Electricity meter inside sun room (Ontario, Canada)

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  #1  
Old 11-09-15, 08:04 PM
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Electricity meter inside sun room (Ontario, Canada)

I just bought a new house in Toronto (Ontario, Canada) and have a concern about my electricity meter's location.

My Toronto Hydro electricity meter is located inside of a sun room that was built onto the side of the house, long after the house's original construction. So in effect, it's WAS on the outside of the house and then they built a wooden room around it.

I recently had electric work done and when the electrical contractor brought an ESA inspector to look at the house's electrical work, the inspector allegedly said that the electricity meter was in an inappropriate spot and said he was going to report it.

I wasn't there for the exchange with the ESA inspector, but the electrical contractor said that I had the option of either a) moving the meter, b) taking down the sunroom or c) perhaps (ideally) removing all of the wood around the meter so it was back to being only attached to concrete and not surrounded by wood. The walls are a wooden fascia that could be easily removed.

Option C I would be ok with, but I'd like to know where exactly I stand in terms of regulations. I did some googling and looked around on other forums and the Toronto Hydro website, but nothing comes up in regards to meters inside of houses.

Any ideas?
 
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Old 11-09-15, 08:39 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Here.... the service would need to be moved or the sunroom would need to be removed... there would not be a C choice.

I'm actually surprised the power company didn't object. How do they read the meter ?
 
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Old 11-10-15, 04:11 PM
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The rules vary with different power companies and certainly different in different countries in addition to different codes, but I really have to wonder how the sunroom was ever final inspected with the meter inside. In this country a meter being inside isn't an issue as far as the NEC is concerned, but I just don't think any qualified building offical would issue a final in a case like this without at least consulting the local power company.
 
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Old 11-11-15, 07:13 AM
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In my area it is against the power company's current rules, but would probably be grandfathered in if the construction is older. They would not allow this for new construction, but as long as the meter reader had access to the area I don't think the power company would make a deal about it. If you are pulling a permit to replace or modify the service, you would be required to move it but could stay as-is until then. Perhaps if it is obvious the sunroom was added illegally they may have some cause for action, but I think that's a long shot. I regularly come across meters that are on service porches, inside garages and occasionally still inside a basement.
 
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Old 11-11-15, 08:07 AM
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Sounds like it has been inside for a while and I'd be surprised if a meter reader hadn't already reported it. If they have and the meter is still there, it sounds like the POCO (power company) has no issues with it.
 
  #6  
Old 11-11-15, 09:23 AM
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Could it be he has one of those new meters that 'phones home' the reading, no meter reader involved?

Power company in our small city installed them many years ago, haven't seen a meter reader in years.
 
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Old 11-11-15, 06:46 PM
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Could it be he has one of those new meters that 'phones home' the reading, no meter reader involved?
That would be my guess. The OP hasn't been back since the original post.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 12:00 PM
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Sorry, back now, I had some other stuff to deal with.

It is indeed one of the new meters that doesn't need to be physically accessed to be read by power company people. It's possible that no one from Toronto Hydro has been to look at the meter since the sunroom was put up; but I'm guessing the sunroom is at least 10 years old, so that's surprising to me.

The concern cited (allegedly, this is what my electrician told me) by the inspector was a safety one, due to the fact that the meter was surrounded by wood and needs to be on and surrounded by concrete. I feel like this is sort of possible with my option C (removing all the wood immediately around it), however it would still be about 8 inches away from a wooden wall.

"I regularly come across meters that are on service porches, inside garages and occasionally still inside a basement."

- I feel like there are other cases out there, which is where my line of inquiry comes from. While the sunroom door has a lock on it, I could easily remove the lock and allow it to be always accessible to the company.

Apparently I'm going to receive a letter from the power company about it, hopefully that will better inform me what to do!

Thanks everyone for the help so far, and if anyone else pops in with similar experience to relate to I'm still all ears.
 
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Old 11-12-15, 12:37 PM
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was a safety one, due to the fact that the meter was surrounded by wood and needs to be on and surrounded by concrete. -
Millions of meters are fastened to wood siding so what would the extra danger be? Did he only mean the meter couldn't be pulled? If so a slight alteration should be enough.
 
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Old 11-17-15, 06:05 PM
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Got the letter from the ESA. Apparently until Dec 12 to correct the defect of the power meter being inside the sunroom.

From what I can understand from this rule, my options are either:

1. take down the entire sunroom
or
2. build a concrete slab a minimum of 50mm thick all around the cable running to + from the Meter, from above where it enters the sunroom (E.g. sunroom roof) and then below it where it enters the pathway to the electrical board in my basement.

For option 2 I'm not sure exactly where the concrete is expected to end, so it's a bit ambiguous. Overall it's kinda crazy.

Option 1 is pretty straightforward but would be a ton of work and I'll need to start taking it down asap, only 3 1/2 weeks until my deadline to fix the defect. And I lose my sunroom.

