Pole to Meter Wire Capacity

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Torbero, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. Torbero

    Torbero New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2019
    Location:
    California
    This may seem a little odd. I am in the process of building a small home in a resort town in Mexico. The customer, in this case me, is required to provide all equipment and wiring up to service mast.
    Let me be clear that I'm not an electrician but have done many panel upgrades and wiring installations in California, mostly for friends, and I do have a general contractors license.

    Here is where I'm stumped. The electric company requires 6AWG for the wire to the mast to connect to the overhead utility lines. Based on my load, I'm installing a 150 amp breaker for the service disconnect to the house panel with 1AWG wire. At least that's the plan.

    While is common practice in Mexico to use 6 or even 8 AWG to connect to the overhead utility lines, will that wire provide enough amps to supply the 150 amp breaker? How do they get away with that size wire without causing amperage issues? I'm sure it does as this is their practice, but I just wanted to know the technical reasons.

    Another questions would be; if I decide to bypass using a service disconnect and install a main breaker panel inside the house (about 15 or so feet away from the meter base), do I need a separate grounding rod? And do I still need to bond the Main panel? Kept in mind that they also required that a grounding rod is install by the meter base and the ground wire connect directly to the meter base on the 5 jaw, which is attached to to neutral.

    I appreciate everyone that responds taking your time to answer what I hope may be simple answers.
     
  2. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida When the wife won't let you get a Harley!

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    Retired
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    Orlando, Florida
    It's all about ampacity rating of the wire. It would be very rare if you could pull 150 amps with everything turned on in the home. A 1 AWG rated at 90C is good for 150 amps where as 6 AWG is good for 75 amps. You could bring 1 AWG to the mast but if the utility uses 6 AWG hopefully they have the right size connector for the two different gauges.

    The local utility may have an average power usage per home and for expenses, 6 AWG may all they can install with costs and what the local grid can handle. One ground rod is needed near the meter and the breaker panel must be wired to it. Some areas require two ground rods usually where the ground is dry most of the year and determined by local code.

    https://www.usawire-cable.com/pdfs/NEC AMPACITIES.pdf

    My modern Samsung electric range can draw 8000 watts (35 amps) with all four burners on high and the oven on. Electric dryers are around 5000 watts. Central air is far less.
     
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  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    The wire in the air can dissipate more heat/power than a wire in a conduit or bored through wood. Also, the service wire does not come in contact with anything flammable.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
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  5. ImOld

    ImOld Octogenerian

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2013
    Location:
    In the rumble seat
    Above answers look good. I have no idea what Mexico uses for an electrical code but the NEC in this country requires a service disconnect which will become even more strict in the 2020 code. If you don't know why a service disconnect is required, you shouldn't be doing what you're doing.

    VI. Service Equipment — Disconnecting Means
    230.70 General. Means shall be provided to disconnect all
    conductors in a building or other structure from the service-
    entrance conductors.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
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    Semi-Retired
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Perhaps you left out the word "minimum" as in "requires a minimum 6AWG"? The length of run will be a factor in ground potential differences on the neutral when the load is unbalanced.
     
  7. Torbero

    Torbero New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2019
    Location:
    California
    Thanks so much for your reply ImOld... what I'm hoping to do is install a 2-space 2-Circuit meter main combo with a 15o amp main breaker and then a sub-panel inside the house.
     
  8. Torbero

    Torbero New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2019
    Location:
    California
    Thanks LLigetfa, I assume you are absolutely correct. Unfortunately I've only been able to gather info from sites that don't necessarily offer where the code is related to the questions. I will be going to the electric company's office to find out directly from them what the requirements are.
     
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