Meter socket replacement

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  #1  
Old 11-30-15, 10:32 AM
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Meter socket replacement

I have an electrician coming later this week to replace a meter socket that has water damage. He is a local, licensed guy that has been in business for many years. He has done work for me in the past.

When I got estimates for the work 2 of the electricians said they would need to get a permit and to get the POCO to kill the power. The guy I picked to do the job said that no permit is required and that he didn't need the power company to shut off the power.

My questions are - is a permit typically required and is his plan for doing this work hot unusual or unsafe.
 
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  #2  
Old 11-30-15, 11:01 AM
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You need to check with your local electrical inspector for permit info.
 
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Old 11-30-15, 11:06 AM
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All of this depends a lot on local law and local power company policies. In some areas a 1-for-1 repair of damaged equipment does not require a permit, in some areas it does. Some power companies allow electricians to connect and disconnect services, some don't.

I do not believe it is appropriate to do this work live, but it could be appropriate for the electrician to do the disconnect before the replacement and reconnect after the replacement at the top of the mast which is a short amount of live work.
 

Last edited by ibpooks; 11-30-15 at 11:25 AM.
  #4  
Old 12-05-15, 01:35 PM
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The electrical contractor showed up when he said he would and finished the job faster than he estimated. He also went beyond what we had contracted for, In addition to replacing the corroded meter socket (it was really roached) he replaced the service cap and added conduit (there was none - just cable) from the drop to the meter. The conduit seals mechanically to the box so I should not have another leak. He also installed an additional ground rod since the house only had one. He even gave me a length of wire to jumper my whole house filter. All that for $800 which I thought was very reasonable. He did not call the POCO to cut the power. He disconnected at the service drop to do the work.

Now I have a question. He put a seal on the latch for the box. It is just a plain lead seal. The old one had the power company logo on it. I asked about it and he said the power company never reads meters up close anymore - they read them remotely (I knew that). I know that tampering with a POCO seal can lead to power theft charges so I'm left wondering what happens if the meter fails and a POCO guy comes out to change it?
 
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Old 12-05-15, 02:52 PM
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so I'm left wondering what happens if the meter fails and a POCO guy comes out to change it
Probably nothing. If it is like my area the Poco doesn't expect the electrician to wait for them. The electrician calls but doesn't really wait for them. They know the electrician will cut the hots and don't bother to actually come out. Kind of a "nod and a wink". If this is a Smart meter there is enough data for them to know nothing suspect is going on.
 
  #6  
Old 12-05-15, 02:53 PM
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Sounds like a "bootleg" job to me. Some guy using his employer's tools (and maybe supplies) on a side job so most of what you paid went right into his pocket. This kind of work ALWAYS requires some kind of inspection, if not from your local government then at least from the power company. Often both the government AND the utility will inspect the work.

You might get away with it as far as the utility is concerned and if they ever come and inspect that lead seal you can simply declare you know nothing about it. Utilities look for unusual differences in usage to determine if a closer look is warranted, either for a defective meter or for unlawful usage (stealing) of power. As long as your consumption in kilowatt hours is normal the likelihood of the utility making a close inspection is pretty low.
 
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Old 12-06-15, 05:55 AM
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"Sounds like a "bootleg" job to me."

Hardly. This guy is an established local electrician that has done work for me before. He has been in business in this town for at least 20 years.

The permit question is interesting. Replacing the meter socket did not require a permit. The local inspector considered it a repair.
 
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Old 12-06-15, 06:33 AM
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Everything sounds on the up and up to me, and is similar to how we do it in my area.

If a meter reader does look at it they will just put a new seal on the socket.

How did he connect the overhead wires to the service drop? Are they insulated connections?

FYI - OP is in Connecticut
 
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Old 12-06-15, 09:57 AM
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The permit question is interesting. Replacing the meter socket did not require a permit. The local inspector considered it a repair.
You didn't tell us that before. Most areas I am familiar with will require a permit to change a socket even as an emergency repair. In my immediate area the electrician will change the socket and cut the drop back in on an emergency call and get the required permit/inspection after the fact. The AHJ understands that emergencies do happen and that the customer cannot be left without power.
 
  #10  
Old 12-06-15, 10:14 AM
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In my area contractors do not disconnect or reconnect service drops and a meter base replacement IS a permit-requiring job.

A few years after I replaced my entire service I noticed the meter seal was broken. I called the utility and reported it, they re-sealed with no other problems. That WAS before illicit "grow-ops" became more common and I had years of account information with the utility so it was obvious I hadn't been stealing any power.
 
  #11  
Old 12-06-15, 10:17 AM
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CJ - When I wrote the OP I did not know if a permit was required. I did know that the local inspector did not require a permit for repairs such as replacing a bad GFI, outdoor lights etc. I had just gone through that.

I had 3 electricians bid the work. Two of them said a permit was required and the power company would have to disconnect power. They were from a nearby city. The electrician that did the work is from the same town I where the house is. He said no permit was required and he did not need to have power disconnected.
 
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Old 12-06-15, 10:32 AM
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I did know that the local inspector did not require a permit for repairs such as replacing a bad GFI, outdoor lights etc.
I have seen a few smaller more rural communities that don't have a strong building department and are pretty lenient on permits and inspections and sometimes even look the other way in some cases. What is important is knowing what your AHJ will require end evidently your electrician knew. I have to ask though, what would the AHJ say about having to replace the service panel? If no permit is required for the meter socket, how could they ask you to get a permit for the panel?
 
  #13  
Old 12-06-15, 11:45 AM
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This same electrician upgraded my SEP from 100Amp to 200 Amps a few years ago. He pulled the permit. To be honest, I don't know if the inspector ever looked at the panel when it was done. This is a vacation place in a small town and we are only there a few weeks out of the year.

I'm not an electrician but replacing the meter socket doesn't appear to be a whole lot more complicated than replacing a receptacle.

Tolyn - Here's a photo of the new connection at the service drop. The existing was an exposed cable clamp. I'm assuming the new black objects are insulators.

Name:  Service drop_edited.jpg
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  #14  
Old 12-06-15, 12:13 PM
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Those are Ilsco setscrew bugs. A good choice for there. Minimal danger of short when installing.
 
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