Upgrading main service from 150 A to 200 A

I will be adding some heavy duty utilities (steam generator, work shop, whirlpool, hot tub, etc.) so I decided to upgrade my main service from 150 A to 200 A. I talked to an electrician and he said I need to run new 2/0 copper wire from the street electrical pole. My 150 A is fairly new, 8 years old, I don't know what gauge wire runs now from the street to 150 A panel but I checked the wire gauge chart and it seems the only wire can run is 2/0. Next in char 4 ga wire is rated only for 125 A so it cannot be used in 150 A service. How can I check what wire gauge I currently have and do I really need new wire for 200 A service?
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This is a completely local issue. You are of course referring to an underground service, and in many areas aluminum cable is allowed. It is up to the local utility who is going to service the electricity to decide what they want. I know some areas in NY, where ConEdison owns the underground lateral, they often leave conductors as small as #6 copper for a 200 amp service. If you own the lateral, they make you upgrade it to # 2/0 copper
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Call your power company. They will supply detailed specs on exactly what you need to do. It is a rare community that specifies copper from the pole. Around here (midwest) aluminum has been the norm for 40 years or more. Be aware that most underground wiring can be far bigger than overhead drops. The latter run cooler in the air, of course, but the following long conduit run down the side of the house will be warm to the touch under full load conditions. Consider underground if your service has a record of weather related outages.
Joe
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Joe wrote:

if you're adding those loads, you might look into 300 or 400a service.
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On 11/30/2010 4:32 PM, chaniarts wrote:

Yes indeed. No sense in all the cost to only go up 50 amps. Pay a little more and make it worthwhile.
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I do not have any underground service, it is the wire coming from the electrical pole to my house service plastic pipe entrance cap and then to meter and main panel. The electrician mentioned aluminum wire, I was under impression that only copper wire is used nowadays. Is aluminum wire cheaper then copper?
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wrote:

I do not have any underground service, it is the wire coming from the electrical pole to my house service plastic pipe entrance cap and then to meter and main panel. The electrician mentioned aluminum wire, I was under impression that only copper wire is used nowadays. Is aluminum wire cheaper then copper?
The wire coming overhead from the utility pole to your house is extremely unlikely to be copper. Yes, aluminum is way cheaper than copper. The wire in your standpipe (on your house) which goes from the weather head to the meter box, usually can be either copper or aluminum. If it's copper, it needs to be 2/0 and 4/0 if it's aluminum, for a 200 amp service. Typically, the overhead drop from the pole to the house is going to be aluminum 1/0, and usually owned by the utility company
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Thank you. This is useful. I also thought that the wire from the pole to the house (there are wire connections wrapped in what seems to me an electrical tape near the service entrance plastic pipe cap) is owned by the utility company and after these connections is owned by me. The electrician mentioned that I need around 65 ft of service entrance wire, I can't see why I need so much wire, the panel is in the same wall in the garage as the service entrance plastic pipe.
Also the question I have. Since the utility company owns the wire to my house from the pole how to verify that is is rated for 200 A and if it is not rated will they upgrade it?
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wrote:

Thank you. This is useful. I also thought that the wire from the pole to the house (there are wire connections wrapped in what seems to me an electrical tape near the service entrance plastic pipe cap) is owned by the utility company and after these connections is owned by me. The electrician mentioned that I need around 65 ft of service entrance wire, I can't see why I need so much wire, the panel is in the same wall in the garage as the service entrance plastic pipe.
Also the question I have. Since the utility company owns the wire to my house from the pole how to verify that is is rated for 200 A and if it is not rated will they upgrade it?
For standard installations, like 150 feet or less from the pole to the house, is usually owned and maintained by the utility company. Typically, they will upgrade their equipment if they deem it necessary.
The splice between their wires and your wires can be owned by you or by the utility company, this varies by utility company.
If the existing PVC conduit, from the head to the meter is large enough for 2/0 copper, or 4/0 aluminum, the electrician can leave it in place and just pull new conductors. This may explain the 65 feet, as there are three conductors involved.
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