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Old 07-16-2008, 09:01 PM   #1
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installing a new meter housing


I have a replacement 100a meter housing that I would like to install myself. My utility co will charge $148 to turn the power off and then back on later. What are the safe steps to follow in order to disconnect and reconnect the main line without turning the power off? Is this even possible?

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Old 07-16-2008, 09:26 PM   #2
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installing a new meter housing


NOT possible. There is no SAFE way to do it without the power company disconnect. Pay the $148.

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Old 07-16-2008, 10:15 PM   #3
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You better check. If you have the PC disconnect and then they come back to reconnect and see new work was done they may require you to show a permit and then you have a lot of added cost you did not plan on. This happened to a friend of mine.
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Old 07-16-2008, 10:28 PM   #4
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installing a new meter housing


Are you really that cheap that you would risk life and limb to not have the power turned off? Also if you do new work they may inspect it before turning power back on if you fail the inspection you go without power until the problem is rectified.

Last edited by Pudge565; 07-16-2008 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:15 PM   #5
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Even if it were a good idea and were legal to do without the power company's involvement, the fact that you had to ask the question raises red flags like crazy. That is unfused line current, and it will not give you a little shock, it will kill you dead if you touch the wrong thing or screw something up somehow. You're not an electrician, and this is certainly not a DIY project.

Additionally, that meter can is not technically yours even though you paid for it and it is on your house. Most power companies consider that their gear. Therefore they can keep you out of it and charge you for work performed on it.

Is there something wrong with the current meter can, or are you upgrading your service?
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Old 07-17-2008, 12:10 PM   #6
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installing a new meter housing


Thanks for all the comments.

The old meter can is trashed, I bought a new one for $22 from Home Depot. Xcel Energy is clear that the meter can (housing) is the homeowner's responsibility and they only will replace defective meters (they just snap into the housing, thanks Excel, real tough, open the can and snap in a new meter). Of course Xcel will do a "line drop" (cut power) for $148. Two different individuals at Xcel encouraged I do the work myself with a line drop. However, they told me an electrician could do it without the line drop?? I am smart enough to know electricians aren't magical beasts immune to current so I pondered the steps a real pro would take to do the swap without a line drop. There is no way in Haedes I would attempt this unless somebody could outline exact steps that I would have a pro review.....but from all the comments it looks like this is not even possible and even a pro would need the line drop.

Xcel didn't seem to care about permits, one person did mention something about an improbable "city inspection."

All in all, I will just hire a pro to do the work. My calculation tells me I would only save about $50 as a DIY project, unless there is a way to do it without the line drop. Even then it's a pretty cheap project.

Thanks again for your comments.
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Old 07-17-2008, 12:16 PM   #7
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installing a new meter housing


Some of the pros have authority to do line drops. They can cut and reattach the lines at the weatherhead.
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Old 07-17-2008, 12:59 PM   #8
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installing a new meter housing


Dogbert's tech support has a safe way of doing it... he calls it a hard reboot: http://www.dilbert.com/animation/comic/2008-07-11/
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Old 07-17-2008, 01:41 PM   #9
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installing a new meter housing


Quote:
Originally Posted by poweraide View Post
I am smart enough to know electricians aren't magical beasts immune to current so I pondered the steps a real pro would take to do the swap without a line drop. There is no way in Haedes I would attempt this unless somebody could outline exact steps that I would have a pro review.....but from all the comments it looks like this is not even possible and even a pro would need the line drop.

.
You will have to tell us where you live. We (electricians) have worked long and hard convincing the general populace we are magicians and control the magic they call electricity. You would not believe how often when asked, the answer given is "it's magic". We even have a special school for refilling motors with the magic smoke that so many unaware people let out of the motors. So now, since you are aware of the truth, we do need to "limit" your ability to disseminate that fact.


actually, I do electrical for a living and yes, I have changed a meter pan without cutting the circtuit. It was kind of an emergency situation and the folks in the house had to have their medical equipment up and running ASAP. I will also tell you I will never do it hot unless that is the only way I can restore power to a situation that leaving the power off could result in the death of somebody.. Wrangling those wires around in the pan knowing that one slip and grounding the hot conductors could have resulted in my face being melted (yes, I am serious). The fireball that a POCO conductor can cause when dead shorted to ground is nothing less than amazing, and lethal.

