How to Install a New Electric Meter Box

An electric meter.
  • 2-4 hours
  • Advanced
  • 0-80
What You'll Need
Wire stripper
Wire cutters

Safety note: This is not a DIY project. More than likely a permit will be required, after which the electric utility will schedule a replacement date, which will likely be made through a qualified electrician who will then be allowed to unbolt the existing meter box so the electric utility can remove the old box and sometimes install a new service cable. If you're curious about what goes into the process, please read on, just don't try to do this alone.

The electric meter measures the amount of electricity that is used by your home or business, which tracks it by a rate of kilowatts per hour as is the electric companies billing unit of measurement. Installing a new electric meter box is not the most difficult electrical element to replace, but it needs to be done with extreme diligence since the risk of electrocution is always a possibility.

Step 1 - Turn Off All of Your Electrical Appliances

To make sure that none of your electrical appliances can short out or get damaged you should go around your house or business and ensure that anything that is electrical is turned off and unplugged. Also, turn off all lights and make sure that there is nothing that is extremely perishable in the refrigerator or freezer since your power will be shut off for a certain amount of time.

Step 2 - Call Your Electric Company

You need to call your electricity provider and ask them to shut off all power to your home or business. Do not attempt to install a new electric meter box without ensuring that there is no electricity running to your household or business. Not following this step is very dangerous. Also, you will be cutting a security tag off of the meter so the electric company will need to know that they need to issue you a new one.

Step 3 - Disconnect the High-Voltage Feed and Ground Wire

Use the wrench to unscrew the covering to the high-voltage feed and the covering to the ground wire. Since your electricity is shut off you shouldn't have a problem with this step.

Step 4 - Cut the Security Tag and Remove the Old Meter

Use the wire cutters to cut off the security tag, which will allow you to remove the meter. Pull the meter toward you and remove it from the socket. From here you will see the connection terminals and the ground wire that are all held in place by a clamp-like holder, which is pieced together by a screw. These terminals are in sets of three — one set called the line side and is connected to the service pole and the other is the load side which is connected to your home or business.

Step 5 - Remove Insulation

If there is a layer of insulation on the terminals then use the wire stripper to remove a section of it near the end. Once you do this you will see that the two outside wires on each set are black (these are hot wires) and the middle wires will be white or have white tape around it (this is the neutral wire). If you need to use the screwdriver to unscrew the clamp so that you can get to the insulation then screw them back into place.

Step 6 - Connect Wires to the New Electric Meter

Connect the wires to the corresponding places on your new electrical meter by slipping them into the appropriate spot and screwing it down with the screwdriver. The line side wires should connect to the upper terminals on the new meter, while the bottom terminals are for the load side wires.

Step 7 - Reconnect the High-Voltage Feed and Ground Wire

Place the new meter into the socket and reconnect the high-voltage feed and ground wire.

Before turning your power back on, it is highly recommended that you get an electrician or related professional to look over your installation. This is to ensure that everything has been done properly and that it will not cause any damage to your property or any harm to yourself or family.