I am bring new power into a new building site. The power company requires that I install a meter pedestal with a disconnect. I can do this myself or hire an electrician.

Since there is no live power until the meter pedestal is installed and the power company hooks it up, and since there is next to no wiring involved, I think I should be able to do this myself.

Basically it is setting a post, attaching the box, attaching a conduit in which the power company will run the incoming power and driving two ground rods.

The question is, I am supposed to have a disconnect. Now the meter box has eight slots for breakers and has one 200 amp breaker installed all ready. It seem to me the 200 amp breaker is the disconnect. YES?

  • 2
    I think they want an actual switch, that can be locked off. – Chris Cudmore Oct 12 '12 at 18:45
  • Why don't you ask the power company to clarify? – Tester101 Oct 12 '12 at 18:54
  • The drawing from teh power compnay says disconnect. It does not say lock-out. I know in industrial setting they often have locks which can be attached to such devices so people down line can work without the risk of someone turng the power back on, but not in residental settings. And besides this is an outside meter, 100 feet from teh building, and there is nothing to "work" on between this disconnect and the main house breaker. – alltaken Oct 12 '12 at 19:08
  • As for asking the power company ... heavy sigh.... The typical answer from power companies and boards like this (present, kind, company, excepted) is if you have to ask hire a professional. But I suppose I will do that. I wish I knew of a neighbor with a similar set-up to look at. The other odd thing is, the box I have purchased has the 200 amp breaker and then a seemingly special slot at the top which teh very brief instructions reference as a disconnect but oddly says it is limited to 50 amps. ??????? – alltaken Oct 12 '12 at 19:13
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    How about a call to the local building department? You should have gotten a permit, and an inspection should be required before power is connected. The inspector should know what's required in your area, and should be happy to answer any questions you have. – Tester101 Oct 12 '12 at 19:32

After reading your comments, it seems you should be alright with what you want to do.

The basic idea is that there has to be a circuit breaker style disconnect outside and away from the house, that can be operated by anybody (non electrician). If you only have a meter socket a general worker would not have the tools, or knowledge to pull the meter if there was any need (emergency or otherwise) to shut off the power. You also may not be able to use the load center as a disconnect (depending on your location), because at some point the load center will have to be moved into/onto the house. The general setup will look something like this.

enter image description here

The disconnect will have to be a weather proof, circuit breaker style disconnect.

  • @alltaken: I'm confused. Is this for a temporary service until the house is built with a permanent service entrance? This is the usual purpose of post mounted meters. The proper equipment in this case can often be rented. Or is this for the permanent service for the house? In which case this answer shows a proper configuration and I have nothing to add. In other words, will the meter be on the post permanently, or just until the house is ready to have it's permanent meter installed? – bcworkz Oct 13 '12 at 23:16
  • Permanent. This is a rural install. The power company desires a meter and disconnect outside and PREFERs not to have it mounted on the house. I will use the meter/disconnect/loadcenter as a temp service while building. Later I will have the discconnect on teh post or pedestal and an outlet for outdoor use, I might also run a line for driveway lighting, and or run my well off of it. – alltaken Oct 15 '12 at 18:33

I don't have any specific references but I do know that some municipalities require a service disconnect prior to the load panel. In some instances it must be on the exterior of the building. It could be for emergency personel to kill the power without entering the building or in the event of a fire at the load panel.

  • tester101. It is a bit odd around here. We don't have a building department, but we do need to get a STATE electrical permit. There is no state office in town, so you need to get permits via mail or on-line. There are inspectors SOMEWHERE local (?). So I suppose I should see if I can figure out where they are and how to contact them. To be honests, I have heard stories about inspectors not being too happy about non-licensed-homeowners doing work and so I would hope to keep my questions to a minimum. So try to do my homework upfront. Thanks – alltaken Oct 12 '12 at 22:30
  • mikes: Thanks for your into. You mention the ability to kill power outside the house. Not sure if that is why the power company wants a disconnect near teh meter (which by the why is not on teh house but a stand-alone item 100 feet from teh house - this is rural) but the bigger question is, is the 200 amp breaker in the service panel the disconnect asked for or is there ANOTHER item which is the disconnect? – alltaken Oct 12 '12 at 22:32
  • Could be the 200amp breaker is just that a breaker, not a disconnect. – mikes Oct 12 '12 at 22:35
  • Mikes: What is teh difference? IS and a breaker a discnnect? – alltaken Oct 12 '12 at 23:25
  • @alltaken It really matters how the law is written as to what can be classified as a disconnect. – Brad Gilbert Oct 13 '12 at 1:14

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