Electric meters are the property of the utility company providing service. The utility company charges for installation of the original meter. This initial fee can be significant, so you want to be sure the removal will be permanent. One reason for meter removal is installation of alternative electric power sources, such as solar cells. Meters usually feature a metal or plastic seal. This is attached to deter tampering by anyone other than an electric company employee.
Upgrades require removal of the current electric meter. The new meters, called automated meter reading (AMR) models, can be read remotely. Older models require company representatives to physically examine them to record the dial readings. Electronic readings are more accurate. Utilities, including the City, Water, Light and Power Department of Springfield, Illinois, report that the remotely read meters increase the reliability of electric service. The new meters that include these monitors can also detect an outage more quickly and send an incident report to the utility.
Damage to Meter
Electric meters may require replacement due to damage. Homes severely damaged in natural disasters, including hurricanes and tornadoes, may require the meter to be removed before repairs are done. Meters typically involve three types of installation, including underground, overhead with a house mount and overhead with roof mount. The responsibility for meter damage repair varies with the electric company. Progress Energy holds the consumer responsible for the meter box, weather head, conduit wire and riser in working order. The riser and weather head are the 'upside-down, J-shaped metal cap and the pipe that runs down to your electric meter," according to Atlantic City Electric. The utility company accepts the responsibility for all other damage involving the service lines and electric meters.
Exterior Home Remodeling or Repair
Exterior home remodelling or repair may necessitate the removal of an electric meter, if the meter is attached to house siding or trim. An electrician or utility company worker must disconnect the brackets holding the meter. This may also involve disconnecting the live electric lines, depending on the length of the wires and available metal connection cable. The overhead electric power installation may require meter removal when the roof or roof fascia needs replacement. Overhead meter wires must travel via metal conduit up and through the roof line. The overhead-line installation may also connect wires at the decorative fascia board attached to the front of the roof.
Removal of Traditional Electric Service
Homes operating off the electric grid, without the need for electric power supplied by the utility, may find the house meter removed by the utility company. Most homes, even those using alternative energy, require occasional use of electric power. Solar shields or solar cells also require a new hybrid meter for the alternative energy installation. Homes operated with power from on-site wind turbines or windmills incorporate new meter upgrades to record the electric energy supplied by the alternative energy source. The new meters also show additional power used by the homeowner from the general power grid.