Does replacing meter box require permit and inspection?

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Old 12-31-20, 02:32 PM
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Does replacing meter box require permit and inspection?

I'm thinking about replacing my old meter socket. I was talking to the guy who runs a local electrical supply house about this. And I brought up pulling a permit. The guy was very much against doing that - he said there's no reason to pull a permit since I'm not changing the service, just replacing the meter box and cable, but staying at 100A service.

Sounds dubious to me. I tried calling the AHJ, but no one is answering today, so I thought I'd run it by you guys. I'm guessing in a nanny state like NY, homeowner is supposed to pull a permit in this situation. But if it's not required for a replacement part(s) while staying on same service level (100A), I'd rather not go down that road, and just have an electrician pull the meter, swap out the parts, reinstall the meter and be done.
 

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01-03-21, 05:23 PM
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At one time if a meter reader noticed a missing seal.... it would just get replaced. Typically no questions asked. If it was missing a second time.... they would investigate. I'm not sure the meter readers even care anymore.

With a triplex service..... there is one steel strand in with the neutral. That steel strand gives the entire drop strength. I could have crimped it but that would have been a place where the weight of the drop could have caused the crimp to loosen. Then it would have become my problem.... especially if something was damaged with loss of the house neutral.
 
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Old 12-31-20, 04:17 PM
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How does one replace the pan contacts without a utility service disconnect? In my area, the POCO wants a permit pulled.
 
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Old 12-31-20, 04:23 PM
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I think the guy at the electrical supply house is pulling your leg. As a professional he should never suggest bypassing the permit process for that type of work. The answer is definitely yes.
 
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Old 12-31-20, 04:29 PM
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The only person that could do something like that is a licensed electrician.
It could be done if it was an emergency situation.
Under those conditions the power company would reconnect or if it was me.... I'd reconnect.
Then a permit would be filed for emergency repair.
 
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Old 12-31-20, 04:47 PM
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How does one replace the pan contacts without a utility service disconnect? In my area, the POCO wants a permit pulled.
Talked to an electrician this evening. He said he would do it, no permit pull. In fact the price he quoted me was MUCH higher with permit pull. He said PoCo here doesn't care. Same thing the guy at supply house told me - PoCo only cares about getting paid.

So without PoCo involvement, I assume the electricians doing this work are disconnecting and reconnecting live.

This is what happens when AHJs throw up so much red tape. The homeowners don't want to deal with the delays, the tradesmen don't want to deal with the hassles. So much work gets done in my area (not just electrical, but all the trades) without permits. Homebuyers don't care either, so long as they have COO. The more government squeezes, the more that slips through its grip.
 
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Old 12-31-20, 04:51 PM
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The only person that could do something like that is a licensed electrician.
It could be done if it was an emergency situation.
Under those conditions the power company would reconnect or if it was me.... I'd reconnect.
Then a permit would be filed for emergency repair.
Yep, I would only have a licensed electrician do this kind of work. Whether a permit is pulled or not, I want the actual work to be done to current code.

I think my case would qualify as emergency situation (see "partial brownout" thread), so I might go that route.
 
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Old 12-31-20, 06:15 PM
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With proper PPE the electrician can cut the lines at the weatherhead and reconnect when completed. Some contractors here are authourized to do this type of work,
 
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Old 12-31-20, 06:37 PM
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Just did a service repair here in the last wind storm. Tree took down a customers service. The hook was in the house so well that the neutral in the triplex broke 5' from the house. The two hot legs ripped the service cable and head off the wall. I went there.... replaced the service cable from the meter pan to the service head.

Customer had called the poco. They were busy. We called and they were still behind. Finally a lineman shows up and says why don't you reconnect. I said look at the neutral. He said to splice it. I turned him down.
 
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Old 12-31-20, 07:16 PM
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Just did a service repair here in the last wind storm. Tree took down a customers service. The hook was in the house so well that the neutral in the triplex broke 5' from the house. The two hot legs ripped the service cable and head off the wall. I went there.... replaced the service cable from the meter pan to the service head.