Yes, I am not even talking about getting shocked. I am talking about the seriously high temperature fireball that can result when dead shorting a line that may allow up to 100,000 amps of current. Not a fun job and NEVER a job for somebody that does not have the experience and equipment a trained electrician uses.

Working like this, to start, requires gloves that cost about $100 so that right there just about blows any savings you were looking at. Then, the fire resistant coat, the hard hat and the faceshield add on some more money.

So, when you get all that equipment, you come on back and let me know and I will help you change the pan to save you that $150 dollars.

Obvously being facetious with the offer to school you via the internet but the rest is real. It is a serious situation that I would never consider helping an untrained person do. I have too much respect for human life to do that.
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Old 07-17-2008, 02:19 PM   #10
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installing a new meter housing


Quote:
Originally Posted by nap View Post
I am talking about the seriously high temperature fireball that can result when dead shorting a line that may allow up to 100,000 amps of current. Not a fun job and NEVER a job for somebody that does not have the experience and equipment a trained electrician uses.
To expand on what Nap said...
When that fireball occurs it is actually the copperconductor and parts turning from a solid to a gas form due to the electrical explosion. Copper expands to something like 72,000 times its original size when this happens. So, even if the shock and the burns don't kill you, the shockwave crushes your chest and head, so you're dead anyway. It is pretty much like a bomb without so much schrapnel.
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Old 07-17-2008, 07:06 PM   #11
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installing a new meter housing


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arc_Flash

http://images.google.com/images?gbv=...=Search+Images

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-17-2008 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 07-17-2008, 10:18 PM   #12
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installing a new meter housing


just my $.02...
here's the procedure the electrician followed when upgrading my panel: (colo. springs)
1) cut the seal on the meter
2) pull the meter (removes the juice from the panel. note that the upper connections in the can are still live)
3) do the panel upgrade
4) stick the meter back in to make everything live again
5)ask me when I want it inspected...next day is ok
6)inspector arrives and does his thing
7)inspector puts new seal on meter
8)done

tnx,
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:06 AM   #13
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installing a new meter housing


what happens is very area dependent in my area



Quote:
here's the procedure the electrician followed when upgrading my panel: (colo. springs)
the first thing would be to get a permit


Quote:
1) cut the seal on the meter
Only with permission from the POCO. If you don;t have permission, it can be a criminal action.


Quote:
2) pull the meter (removes the juice from the panel. note that the upper connections in the can are still live)
Long before this point, the main breaker should be shut off. Yanking a meter with a load on it can be a fun experience.


Quote:
3) do the panel upgrade
Quote:
4) stick the meter back in to make everything live again
again, only with permission and actually, not until the work is approved by the inspector


5)ask me when I want it inspected...next day is ok
6)inspector arrives and does his thing
Quote:
7)inspector puts new seal on meter
here, the inpector does notput a seal on the meter. That is the POCO's deal.
8)done
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:27 AM   #14
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installing a new meter housing


Quote:
Originally Posted by analogmusicman View Post
just my $.02...
here's the procedure the electrician followed when upgrading my panel: (colo. springs)
1) cut the seal on the meter
2) pull the meter (removes the juice from the panel. note that the upper connections in the can are still live)
3) do the panel upgrade
4) stick the meter back in to make everything live again
5)ask me when I want it inspected...next day is ok
6)inspector arrives and does his thing
7)inspector puts new seal on meter
8)done

tnx,
Not really relevant considering the OP's question stated he was replacing the meter base and NOT the panel.

Replacing the meterbase hot is not a diy project. Period.
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Old 07-18-2008, 02:09 AM   #15
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installing a new meter housing


Let me step in here as well due I am Electrician as well my comments will be right on target as Nap been expaining and Thekctermite been talking about and I do change it hot only for last resort if the sisuation if can't turn off the power.

And yeah I got blasted from the meter blow up on me it is no fun with that when that go off.

And yes you need to get POCO to come out and cut the drop this is the safest methold to do this.

I did see service drop conductors burn up from short circuit some case they just vaporized and that it. { the service drop useally are unfused the POCO have primary fuse to protect the transfomer but they will blow { trip } the fuse very slow some case never blow the fuse at all}

To do the metersocket changeover typically not a average DIY project at all due there are few regulations what POCO will posted in their regulations book like height of meter, type of meter socket, location , GEC { grounding electrode conductor } locaton etc etc .,,,,,

Merci,Marc

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