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Using An Electrician To Safely Replace A Residential Service Entrance

Every home has a power meter to measure electricity as it is consumed. The junction point where household electrical wiring connects to the power utility is referred to as the service entrance. Most service entrances are located outside, and replacement is necessary if the components are worn or damaged.

The service entrance consists of a mounting base for the power meter, along with connecting cables. One heavy cable connects the meter to the incoming power lines, and another cable runs to the circuit breaker panel inside your house. Over time, the exterior cable can become frayed. The weight of a falling tree limb can pull the components loose:

Power company notification

The unique requirement of most service entrance repairs is that power to the building must be completely disconnected. There is no safe method to include a switch between the power lines and the meter. Only the power utility is permitted to break the seal and remove the meter from its base. Because of the safety factor, service entrance repairs are best left to a professional electrician.

After removing the meter, utility company personnel physically cut the cables where their service drop meets your service entrance. The necessity for absolute safety results in a temporary power outage. Most electricity providers will later reconnect power only after a local codes inspector has notified them of inspection approval. Coordination with the utility company and the local codes office minimizes your time spent without power.

Coordinated repair steps

The meter base is upgraded if necessary and mounted on an exterior wall. An attached conduit pipe is secured to the wall above the meter base. A waterproof cap is added to the top of the protective pipe so that the incoming cable connections remain dry. A short segment of cable is left temporarily hanging from the weather cap, awaiting re-connection by the utility.

Another cable is routed through conduit pipe to the circuit breaker panel. The circuit breaker panel is not technically part of the service entrance, but it could be updated at this time. While the cable from the meter is disconnected, additional breakers can be added. As soon as the repairs are complete, the service entrance is ready for inspection.

Even though you own the meter base, the power company owns the meter and retains it until they return. After final approval, they reconnect the service entrance cables and re-energize the utility drop line. The last step is to insert the meter to switch the power back on. For more information about your service entrance or any other aspect of home wiring, contact a residential electrician like Craftsman Electric.


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