socket and will result in a fire or at least some serious voltage issues in your home.

This is a serious safety issue. I don't want to go into all the liability if it isn't corrected. But now that you know there's a problem, your home owners insurance and any resident of your home will expect that you will have corrected it.

Don't waste any more time on this; make the phone call.

Good LUCK & BE SAFE!
 
  #17  
Old 10-18-14, 09:55 AM
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Everything gets old and loose after a while...nothing is forever...just ask my knees. Loose fingers/jaws/clips will cause a little arcing. If the meter has been pulled often for some reason, even more of an issue.
 
  #18  
Old 10-18-14, 10:41 AM
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Everyone keeps saying the same thing! Variations of "This is a serious safety issue. Don't waste any more time on this; make the phone call."

While I appreciate the thoughts and suggestions of everyone here, and I understand this is a serious matter, and I understand that this is a job for a pro, I must point out that after 17 responses, I still have no idea of what price I can be looking at? $100? $500? $1,000? Is it a 15 minute job, an hour job, or a 5-hour job?

I ask because I don't WANT to take the time to call 3-4 electricians to get quotes. If you guys tell me I can expect to pay $200-$300 for this, and the first one I call quotes me $275, I'll do it. I just don't want to be charged $500 for a job that you tell me should be around $150. I actually haven't called anybody yet because I still haven't gotten a ballpark number.

In Philadelphia, there are a lot of scammers. Having one estimate of 2-3 times another estimate is not unusual.


Thanks.
 
  #19  
Old 10-18-14, 10:46 AM
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Depends on what they have to do. If the jaws/clips can be replaced (I kind of doubt it), maybe $150 or so.

If the meter box has to be replaced (likely) more like $500. Only way to really know is to call local electrical contractors. They've probably done this hundreds of times and can give you a rough quote over the phone.

The prices here in Podunk AZ are going to be way less than Philly.
 
  #20  
Old 10-18-14, 10:47 AM
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Prices vary regionally and depend on many factors. Get three estimates and choose the one in the middle. Don't get a phone quote. They often change when the job is actually seen.
 
  #21  
Old 10-18-14, 11:25 AM
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Do you have any neighbors to ask them who they used? Or look in your local phone book. There won't be any scammers in there. Even neighborhoods will vary in price. Chestnut Hill and North Phila will be like night and day!
 
  #22  
Old 10-18-14, 06:54 PM
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Depends on what they have to do. If the jaws/clips can be replaced (I kind of doubt it), maybe $150 or so.
Yes, it all depends on what has to be done. If the meter socket manufacturer is still in business, such as Milbank, the possibility is very good that just the clip/lug blocks can be replaced. The only realistic way to get the parts is to buy a new meter socket to rob the parts from. For a 200 amp socket, figure under $50. If the manufacturer is out of business, such as Anchor or Crouse-Hinds, the entire socket will have to be replaced. The labor difference between repairing the old socket and replacing the socket is night and day. To just replace the clip/lug blocks, a 1-2 hour service call would cover the repair plus waiting time for the utility company to disconnect and reconnect and plus drive time. Also, add in any lost time identifying and acquiring the new socket for parts. If the project manager does this, there likely won't be any labor charges for it, but expect the socket to be marked up.

If the socket has to be replaced, I'd figure about 4 hours to do the job plus the waiting time for the utility to disconnect/reconnect. I wouldn't figure anything under 8 hours for the whole job.

You would be better off to find a highly recommended and trusted contractor and ask him for rates to do the repair as a T&M job.
 
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