I'll spare everyone the details, but my question is if anyone can help me
figure out a way to open the lock on an outside electric meter box so I can
look inside and see if water is getting into that box.
I think that water is getting into the outside meter box and then running
down INSIDE the feed wire from there into my main service panel in the
basement (not along the OUTSIDE of the feed wire, and not through the
opening where the feed enters the building). I did try calling the electric
company to get them to open it, but I am not having any luck with that.
And, I do need to look inside the meter box to see what's going on, see if
water is leaking into it, etc.
Here are two photos of the electric meter box::
It is the locking mechanism on the lower right corner of the box that I
think I need to be able to open to take the cover off the box. I don't need
to, or want to, pull the meter etc. -- I just want to look inside to look
for signs of water getting into the meter box and, if so, where the water is
coming in from.
Until I looked at his pictures, I was about to suggest calling the power
company and asking them to come out and replace the meter - apparently
removed by vandals and left laying on the ground - so that they could
watch television tonight. An open meter can WILL get them moving faster.
Alas, it appears they've converted him to a smart (for them) meter.
Looks like the meter is blanked out so he has no way of reading/checking
his usage. "Oops, looks like you left some lights on this month, here's
your bill for 8,700kWh; yeah, we know you generally only use 4,800kWh.
Better take care now!"<g>
Sorry, I forgot to post that I taped a cardboard cover over the meter face
before taking the photos. I didn't want to post my actual meter number etc.
on the Internet. But, it's a regular meter and I can see the digital
i DOn't know what the second picture is, but I don't think it's a
You have a seal, AFAIK not a lock.
It's the thing in the middle, dangling down. You can cut it with
wire cutters, lift the lever, and pull off the whole front grey panel
with the big hole in it.
Whether the electric company will be mad at you for this is another
question, but I did it once (or twice?) and since I didn't steal any
electricity, the next time an electric guy was there, he just put on
another seal. They sell similar seals, but since they're not
identical, the power company will still know you've been fiddling with
(Once they had disconnected me for failure to pay my bill. I paid it
and they said to go home immediately, because in Baltimore they won't
reconnect you if you're not there. I went home and waited a couple
hours and wanted to make dinner or something, so I got impatient and I
broke the seal and reconnected the power. An hour or two later, the
guy showed up and I told him someone else had come and done it. (That
was true, I guess, if you count me as the someone) He didn't say a
word. I guess he was ticked. But he put a new seal on it. Later I
realized that he was the only guy either disconnecting or reconnecting
for my geographical area, so he knew no other BGE guy had come.)
I have no experience with extra holes in the box. Won't insects get
in and start living there? Does that matter?
It turns out that it is some type of locking mechanism.
Yes, I also have that seal in the middle that you noticed. I had already
cut that with wire cutters, lifted the latch, and tried to open the door.
It's the other mechanism that is keeping the door from opening.
I agree, and I don't care if the electric company complains that I cut the
wire. I did try calling them first when the water was dripping inside the
main panel and onto the main breaker, but they never showed up after I
waited, waited, and waited, called them back, and then waited some more, and
then finally gave up.
just to clarify, are you the property owner or a tenant? In all places I
have lived, or had businesses, the meter belongs to the power company.
All else belongs to the property owner and is his responsibility. Water
getting into the meter box is not the power company's problem.
Some of that did surprise me. I got different stories each time I called
the electric company about this. One electric company rep person did say
that they are only responsible up to the meter, so if the problem is after
the meter, it's my problem and not theirs. That would make me think that if
water was getting into the meter box, it would be their problem, based on
what they said. But, I actually thought that they are only responsible up
to the drop -- which is why I always pay an electrician who is putting in
new service to do the drop, the meter box, the main panel, etc.
But, what surprises me the most is that if I have an electrical problem, and
they come out and see what it is, I thought I could either pay an
electrician to fix it or have the electric company fix it and charge me for
the repair. For example, if I have an electric stove that isn't working, I
thought they could fix it and bill me. In my area, gas and electric is
supplied by the same company, and that's how they handle the gas side of
things regarding repairs. So, I assumed that they would do the same with
the electric side of things -- but maybe I'm wrong about that.
These things do vary from location to location. In downstate NY, the
utility company owns the overhead wires from the pole to the building,
and the meter. The property owner owns the box that the meter plugs
into. The real pia is that they get to put a lock on your box, to
protect their meter.
I guess they added that after people like you and me started opening
the box ourselves.
Last week I got a smart meter. My doorbell was covered with ivy and
he says he knocked. I think I heard him knock on t he next townhouse
after he had already installed mine. He said if I wanted they would
take out the smart meter and put in the old style.
What gets me is that when I didn't pay on time, they took a long time
to disconnect me, but now they can do so with the blip of an electron.
They may not wait as long. Of course they might reconnect more
quickly. I doubt they will charge less.
That's a hydraulic lock. If you need to get in you'll have to get the
Typically rain water gets in if you have "SE" type entrance cable with
Ductseal around the rain tight fitting at the top of the box. The
Ductseal dries out leaving a space for water to travel down the cable
into the box. It usually drips onto the wires which go into the house,
which causes it to flow through the sheath with the wires and into the
service panel. Unfortunately, making holes in the bottom of the box
won't solve this, you need to prevent entry. I would run a bead of
silicone around the fitting at the top of the box. Also check that the
weatherhead at the top of the service standpipe is not broken or
otherwise exposed to rain.
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