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Old 03-04-2008, 10:23 AM   #1
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


Had an electrician here yesterday to replace a GFI located on my dock. When he was finished, he noted that we had 200 amp service but only a 100 amp meter box. Said it needed to be replaced with a 200 amp box. House was built in 1958 and we purchased in 1997 at the time upgraded to 200 amp service. We have a heat pump but have never experienced any problems with electrical. Progress Energy, our local provided, put in a surge protector and a new meter some time ago and said nothing at the time. He quoted a price of over $2000 to replace the box. Seems high and I wonder if it really needs to be done. Any help would be appreciated.

John

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Old 03-04-2008, 11:01 AM   #2
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


jmb,


EDIT: Sorry, I didn't see the OP stated the meter base was only 100amp...

Electrical work will vary from area to area, but 2k sounds steep for a basic panel change. Where I live, you can have the servince upgraded and panel changed for less than that.

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Old 03-04-2008, 01:33 PM   #3
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


I think that your problem is a 200 amp main breaker with a 100 amp meter base. This could pose a problem. If you have a fault in your house the only thing you have fpr protection is the fuse on Progress Energy's pole. By the time that trips, it will be too late. I have seen much worse things in a house over the years and can't believe that they still work. Get another sparky out there and ask their opinion because if you twisted up the wording the least bit it could be okay.

Example.
Woman wrote to her husband that was off on a trip to see if it was ok to buy a 10,000 dollar dress. He meant to say...
No, price too high.
He wrote
No price too high.

A 200 amp main breaker with a 100 amp meter is much different situation than a 100 amp main breaker and a 200 amp service.
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Old 03-04-2008, 01:55 PM   #4
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


jcalvin is right. Your meter can should and must be rated for 200 amps not 100 amps. They don't make 100 and 200 amp meter cans just for fun.
Now it is possible the wiring and the meter can are rated for 200 amps from the utility. I think you have to open the meter cover to see the rating. So if the electrician didn't open it, how did he know it was 100 amp? The label may be visible without cutting the lock ring, take a look yourself.
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:00 PM   #5
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


The meter box should be the same or larger capacity than your main breaker. If you are correct that you have a 100a meter box with 200a main breaker this should be changed. I'm surprised this was not noticed during the upgrade in 97. $2000 does sound very steep for just a meter box replacement- are you sure that is what he was quoting for? If the cabling was sufficient to be left alone, the meter box would be the only item replaced. A new one retail @home centers is about $100.00.
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:01 PM   #6
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


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Originally Posted by jmb731 View Post
Had an electrician here yesterday to replace a GFI located on my dock. When he was finished, he noted that we had 200 amp service but only a 100 amp meter box. Said it needed to be replaced with a 200 amp box. House was built in 1958 and we purchased in 1997 at the time upgraded to 200 amp service. We have a heat pump but have never experienced any problems with electrical. Progress Energy, our local provided, put in a surge protector and a new meter some time ago and said nothing at the time. He quoted a price of over $2000 to replace the box. Seems high and I wonder if it really needs to be done. Any help would be appreciated.

John
That's not all that high, when you consider that he has to change the service cable, service entrance, meter base, plus permit fees and inspections. He may need to fish service cable down walls, and crawl through an attic or crawl space. He has to coordinate with the power company to disconnect the old service and reconnect the new service. He probably has to update the system grounding. No, $2000 is a fair price.

Yes, I'd say that if the service is rated at 100 A and is protected by a 200 A breaker, then you need to update.

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Old 03-04-2008, 04:33 PM   #7
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


If the house was built in '58 it probably has an overhead service, unless someone paid to have it burried. Assuming that when the panel was upgraded the sparky changed the service cable to the meter which will most likely be too short for the new panel, it will also need to be changed, don't think they make a wirenut for 4/0 yet . I don't think that 2g is too high for it. A large part of the bill is the main service wire. How long is it, what do I have to cut out to get it in, and what kind of other obligations am I required to do if I update the service. When we pulled service change permits here, they make us add ac/dc interconnected smoke detectors in the house. If the sparky pulled a number out of the air, its going to be enough to cover his behind so his final bill or estimate may be 1850 or something close.

