Who is KCPL trying to protect?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by BoDean, Oct 12, 2007.

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  1. BoDean

    BoDean New Member

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    I'm in the process of upgrading my home service from 100A to 200A. As the new service panel is going in the same location as the old, I will need to disconnect the incoming service temporarily. To this end, power company has installed a pigtail, exiting the bottom of the meter can. They did not, as I had expected, cut the little wire seal on the meter ring to allow me to disconnect power by pulling the meter.

    This seems to me to be the safer way to disconnect power, as opposed to having to unwrap the eletrical tape they've placed on each of the incoming hot wires and unbolting each of the connecters that appear to be underneath the tape.

    As a DIYer, I'm unfamiliar with the ways of the utility. Perhaps someone more experienced can tell me - does KCPL intend for me to disconnect via the pigtail, thus leaving their metering equipment undisturbed but putting me at risk of shock if I'm careless? Or does the installation of a pigtail come with the implicit understanding that I will pull the meter? If so, why bother with a pigtail in the first place instead of just cutting or allowing me to cut the seal?

    I don't mind the pigtail as it will give me the few extra inches of SE needed to reach inside the larger new box.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,156
    Location:
    New England
    Maybe they expect you to install a new meter box as well, then those would go to it. I'm just guessing...

    Do you need a new meter and socket to support the higher amperages?
  3. BoDean

    BoDean New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Jim,

    I do need a new meter, socket and riser as the old service (wire attached to exterior wall with no conduit or weatherhead) does not meet power co's requirements. I don't expect the new meter box to be energized until the power company brings in the new service drop, though.

    BD
  4. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Whatever the power company has done there, they are expecting only a licensed electrician who understands their ways to be doing anything more.

    They expext only a licensed electrician to pull the meter and to thereafter attend to the matter of the seal.

    They do not expect *anybody* to *ever* do that!

    ... have a licensed electrician do *everything*? Yes, you can be very sure about that!
  5. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    There are a variety of ways service upgrades are completed, some areas the utility installs part of the exterior wiring..

    Do you need to install a new service riser with weather head?


    Typically in our area we would install a new meter can, service riser weather head, and ust the pigtail they provided to feed the line side of the new meter can, cutting the meter seal, pulling the meter.
  6. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Bo,
    Don't you think you should be asking the POCO all these questions instead of us?

    EVERY area and every POCO is different.
  7. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    277
    *** Would suggest reading this but do not advise anything in this post. ***

    The more or less how you upgrade a meter; POCO will not install “jumper†cable.

    Pull the meter
    Take the house side loose
    Tear out old service and reinstall new service
    Set the new meter base beside the old meter base
    After the install run a jumper wire from the new meter base to the old meter base and plug the meter back in.
    Call for inspection
    After the inspection POCO will connect the new service riser and then we come back and take down the old one


    With the new meter pan you will need to put up new wires to feed the box. You need to look at the height requirement. These will be wired up as normal.

    There “jumper†would be tied with the wires feeding the house in the bottom of the pan.

    As far as having to pull the old wires out of the breaker box where there live is something I would not do. Having to install the “jumper†into the new pan where there live is something I would not do. You have to remember that the only fuse to protect you would be the one that feeds the transformer.

    If you can live off a generator for a day then try thinking about this.
    Cover the incoming wires in the old panel with a leather glove and some tape; this will give you some protection form live power.
    Turn off the main breaker and pull out of all the old wiring and breakers.
    Remove the panel of the wall and tie it out of the way.
    Mount new panel.
    Wire everything but the new feeder wires.
    Use a large breaker off the old panel to your new panel using the main breaker.
    Call and get the power cut at the poll.
    Remove old meter pan, feeder wires to old panel board, and the feeder wires up the house.
    Install new meter pan and wires.
    Call for you inspection and they will call the POCO if it is up to code for a reconnect.

    Either way you do it if you don’t pass the inspection then no power and you might have to get a pro to fix it before a new inspection.

