Electric meters are devices installed by utility companies to measure electricity consumption. Electrical cable coming from the utility pole runs directly into the electric meter which records the volume of electricity flowing through it in terms of kilowatt hours. Electric meters are seldom moved once installed, but renovations and other factors might force you to relocate the meter. Moving the meter involves disconnecting power from the utility company, disconnecting the cables that run into your electrical panel and dismounting the meter assembly. Once uninstalled, the meter assembly can be mounted in the new location and the wiring reconnected.
Things You'll Need
Trace the service drop or cable running from the utility pole into the weather head on top of the electric meter and see if it has been disconnected by the utility company. You can not work on the electric meter if the electric cable that feeds electricity to your meter is still connected to the line coming from the utility pole. With all circuit breakers switched on, turn on lights and appliances inside your home to make sure there is no more power flowing into your meter.
Cut the meter tag/seal on the meter box, using diagonal pliers. Open the meter box or remove the metal bracket running around the meter if there is one. Grip the meter with both hands and pull the meter toward you while slowly shaking it up and down to remove it. Place the meter in a safe location. View and note the manner in which each cable is connected to each terminal inside the open meter base.
Trace the grounding wire coming out of the base of the meter box and disconnect the wire from the ground rod, using a wrench or screwdriver. Loosen the three lugs in the lower half of the meter with a wrench and pull the cables from under the lug. Unscrew the holding screws that fasten the meter base onto the wall. Unscrew the clamps that hold the conduit pipe running from the weather head to the meter box.
Pull the meter box along with its attached pipe and weather head out of the wall. Mount the whole assembly to the new location. Hold the meter box against the wall at the same height as the original location. Align the box vertically and horizontally with a level and screw the meter base onto the wall, using screws you removed earlier. Replace the clamps that held the metal pipe below the weather head.
Slip the three cables coming from the electrical panel through the opening at the base of the electric meter. Plug the ends of the two power cables colored black or red into the two outer lugs in the lower half of the meter box following the same manner you noted in step 2. Slip the white neutral cable into the lug in the middle of the two power lugs. Tighten the lugs with a wrench.
Hold the meter upright and plug it back into the meter box. Close the lid and have the installation inspected by your local government authority for approval. Reconnect the ground wire you disconnected earlier to the ground cable. Call the utility company to reconnect the service drop once the installation has been inspected and approved.
Check with your local government authority regarding the requirements and restrictions for relocating an electric meter. Call your local utility company and advise them of your need to move the electric meter and to remove the meter seal. Wait for the utility company to disconnect the main electric cable running into the meter and to remove the meter seal before working on the meter.
Relocating an electric meter is a task that requires electrical training, experience and knowledge of applicable electrical codes. Refer the task to an electrician if you do not possess these qualifications.
- Self Help and More; Wiring Utility Controlled Meter-base, Wiring a New Main Service Rated Panel, Installing the Grounding System (NEC 2002); Warren Goodrich
- Inspectapedia: Electrical Meters - How to Inspect Electric Meters & Meter Bases For Signs of Arcing and Damage; How to Estimate the Electrical Service Size
- Make Your Own House: Service Panel for Diagram-Electrical-Home-Wiring