Connecting Second Load Center To Meter Base

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by wanderon, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. wanderon

    wanderon New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Hello,

    I'm working on a project to get power to a carport and set of storage sheds that are part of a 4-plex of condominiums. The only practical way to get power from the main building is to install a load center next to the 4-pack meter base. Each section of the base has a 125 Amp main breaker and the panel has a side knockout. I am planning to locate a small (125 Amp) outdoor load center next to the meter base and splice into the feeder of one of the condo units using a pre-insulated splice block (like a Polaris IPL series). The meter base is quite large and there is plenty of room for a splice. I have gotten conflicting advice on whether or not doing a splice in a meter panel is a code violation. One individual suggested using a lug doubler on the main breaker, but this appears to be a hard item to find.

    Any input would be appreciated.

    wanderon
  2. iminaquagmire

    iminaquagmire DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    207
    I don't know where you're located but to the best of my knowledge, there are no states that allow unlicensed people to work on multi-unit dwellings. I would suggest that for your own safety and liability, you get a licensed electrician to do this.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    panel

    Unless there is a "master breaker" ahead of those panels, the feed to them is part of the utility wiring, and they would have to remove the meter for you to make a safe connection to it.
  4. wanderon

    wanderon New Member

    Messages:
    3
    No, the splice I am talking about would be down stream (so to speak) of the 125 amp breaker for one of the condo units, so simply turning off that breaker would give me (or my electrician) a dead circuit to work on.
  5. enosez

    enosez Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    check with the poco to see if they allow splices in a meter pan or check with the eleectrician thats going to be doing the work.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    splice

    In that case, how you could do it might depend on how the power gets from the main breaker to the individual 125 amp ones. If it is with a bus bar, you might be able to connect directly to it.
  7. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    It sure would suck to live in that condo feeding the carport and storage buildings.
    Might make my electric bill go up!
    Let the electrican figure out to feed a house panel to supply the power.
  8. wanderon

    wanderon New Member

    Messages:
    3
    A house panel is not an option as it would require adding a new meter. The local impact fees for a new meter installation exceed $1500. The power is for a security light that would be on a motion sensor. The cost of the power would be less than $10 per year. The plan is to have the owner of the condo supplying the power be compensated out of association fees.
  9. enosez

    enosez Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    What happens when that owner sells and the next owner doesnt want to play? There probably are other options, talk with your electrician.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,641
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    security light

    Have you talked to the power company? Here, they will often install a security light on their pole and charge an annual fee for the power.
  11. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    Codes aside, high amperage connections need to be torqued to a certain tightness or they will heat up.

    Main panels will say how tight to torque the main lugs.

    So very important that any connectors used are rated for the amperage and very important to follow directions about torque tightness. And if using aluminum wiring, research using anti-oxidant "goop" with these connectors which would typically be done with a panel lug. I don't know if these connectors come with a "magic" goop or not?

    And be sure they are rated for aluminum wiring if that is what you are using.

    If they need a hex tool to tighten the screws, you can get these at an auto parts store along with a torque wrench.

    Then the instructions may say inch pounds instead of the foot pounds on the torque wrench. There are 12 inch pounds to 1 foot pound. Google.com even can convert this...

    12 inch pounds to foot pounds
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...t=result&cd=1&q=12 inch pounds to foot pounds
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