I'm upgrading the electrical service to my cottage from 100A meter pan to 200A as per the power company's requirement. I am installing the hardware myself--meter pan, weather-pole, wire, etc.
I plan to use 4/0 4/0 4/0 aluminum SEU wire from weather head down and out of the bottom of the pan into the structure. My question is:

  1. Can I use SEU wire (the acronym is Service Entry Underground), and I wasn't sure if it can be used "overhead".

  2. One of the conductors is "striped". What does the stripe mean? Does it have to be connected a certain way to the power company's twisted pair?

  • 3
    One thing to watch for is that the insulation on cable meant for underground use might not be resistant to hardening and cracking when exposed to sunlight.
    – The Photon
    Feb 24 '21 at 0:06
  • 3
    I suggest you ask this in the Home Improvement/DIY section - there are many home electrical system experts there. You should state your location in your question, as Electircal Code rules vary in different jurisdictions. Feb 24 '21 at 0:07
  • 3 insulated conductors would be ok from the service drop H,H,N but not for the feed into the house you also need the ground. The answer below if the pipe size was ok the guy wire may need to be added or beefed up. The single striped conductor is your grounded or neutral conductor. Is the cable stamped sunlight resistant? Is there an outer ground mesh on the cable under the jacket?
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 24 '21 at 16:22

I do not have the answer to your question, but would like to share my experience.

The previous owner of our house upgraded from 100A to 200A service. One of two things happened, can't recall, but either a) new roof or b) smart meter installation. Whichever it was, the power company said that the roof attachment was not strong enough to support the weight of the 200A service, and would need to be repaired. They gave me a pamphlet, which of course I cannot find right now. Went thru various scenarios, including installing a larger diameter pipe, but in the end, I paid a licensed electrician, he installed a u-bolt that wrapped around one of the rafters and feed between the slats. Also an MSEE.

TL;DR might need to do something to handle the increased weight of heavier wire.

  • RocketFeathers, thank you very much for sharing your experience. I'm in a similar boat. I've decided to install (at my cost) a new pole outside the cottage. The electric company will connect the community pole to this new pole. Then I will come down into the 200A/240V meter pan with schedule 40 PVC pipe. I will come out of the bottom of the pan and then into the structure with the same light PVC. This will solve the weight issue. Of course, it will cost some money, but I think this is the best solution. Thanks again. Fred.
    – Frederick
    Feb 24 '21 at 21:14

Conduit is a good idea, but check with your electric company as to the type

While running a proper service mast instead of using SEU (Type SE, Style U or Service Entrance - Unarmored, aka two insulated wires inside a spiral metal braid, with a jacket over the top) cable by itself to bring your service down from the weatherhead to the meter is a good idea, you'll want to check with your electric utility as to what type of conduit. Some utilities may require you to use Schedule 80 (instead of 40) PVC, or even metal conduit such as EMT or RMC/GRC; they may also require a minimum size for your service mast, although 2½" is generally safe for a 200A service. Note also that with EMT, you may have difficulty finding a suitable fitting to thread into the hub on top of the meter base; this isn't an issue with PVC (where a male adapter is fine) or RMC (which just threads right in), though.

Note that if you have USE (Underground Service Entrance, aka three insulated conductors cabled together without a jacket) cable instead, you may or may not be able to use it in conduit for the service drop wires. (It depends on if the USE cable is multi-rated RHH/RHW-2 as well, or only single-rated as USE aka URD.) Either way, you'll want to leave a "tail" of individual wires at the weatherhead for the utility to connect to; 18" is typical for this, but they'll be running the overhead conductors to your mast unless they put their meter on the pole, which is possible, but brings much more into the picture.

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