Every home with electric power has an electric meter unless the house is powered by its own generator. Except in rare cases, the meter box has to be installed by the user. This installation must be done to the standards of the utility provider before the meter will be plugged into its socket, allowing the electric utility to provide electricity to the home.
Contact the utility company to have the electricity turned off at the pole before proceeding. In new construction, call and verify that the building has not been connected before beginning to work on wiring a meter box. Never work with the wiring inside a meter box with the power on.
Measure 5 feet from the foundation of the house up the wall where the meter box will be installed. Hold a level on that mark. With a pencil, draw a line 1 foot long that runs parallel to the ground. This mark will be the location of the bottom of the meter box.
Hold the bottom of the box on this line. Use a pencil to draw a circle using the hole in the back of the meter box on the wall. Using a 3-inch drill bit and cordless electric drill, drill an opening through the wall into the house. Lift the meter box into position so that the opening in the back of the box lines up with the new hole. Attach the box to the wall using the cordless drill and screws.
Attach the conduit for the incoming electric cables to the meter box. This may be a weather head for overhead lines or an upward extension from buried conduit. The conduit will slide slightly into the meter box and be hand tightened into position with a large conduit nut.
Pull the electric cables through the conduit and into the meter box. These wires should not be attached to the power lines until after the entire meter box installation is completed. This will be three cables for most 200-amp home installations. There will be two hot wires and one neutral or ground wire.
Push the ends of the hot cables under the incoming power lugs inside the meter box. Use a wrench to tighten the lugs until the cables are secure. Repeat this process with the neutral cable under the lug near the center of the box. Push the ends of the hot cables going into the residence under the lugs for the outgoing power and tighten them with the wrench.
Attach two ground wires to the neutral lug. One of these wires should go to the circuit box inside the house. The other will exit the meter box and be fastened with a clamp to a ground rod. The rod will have been inserted 5 feet into the ground near the foundation of the house. Push all three of the cables going into the house through the opening at the back of the meter box so they can be pulled to the circuit breaker panel inside the house. Once the cables are connected to the breaker box, call the utility company to hook up your power and plug in your electric meter.
Do not hook up the electrical service to the power lines until after the meter box is properly installed.
Tips and warnings
- Do not hook up the electrical service to the power lines until after the meter box is properly installed.