Electric meter code requirement

Hi,
I've gotta install a new electrical service. The existing one uses fuses, it's fifty years old, and it's 60 amp.
The meter sticks out of the bedroom wall, to the exterior, toward the back of the house. The meter reader can read it over the back gate, even though it's kind of far away. The fusebox goes inside a bedroom closet, opposite the meter. A weatherhead and mast drops straight down from the roof, inside the bedroom wall, to the fusebox/meterbox.
A few years ago, I installed an aluminum patio cover. It now covers the area where the meter is located, but only overhead. It's not the kind of patio cover you could ever close in. It's got those self-supporting aluminum panels overhead. I got a permit for it. I know the service drop must be at least three feet above the top of the patio cover. It is.
The building inspector says I can't just replace the electrical service because there's something in the uniform building code that says an electric meter can't be located under an aluminum patio cover. He says the rule was written because too many people enclose patio covers so that the meter reader can't see the meter.
I replied that if I made the meter impossible to read they would cut off my electricity. (The city owns the electric company.) I also pointed out that it would be very difficult -- and foolish -- and illegal -- and I'd get red-tagged -- to enclose this patio cover. The upgrights are too spindly and far apart. He curtly said it was the law, not open for discussion.
The inspector wants me to move the meter way around closer to the street, on the side of the garage, with a main breaker, then run conduit over to where the existing meter is. This is a big job, expensive, it requires pulling a lot of heavy, expensive cables through a lot of expensive rigid conduit and elbows, on the exterior of the house. (I can't go underground because there is a slab in the way.
Everybody I talk to says they never heard of any such code provision. They suspect the inspector is trying to make life difficult for me, so I'll hire one of his contractor buddies to do the job.
I also understand remotely readable meters are widely in use now, which makes the rule seem even more stupid.
Can anyone tell me what section and paragraph this guy is talking about? (I'm in California.)
Please advise.
Cheers,
Tim Miller
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Timothy Miller snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com wrote in message snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com

I too live in Ca and have a situation very similiar to yours. My meter which is in the back of the house can only be read if I leave the side yard gate unlocked, which I refuse to do because of the pool.
However my utility, SoCal Edison, mounted an electronic meter in place of the regular one, and now the meter reader can read the meter with a hand held device while standing in my front yard.
If I were you, I would remove that portion of the aluminum patio cover thats above your meter to satisfy the inspector, and once he's gone, back goes the patio cover.
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go fish wrote:

--snip--
--snip--
Hey... I like the remote meter query thing. Don't some meters have modems, these days?
I appreciate your suggest re the patio cover. Won't work, though... The cover is the kind that has those long, interlocking aluminum panels that seem totally flimsy until you lock them together and bolt them to the supports. You can't remove a panel. Tha isn't the inspector's concern anyway. He says the issue is I can't put a meter in an area that might be enclosed later, making the meter unreadable.
Other comments welcome. Well, actually, they are desperately needed.
Cheers,
Tim
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Timothy Miller wrote: > Tha isn't the inspector's concern

He's lying to you. *Any* place you put a meter might be enclosed later.
Why are you upgrading the service? (not that it's a bad thing to do) Have you done a load analysis? Where are you going to put the new breaker box?
Bob
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wrote:

Some meters have _transmitters_ not modems, where we lived before going south the electric and water companies used them and collected the readings with a helicopter that passed over the area.
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FWIW yesterday an acquaintance described how our local power company (eastern Canada) replaced his old style meter with a newer digital model that can be read remotely. he understands that the 'new' meter is considerably more expensive and are here, so far anyway, only being used to overcome access difficulties such tas this. The previous owner of my acquaintance's house had added a garage thus enclosing the meter 'within' the premises. So unless someone was at home the meter reader could not get in! (BTW there is a scheme whereby homeowners can read the meter themselves and either phone or internet the reading to the power company.) Apparently with the new meter the reader now stops in my friend's driveway and 'reads' the meter without getting out of the vehicle; doesn't matter if anyone is home or whether the garage is open or locked! Good luck with yours.
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Call your utility, ask them it is their rules your concerned about. I am sure a phone call and your going to know what you have to do. It is very common when upgrades are done that the location is changed.
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SQLit wrote:

