Pulling Electric Meters

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Little Bill

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee NEC:2017
Occupation
Electrician
I am going to preface this question with a disturbing thing I read on a DIY Q/A website. I just happened to see this while using a search engine. I won't name the site but supposedly qualified electricians answer the questions. Someone wrote in asking if they thought they had a serious problem with their wiring in their house. A few things listed were, light bulbs blowing, receptacle hot after visitor used it for cell phone charger, ceiling fan remote receiver burnt in fan, and a few other things. These could all be minor or possibly a problem IMO. Anyway, the person answering the question suggested that the HO pull his meter himself and check the SE cable connections and all wiring in the panel, then go to devices in the house and check for loose wires etc. All the suggestions were good except for the meter being pulled by the HO. The worst thing I read was the HO wrote back and said he wasn't very handy and didn't feel comfortable working in the panel or switches, etc. but especially pulling the meter. The (so called) qualified person then told the guy to email him and he would take him step by step through this, but practically insisted that the guy try this himself. Ok, after steaming about all that I read, I wanted to ask how any of you guys handle situations that require pulling the meter. I'm sure everywhere is different, but just wondered how many of you are allowed to pull meters at all or at least have to get permission. I talked to one EC here that said he usually just pulls them and then calls the POCO to re seal it. I do mostly industrial work, but the few times I have done or helped on a resi, a permit was pulled and the POCO pulled the meter.
 
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LEO2854

Esteemed Member
Location
Ma
I am going to preface this question with a disturbing thing I read on a DIY Q/A website. I just happened to see this while using a search engine. I won't name the site but supposedly qualified electricians answer the questions. Someone wrote in asking if they thought they had a serious problem with their wiring in their house. A few things listed were, light bulbs blowing, receptacle hot after visitor used it for cell phone charger, ceiling fan remote receiver burnt in fan, and a few other things. These could all be minor or possibly a problem IMO. Anyway, the person answering the question suggested that the HO pull his meter himself and check the SE cable connections and all wiring in the panel, then go to devices in the house and check for loose wires etc. All the suggestions were good except for the meter being pulled by the HO. The worst thing I read was the HO wrote back and said he wasn't very handy and didn't feel comfortable working in the panel or switches, etc. but especially pulling the meter. The (so called) qualified person then told the guy to email him and he would take him step by step through this, but practically insisted that the guy try this himself. Ok, after steaming about all that I read, I wanted to ask how any of you guys handle situations that require pulling the meter. I'm sure everywhere is different, but just wondered how many of you are allowed to pull meters at all or at least have to get permission. I talked to one EC here that said he usually just pulls them and then calls the POCO to re seal it. I do mostly industrial work, but the few times I have done or helped on a resi, a permit was pulled and the POCO pulled the meter.
Yes this not somthing " HO" should be doing the diy guy should have told him to get an Electrician to fix the problem..we who are Electricians will pull meters in an emergency there many steps to take before you do that though:grin:
 
pulling meters

pulling meters

around here POCO, (EPB), pulls meters for non-payment and once paid re-inserts the meter, w/o protective gear.
Although that seems a little shaky to me they don't seem to have had any problems yet.
i used to have some tags that i would use after i pulled a meter until POCO sent a letter that they wanted to pull the meter themselves.
That being said, anyone can pull a meter in an emergency but no-one should advise a DIY'er to do so as the results could be catastrophic at worst or punitive at be$t.
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
If the meter needed pulling I would do it or I would have the HO call the poco to see if the problem was in the meter. I would never encourage a homeowner to work on something like that.

In a nearby town an electrical contractor told the ho he could install a light by himself. He talked him thru it but the ho didn't turn off the switch as it was a 3 way. The outlet was blanked off-- The ho got up there got zapped fell off the ladder and successfully sued the EC.

Unusual situation but a lesson learned. The meter cannot be turned off so there is too much room for error there.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
In a nearby town an electrical contractor told the ho he could install a light by himself. He talked him thru it but the ho didn't turn off the switch as it was a 3 way. The outlet was blanked off-- The ho got up there got zapped fell off the ladder and successfully sued the EC.
Which points out exactly why we can't accept and answer DIY questions here.
 

Dom99

Member
Wow! That's unreal. Some meter boxes still have the old two piece lids. The top lid could drop across the sockets.

The Meter Puller look's like a good idea but don't know how much punishment it can take. Sometimes meters are very hard to remove and some needed to be smacked in to be fully seated for the cover to fit.
 

Little Bill

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee NEC:2017
Occupation
Electrician
Which points out exactly why we can't accept and answer DIY questions here.
This wasn't a forum where others chime in, it was supposedly professionals answering DIYer's questions. What angered me was the fact that the HO told the guy he didn't feel comfortable working with most anything electrical. The answer guy told him it would give him a feeling of accomplishment and he should try it. I'm sure something would be accomplished, probably not good. I understand why we don't do that here.
Thanks for all of the meter pulling replies.:)
 

ptonsparky

Senior Member
Location
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Most of the areas here the policy is that we are no longer allowed to pull a residential meter. Some of the area POCO guys say "Go ahead, we will seal it later."

We do not pull 480v meters unless I can see the fuses on the transformer bank are open.

I would never suggest to a home owner that he pull his meter.
 

Cavie

Senior Member
Location
SW Florida
Local POCO (FPL) does not allow anyone to pull meters. If you ever pull one that has the jaw insulater broken and the hot 1/2 stays on the meter, you'll see why it's best left up to the POCO.
 

busman

Senior Member
Location
Northern Virginia
Occupation
Master Electrician / Electrical Engineer
Local POCO (FPL) does not allow anyone to pull meters. If you ever pull one that has the jaw insulater broken and the hot 1/2 stays on the meter, you'll see why it's best left up to the POCO.
Been there. Done that. Have the photo.

I disagree that the PoCo does it better. Seen them pull the meter with no tests and no PPE more times than I can count. At least I wear gloves, FR clothing and use the Rauckman meter puller. I consider myself safer than most of the utility folks for respecting secondary voltages.

Agree that this is nothing a DIY/Homeowner should do - EVER.

Mark
 

kbsparky

Senior Member
Location
Delmarva, USA
One homeowner near here tried to restore his power after the POCO had cut him off for non-payment. He managed to get the meter box open, then when he tried to plug in the meter, FOOM!! Seems he lined up the prongs of the meter sideways with the jaws in the socket!!

Needless to say, the POCO caught wind of this, and then ended up climbing the pole, and pulled the tap to the transformer! They also required the HO to get a licensed electrician, permit, and inspection card (as well as pay off the past due amounts) before restoring power.....

HO's are not qualified to even attempt such a thing. In this particular case, they got a face full of sparks, and molten metal. Lucky for them, no permanent injury or death.....
 
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