Customer had called the poco. They were busy. We called and they were still behind. Finally a lineman shows up and says why don't you reconnect. I said look at the neutral. He said to splice it. I turned him down.
Why didn't you splice the neutral? Because then poco won't come back later to replace that so that customer has one continuous neutral from pole to weatherhead?
 
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Old 01-03-21, 01:01 PM
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I'm guessing in a nanny state like NY, homeowner is supposed to pull a permit in this situation.
I'd guess that in NY and most other states a homeowner wouldn't be allowed to take out a permit for any kind of service replacement.

With the 2020 code replacing a meter socket gets pretty involved, the socket must have a breaker disconnect which makes the main service panel a subpanel and that means the neutral and grounds must all be separated too.
 
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Old 01-03-21, 05:13 PM
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I am curious as to how this can be done without contacting the power company. How do you explain the broken seal on the meter?
 
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Old 01-03-21, 05:23 PM
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At one time if a meter reader noticed a missing seal.... it would just get replaced. Typically no questions asked. If it was missing a second time.... they would investigate. I'm not sure the meter readers even care anymore.

With a triplex service..... there is one steel strand in with the neutral. That steel strand gives the entire drop strength. I could have crimped it but that would have been a place where the weight of the drop could have caused the crimp to loosen. Then it would have become my problem.... especially if something was damaged with loss of the house neutral.
 
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Old 01-03-21, 07:21 PM
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With the 2020 code replacing a meter socket gets pretty involved, the socket must have a breaker disconnect which makes the main service panel a subpanel and that means the neutral and grounds must all be separated too.
I hope the manufacturer finds a way to make an exception, bur probably won't happen.
Electrically, disconnect switch at the meter is not much different from disconnecting by pulling the meter. So, may be there can be an exception for existing service?


I could have crimped it but that would have been a place where the weight of the drop could have caused the crimp to loosen.
I doubt properly crimped splice will cause any problem, but since that part of cable is owned by power company I agree you should have the power company fix it.
I would have no problem having them crimp it.

If they can use same kind of splice power companies use for high voltage lines, it would be the best kind of splice. I believe it is called automatic splice.
 
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Old 01-03-21, 07:31 PM
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They didn't crimp it. They replaced the drop.
 
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Old 01-03-21, 07:48 PM
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSMXNHaB4UI

Here is a video of proper splice.

For a long drop, line man probably will make splice like this instead of replacing.
 
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Old 01-04-21, 08:06 AM
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I hope the manufacturer finds a way to make an exception, bur probably won't happen.
Electrically, disconnect switch at the meter is not much different from disconnecting by pulling the meter. So, may be there can be an exception for existing service?
No exception is needed. There is nothing in the NEC requiring existing installations be brought to current code every 3 years as a new version of the code comes out. The intent is to allow firemen the capability to turn off power without waiting on the utility to come pull the meter.

I am curious as to how this can be done without contacting the power company. How do you explain the broken seal on the meter?
I have never seen a problem. The wiring approval from AHJ goes to the utility and they then know that work has been done.

At one time if a meter reader noticed a missing seal.... it would just get replaced. Typically no questions asked. If it was missing a second time.... they would investigate. I'm not sure the meter readers even care anymore.
I haven't seen a meter reader around here in years! We have had the cellnet meters for a long time and I just got notification that they are being upgraded with a new smart meter in the next few weeks.
 
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Old 01-04-21, 08:17 AM
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There is nothing in the NEC requiring existing installations be brought to current code every 3 years as a new version of the code comes out.
But, don't you still need to bring it up to current code if you are replacing meter base?
 
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Old 01-04-21, 08:56 AM
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But, don't you still need to bring it up to current code if you are replacing meter base?
Typically when you replace a meter socket you must meet the current code your AHJ has adopted. That doesn't necessarily mean the latest code. My area just recently adopted the 2014 NEC after being on the 2008 NEC with a long list of amendments for roughly 8 or 9 years.
 
 

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