How to hook up a meter and circuit breaker box

Written by allen teal
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How to hook up a meter and circuit breaker box
Wires enter the electric meter box from the utility company and exit to power the house circuits. (meter terminal image by Chris Galbraith from

When preparing to wire a new residence, two key devices must be installed before the circuitry inside the house will function. The first is a meter box that measures the amount of electricity that the home uses. This box must be installed before the home can be connected to the utility lines. The second is a main breaker box or service panel that hold the breakers that controls the circuits within the house. Power to the entire house can be shut off at the meter box. To turn off only an individual circuit, the specific breaker for that circuit must be turned off in the breaker box.

Things you need

  • Electric meter box
  • Weather head
  • Conduit
  • Wire
  • Breaker box
  • Allen wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Cordless electric screwdriver
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Screws

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  1. 1

    Consult with the local utility company regarding the correct placement and precise installation configuration for the meter box. Most of these boxes are installed on the outside wall of the house as near as possible to the main service panel inside the house. If the utility lines are overhead, a weather head is usually installed along with the meter box. For underground utility wires, conduit may need to be installed from the bottom of the box to the nearest utility connection.

  2. 2

    Hold the meter box in position where it will be located on the outside wall of the house roughly 1.5 m (5 feet) above ground level. Use a pencil and mark the location of the 5 cm (2 inches) opening in the back of the meter box on the wall of the house. Using a 5 cm (2 inches) drill inch bit, open a hole in the wall at the location that was marked. Attach the meter box to the house with a cordless electric screwdriver and screws so that the hole in the box aligns with the hole that was drilled.

  3. 3

    Strip 2.5 cm (1 inch) of insulation with wire strippers from the ends of the two black wires that will go to the utility connection. Push the ends of the these wires under the incoming lugs in the electric meter box and tighten them with an Allen key. The other end will be left at the point designated by the electric company.

  4. 4

    Cut two more lengths of this same cable long enough to reach from the meter box to the service panel and strip 2.5 cm (1 inch) of insulation from each end. Push one end of each wire in the outgoing lugs on the meter box and the other end through the wall and under the main breaker lugs inside the service panel. Tighten all four lugs with the Allen key.

  5. 5

    Cut a piece of the white cable long enough to reach from the breaker box through the meter box and to the point for the utility company connection. Strip insulation from the end of this wire and insert it under the lug on the neutral bus. Use the Allen key to tighten the lug to secure the wire. Run the wire through the wall and through the meter box to the connection point for the electric company. The service panel is now ready to have the house circuits installed.

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