    *** In any way shape or form would I suggest this to anyone; but it is just something for you to think about. *** Just covering my as.
  8. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I recently did an upgrade, QO 100 to QO 200, and it was pretty easy. You can adapt the ideas to your own setup. Steps as follows:

    1. Installed the new 200 amp panel as close as possible to the old.
    2. Connected 100 amp cables from lugs on the bus bars of the old panel to the main of the new panel. I was able to attach to the bus using #2 lugs (from HD) after turning off the old main.
    3. Moved circuits from old panel to the new panel. At this point the new panel was being served through the old meter and the main of the old panel.
    4. Laid out where the new meter would be mounted and ran 2" PVC conduit from the new panel to the point where it would hit the back of the new meter socket. You could use SE cable in most jurisdictions as it was all inside.
    5. Ran the new Grounding Equipment Conductor to the Grounding Electrodes.
    6. Preassembled the new meter socket with 9 ft conduit and weatherhead, and put 4/0, 4/0, 2/0 Al conductors in the riser conduit.
    7. Arranged with neighbor for extension cord power for tools.
    8. Scheduled changeout day with power company and electrical inspector. Already had permit. POCO representative gave permission to cut meter seal, because I already had permit from them.
    9. On day of changeover; at 7 AM, cut the old service drop on my side of connectors using a pair of Fiskar pruning loppers with fiberglass handles. This was the only hot work, and not at all hazardous.
    10. Removed meter and old meter socket and service drop. Removed old panel and temporary connections.
    11. Installed new meter socket with riser where it had been laid out.
    12. Connected preinstalled conduit from meter socket to panel.
    13. Ran conductors from load side of meter socket to panel. It helps to have a meter socket with "lay-in" terminals and removable internal shields. Completed this at about 9:15 and called electrical inspector for inspection.
    14. Inspector arrived about noon, approved the installation, and called the POCO for reconnect.
    15. POCO arrived at 12:45 and reconnected.

    The process worked because of all of the prefabrication and layout, and because all of the branch circuits had been connected to the new panel before the changeover was started.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,843
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    meter

    They probably want you to leave the old meter and wires alone and install the complete new system and then they will make the switchover after it is approved.
  10. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    This is like posting information on how to build a bomb and then saying you don't advise doing any of it.

    I know this is just my opinion, but it comes from expereince.
    Other than someone approved/qualified, NO ONE should EVER pull a meter. Let alone work on live UNFUSED service conductors!!! To even suggest such a practice is extremely careless. Giving detailed instructions is even worse.
  11. enosez

    enosez Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    In my area you need an underwriters certificate for the new instal before the POCO will reinstal the meter or do the hookup.
    .
  12. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    277
    Hj they have to inspect the new meter can and the wiring for it.

    But now that I think about it you could install the new panel next to the old one and remove the bonding jumper to make it a sub panel. Feed it off the main panel and get it inspected. If it passes then do the meter pan and reinstall the bonding jumper.


    Speedy I was trying to give a safer idea about how to do something that it looked like he was going to do a more dangerous way. But at the same time I was trying to let them know that this is not totally safe either.

    Hmm a bomb. What kind I have the hole internet and know how to use it.
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,843
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    meter

    Here, there is a $10,000 fine if anyone other than the electric utility removes the meter seal. The reason being that without the meter, creative types will connect to the hubs with alligator clips and "steal" the electricity, or install their own meter between readings to do the same thing.
  14. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    277
    You can pull it if there is an emergence. But you have to call you POCO ASAP. Most of them will send someone out to look like the cops or the fire department till they can get there (this is where I’m at). All the new meters will tattle when there plugged back in that they were removed and for how long they were out.

    Where I’m at an electrician and pull the meter and put it back in if they have gotten all the permit info. As far as steeling power ever electrician I have seen doing an upgrade will pull power to service (meter removed) with a set of clips. They will run there tools off.

    Have you thought about getting an electrician to come out and install a new meter / breaker can and service? This would give you a disconnect at the meter so you could do all your work safely.
  15. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    That's how it is here. We have to be on an approved list.

    As for "stealing" power, I have an inverter and two generators for that. Although I DO have a set of clips to use in a pinch. The time a contractor is using his clips is not what they mean by stealing power.
  16. BrianJohn

    BrianJohn DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    151
    Location:
    VA
    One does not need to cut the chessy seal to steal electricity. Utilities are stupid about this, there are many instances where QUALIFIED electricians need to pull meters to trouble shoot electrical issues and waiting for a utility employee is a waste of time.
  17. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    277
    If you do some searches on the new there is a tool you can use to get the wire to come out so you can reuse them. I have never tried this but I have seen the web site and seen it done.

    I know when they talk about steeling power there talking about a bit more than 8 amps on and off for a few hours.
  18. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I don't think that isn't hazardous, Bob. I guess you just have more balls than I do. :)

    Jason
  19. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Position during cut and insulated tool kept me well beyond the range of the hot conductor. Knowledge and planning eliminate risk.
  20. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Bob, I respect you, but IMO using a pruning tool to cut a live wire is neither knowledgeable nor well planned out. :(

    I am a FIRM believer in the right tool for the job.
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