Here's the rule itself, via the letter:

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Also for reference, the sunroom with "defective" covering of the meter's cables:

Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet

So, any last thoughts on this before I get the sledgehammer out? FML
 
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Old 11-17-15, 07:08 PM
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So, any last thoughts on this before I get the sledgehammer out? FML
I think I'd just relocate the meter to outside of the sunroom along with a 100 amp disconnect and then run SER cable to the panel. The panel would become a subpanel.
 
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Old 11-17-15, 07:15 PM
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Your pictures are worth 1000 words! From the picture I can see why it is not legal. You have unfused conductors inside the the wall/building. These need to be on the outside.

You are missing one other option. While removing the sun room if more or less free, you could also just have the meter relocated by your electrician. He might need to also add a disconnect and then they can run the feeder anyway they want.
 
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Old 11-18-15, 06:40 AM
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Relocating the meter + adding a disconnect sounds expensive. Probably looking at minimum of $2000, I'm assuming? Could be moved approx 3-5 feet away from its current location.

Note: the meter is directly below the service entry on my roof (i.e. where power enters my home from wire lines above house) and directly above the panel box (in my basement, after the cable makes a quick 90 degree turn into the panel box about a foot from the exterior wall). So it's a straight line as it is, relocating would mean making a re-route around the entire sunroom (and perhaps entering the home through another spot in the basement).
 
  #14  
Old 11-18-15, 07:33 AM
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There's a big cost to relocating the meter, but you get to keep the sunroom. Moving the meter is an improvement. Tearing down the sunroom is moving backwards.

Send the bill to the idiot who built the sunroom .

Bud
 
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Old 11-18-15, 08:30 AM
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If the meter moved 12" to the right, it would be outside, right? You could have your electrician look at doing that. It might not be all that complicated to set a new meter box, erect a mast and run a conduit to the other side of your main panel. The power company could then come out and move the drop 12" to the new mast. Lots of variables involved, but I think it's possible to do for under a $1000 and you can keep your room (assuming the building authority doesn't have some other problem with it).
 
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Old 11-18-15, 08:31 AM
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Probably looking at minimum of $2000, I'm assuming?
Yes, it won't be cheap. This is an issue that should have been brought up before buying the house when you had leverage for negotiations.
 
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Old 11-18-15, 10:25 AM
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Yes, it won't be cheap. This is an issue that should have been brought up before buying the house when you had leverage for negotiations.
Unfortunately I didn't realize it was an issue when buying. This was after I paid for a home inspector to look at the house before my offer. He saw the meter location in the sunroom and said that it was unusual but didn't say a think about it being possibly illegal or having to be moved. Was never given a red flag... and honestly I don't know a damn thing about electrical, I took the inspector and my estate agent's word that it wasn't a problem. So I'm kind of a dummy yes, but I figured I could rely on what I assumed was informed, expert knowledge.

I think this will end with taking down the sunroom... it seems like the most straightforward solution. Sucks but I'd rather not spend a ton of more cash. The sunroom itself isn't exactly nice, the walls are a bit water damaged as it is, but I was happy to have it as a mudroom.
 
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Old 11-18-15, 10:33 AM
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Sometimes home inspectors are liable for for significant mistakes up to the maximum you paid them. Might not be much but some is better than none.
 
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Old 11-18-15, 12:00 PM
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There also could be a half measure in that you could leave the roof but open up the walls and remove the paneling. The code only requires that unfused conductors not run through the building. A covered porch for example may satisfy their definition of outside the building.
 
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Old 11-18-15, 07:14 PM
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the covered porch idea.
 
  #21  
Old 11-19-15, 07:57 AM
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Might go with the covered porch idea. Have decided to def take the sunroom down and render it an outside meter again.
 
  #22  
Old 11-19-15, 08:12 AM
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@ player "I took the inspector and my estate agent's word that it wasn't a problem. So I'm kind of a dummy yes, but I figured I could rely on what I assumed was informed, expert knowledge."
More importantly than increasing your knowledge about electrical is to increase your apprehension about RE inspections. Both have a financial interest in the sale going through and any inspector that keeps crashing the sales with detailed inspections no longer gets those calls. Always search for your own inspector, not one recommended by the RE people. And be sure s/he has no connection with them.

Most of us have learned this the hard way and this forum is full of complaints.

Bud
 
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Old 11-19-15, 11:25 AM
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Unfortunately I didn't realize it was an issue when buying. This was after I paid for a home inspector to look at the house before my offer. He saw the meter location in the sunroom and said that it was unusual but didn't say a think about it being possibly illegal or having to be moved. Was never given a red flag... and honestly I don't know a damn thing about electrical,
This is exactly why you hire a home inspector. It's discouraging that there are so many unqualified inspectors out there, but it's a fact. The only certification I am aware of is NAHI. At least by hiring a NAHI member you'd have somewhere to complain in a situation like this.

Certified Real Estate Inspector Program Information | Home Inspectors | Home Inspection | NAHI
 
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