Kinda sad to see someone go through this when the original guy was probably too cheap to hire it done correctly. When done all at once it probably would not have been around a few hundred dollars to do it all then.
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Old 03-04-2008, 04:55 PM   #8
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


It's possible you have a 200a rated panel, but your service is really only 100a. Is there also a 100a breaker in the panel, being backfed? Is there a 100a breaker or disconnect at or near the meter?

This is a "poor man's upgrade" where the load doesn't justify a 200a service, but the old 100a panel didn't have enough space for the number of circuits required. SO only the "bottom 1/2" of the service is upgraded.
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Old 03-04-2008, 05:12 PM   #9
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


Quote:
Originally Posted by jmb731 View Post
Had an electrician here yesterday to replace a GFI located on my dock. When he was finished, he noted that we had 200 amp service but only a 100 amp meter box. Said it needed to be replaced with a 200 amp box. House was built in 1958 and we purchased in 1997 at the time upgraded to 200 amp service. We have a heat pump but have never experienced any problems with electrical. Progress Energy, our local provided, put in a surge protector and a new meter some time ago and said nothing at the time. He quoted a price of over $2000 to replace the box. Seems high and I wonder if it really needs to be done. Any help would be appreciated.

John
Call the power company first thing and ask them. Something smells a little poopy here. Who pulled and replaced the meter for the 200 amp service upgrade? Was it inspected? At any rate, you need another estimate just to replace a meter can and SE wires.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:43 PM   #10
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


It doesn't matter if we think 2K is high. If 3 bidders looking at the system says it is 2k.

Than it's 2K.

Unless you can find someone good enough to put a 200 amp panel off a 100a meter base, you might be able to save some money.
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Old 03-05-2008, 08:57 AM   #11
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


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It doesn't matter if we think 2K is high. If 3 bidders looking at the system says it is 2k.

Than it's 2K.
The OP only had one true bidder- the others have been online approximations of what was needed...
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Old 03-05-2008, 01:12 PM   #12
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


I can't figure out how the POCO stuck their meter in there if this was a 100A can on a 200A service. Nor how the inspector overlooked this little discrepancy.

Prices are all over the board in different areas of the country. But I would not go with just one estimate on a $2000 job. If a couple more contractors give the same price or close, then that's the price. It's the OP's call. And his money.
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Old 03-05-2008, 01:15 PM   #13
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


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Originally Posted by jrclen View Post
I can't figure out how the POCO stuck their meter in there if this was a 100A can on a 200A service. Nor how the inspector overlooked this little discrepancy.

Prices are all over the board in different areas of the country. But I would not go with just one estimate on a $2000 job. If a couple more contractors give the same price or close, then that's the price. It's the OP's call. And his money.
Is that something that the POCO typically checks for? Or is it solely up to the inspector to check?
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Old 03-05-2008, 01:39 PM   #14
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


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Is that something that the POCO typically checks for? Or is it solely up to the inspector to check?
This depends on where you are. In my area of Atlanta, the POCO requires a city or county inspection sticker before they connect. In my area in Alabama, there is no county or city inspection, so the POCO just jams a meter in any old socket. They are now moving away from that practice, because some of the meter sockets here are as old as Moses. One customer told me they had to upgrade because once the power was disconnected, the POCO wouldn't reconnect unless the service was brought up to code.

So, ultimately, it depends on where you are and the rules in force there.

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Old 03-05-2008, 01:47 PM   #15
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100 amp meter box-200 amp circuit


When we had our service upgraded, the POCO and the inspector had to be there at the same time. If I remember correctly, the POCO won't energize until it's inspected and the inspector won't pass untill its energized. I wasn't actually there for it, but that's the way the inspector explained it to me. I an in New York State.

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