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Old 09-18-2012, 10:37 AM   #1
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


I am buying a 1968 house with 100amp service. I don't know what my actual load will be, but I might be able to live with it until I can scrape up the cash, or have enough problems to justify the upgrade to 200 amp. It's just the two of us and we don't currently run much more than the basics. I didn't realize it was 100, and we've moved past the stage of the process where we can ask for the upgrade.

However, after the home inspection, we negotiated for the seller to replace the service entrance cable, since the outer sheath was in bad shape. Would it be a good idea to try to have the upgrade done at the same time as the cable replacement? How much overlap is there in the two jobs, and besides the cost of the box, how much extra work/cost would it be to go all the way?

Thanks, this is my first house and I'm learning so much already.

Also fyi, the 100 amp box still has a few slots free, so we're not maxed out on space yet.


Last edited by Joeboo25; 09-18-2012 at 10:40 AM. Reason: More info.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:54 AM   #2
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


I would have the service from the weather head down to (and including) the meter socket sized for 200 amp. Even if you have to pay for the upgrade.
I would also have it done in conduit vs SE cable. JMO

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Old 09-18-2012, 11:17 AM   #3
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


If the sellers are paying, it may be hard to get an upgrade. You would need permission from the sellers to do this, you can't go around them to the electrician and only talk to him.

BTW, SE Cable is perfectly fine.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:23 AM   #4
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


I'll try to get in touch with the electrician and see what his plans are.

Is replacing the service cable a big enough job that I will save signifiantly by just paying the difference on the full install? I'm wondering if once he's on site, has POCO on site (if necessary), and had his hands in the system, that going the extra step and swaping the service out might not cost me as much as having him come out later and do the rest of the upgrade?
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:24 AM   #5
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


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Originally Posted by Joconfire View Post
If the sellers are paying, it may be hard to get an upgrade. You would need permission from the sellers to do this, you can't go around them to the electrician and only talk to him.

BTW, SE Cable is perfectly fine.
Right, that may be an issue. But I might be able to work something out with them if it's worth my effort.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:28 AM   #6
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


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Right, that may be an issue. But I might be able to work something out with them if it's worth my effort.
I assume the house is all natural gas (Heat, hot water, stove/oven, dryer)?

A lot of people go overboard on services. 200A is the new standard and it's at a good price point, but not always necessary. I wouldn't go spending too much money.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:42 AM   #7
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


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I assume the house is all natural gas (Heat, hot water, stove/oven, dryer)?
I wish. Unfortunately I'm all electric, so I imagine overload problems are possible. If I have to cough up a significant amount of cash to do the upgrade, I'll probably wait until we move in and have a better feel for our needs. But, if I can save by working a deal up front, the extra service would be a nice safety net.
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:57 PM   #8
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


Can you ask the sellers to escrow the fund? or just give you the money?

Tell them you are planning to hire the electrician to upgrade the panel and this way, they don't have to wait around while this work in being done.

I'd say that's a win-win!

BTW, when I upgrade to 200 amp for my 1966 house, the electrician said he almost always replaces everything from meter to inside
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:24 PM   #9
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


In my opinion it's a necessity for an all electric house. Call the electrician and ask what the upgrade would cost at the time of the replacement. Pay for it yourself if you have to, you will pay much more later. The labor is already factored in.
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:21 PM   #10
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


to have one done now and another later will cost a ton more than upgrading the current work. If the sellers reasonable at all they'll pay for the original estimate and let you cover the rest.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:57 PM   #11
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


If they're replacing the wire from the weatherhead to the meter, just tell them to use 200A wire (pay the difference if you have to - it will be in the tens of dollars). Then you can upgrade the panel yourself - it's very easy. Even replacing the service wire is easy yourself. If you're uncomfortable doing that, getting an electrician to do it later isn't going to cost much more.

BTW, where I'm from, a straight panel upgrade with sufficiently sized service wire already in place is almost universally $1500. Full replacement including new wire up to the point of connection would be about $2500 because of the POCO charges for disconnection and connection.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:11 AM   #12
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


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Originally Posted by fdiddy
If they're replacing the wire from the weatherhead to the meter, just tell them to use 200A wire (pay the difference if you have to - it will be in the tens of dollars). Then you can upgrade the panel yourself - it's very easy. Even replacing the service wire is easy yourself. If you're uncomfortable doing that, getting an electrician to do it later isn't going to cost much more.

BTW, where I'm from, a straight panel upgrade with sufficiently sized service wire already in place is almost universally $1500. Full replacement including new wire up to the point of connection would be about $2500 because of the POCO charges for disconnection and connection.
Why do it twice. That means two permits, two inspections, two times with no power, etc.
Seems silly.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:53 AM   #13
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


Negotiate for an upgrade at least 150. You are gas ,but you can't say what goes on in the future. Service complete.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:53 AM   #14
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


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...because of the POCO charges for disconnection and connection.
Is that common with all POCOs, or maybe something specific to your area? Do they charge to replace the meters, line wires or whatever?


I've had my realtor contact the electrician and I should hear from him today about the difference. I agree there's no point in double paying for permits, inspections, service calls, etc.

Last edited by Joeboo25; 09-19-2012 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 09-19-2012, 11:24 AM   #15
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New Service Entrance Cable to be installed. Upgrade to 200amp?


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....Then you can upgrade the panel yourself - it's very easy. Even replacing the service wire is easy yourself. If you're uncomfortable doing that, getting an electrician to do it later isn't going to cost much more.....
Unless the house already has a standalone disconnect, don't you have to pull the meter out to replace the main panel?

I consider myself to be fairly handy but that is where I draw the line about what I should not do.

Besides, where I live, only a licensed electrician is allowed to pull a meter...

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