-- snip --

Hi SQL,
I'm afraid you typed too fast. I can't quite figure out your reply.Please clarify.
I'd like to chat about it with the inspector, but I got this major "don't question me, boy" kinda vibe. I'm gonna have to deal with him later, so a light touch is definitely needed.
I thought a good start would be to read the exact text of the building code relative to this issue. The city hasn't modified the uniform building code in any way. They just adopted the whole thing.
I can understand that meter locations are changed when upgrades are done. Changing mine will be an expensive ordeal. Ugly, too, if I have 2" to 3" conduit running along the exterior walls of the house. I'll put it up near the roofline or down near the ground, but ugly still.
Further comments deseperately needed, from SQL and others.
Have a nice weekend.
Tim Miller
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Timothy Miller wrote:

Around here, the utility company dictates where the meter goes, not the inspector. The inspector makes sure you connect it properly. Contact the utility company and see what they say.
The inspector should be able to tell you what paragraph of the code he is using. If he can't, you should talk to his supervisor.
It might be easier to take the awning down (temporarily).
Bob
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zxcvbob wrote:

Before you get obsessed with where the meter is, you might want to verify that the new panel can even remain where it is. (Many places don't allow a breaker box to be in a closet...)
There is only one set of wires that comes into the house. Who told you that the relocation would entail "a lot of heavy, expensive cables"? All you should need is 1 cable from the cutoff to wherever the breaker panel ends up.
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wrote:

Around here the code authority dictates where the utility entrance area will be located on a house - the inspectors and utilities comply with the requirement of the code - when our house was built the builder missed the location by 16 inches when his electrician ran the telephone lines and the phone company would/could not install the NIC or connect the phone lines for the house!

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When you upgrade your electric service, you need to bring everything up to code period. You also need to get approval from your electric utility and do what they say so far as location of meter, height and location of wires, and on and on.
Here is PacificCorp's Electric Service Requirements for California as an example... http://www.pacificorp.com/Article/Article14684.html
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wrote:

You answered your own question when you said you are in California. That state has more laws than carter has pills, and now that you got an ultra conservative nazi actor in charge, it will get worse...... Face it, California is not part of the USA, it has NO freedoms.
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.@..com wrote:

No, we just feed you, lead your economy along, teach you how to build computers and lead your laws to stop pollution.
That said, the OP is stuck with an inspector with a stick up his ass. One way to mitigate the situation might be to chat with the folks from the power side of the city.
He doesn't want to hear a challenge from you. The goal now is to get a reasoned argument from someone else. And give him a way out without him having to back down and lose face.
The other thought of "don't have it covered while he's there" works too.
If you cover it 4-5 months later (he might spot check in a month), then you get a violation and an appeal. To other people where reason comes in. Stopping you because of something that *might* happen later is silly.
And no, I've dealt with stupid and good inspectors in California, Massachussetts, Maine and Washington. It's more about the power they feel they need to exert than location.
(it may also simply be that the guy dealt with an idiot 2 months ago and is touchy about it right now cause he got burned).
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Since I cannot see your house, I cannot give you other options. I suggest that you contact the power company and have them send someone over to assess the situation. Also you might try calling some electrical contractors over to provide other possibilities.
I do know that California is a very tough state. They have many codes and regulations for contracting.
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

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Tim,
I don't believe this issue is specifically addressed in the National Electric Code.
As John pointed out, California is a rough state when it comes to state or city/county building codes In Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky... where I do business, the utilities are pretty much wide-open as to meter locations as longs as they can be read either by sight or electronically. It is not at all uncommon for meters to be located in areas which are inaccessible from the outside.
Are there on-line resources available for your utility? Many utilities (in the regulated states, anyway) publish their electrical tariffs in which the meter requirements are clearly stated.... ditto for state/local entity codes. If they are not available electronically, they are a matter of public record and should be available in state/city/county offices and your local library.
The NEC only addresses the safety of these installations and not the convenience of utilities that have to read them. Your utility, or a licensed local electrician, should be very familiar with meter location requirements.
Good luck,
Jake
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