If you read the fine print in the contract you signed with your utility company, then you might have noticed a clause stating that it’s your responsibility to maintain your meter socket. So what exactly is a meter socket, and what kind of maintenance does it need?
Meter Socket Maintenance
A meter socket, also known as a meter base, is located on the outside of your home and is an enclosed mounting device for your electrical meter. It’s the connection point where the power company’s system ends and your home’s wiring begins. Because of this, maintaining your meter socket is your responsibility.
Unless you’re a licensed electrician, it’s not advisable to perform any work on your meter socket’s wiring or other electrical components yourself. However, there are several things you should do to ensure your meter socket remains in good working order:
- Keep it free of dirt and debris. Because the meter socket is located on the exterior of your home, it will quickly get covered in dirt and grime. Regularly clear away debris, and wipe away any dirt with a dry cloth to make sure that the grime doesn’t work its way into the wiring, as that can cause unnecessary wear and tear.
- Provide easy access. From time to time, meter readers and technicians need access to the meter. It’s your responsibility to make sure the meter socket isn’t blocked by trees, shrubs, or plants. As a rule of thumb, keep a free space of 12 inches on either side and three feet in the front of the meter.
- Be smart with moisture and gas. If you’re having a pool or Jacuzzi installed, keep it well away from the meter socket—at least 6 feet. If you have a gas or propane tank on your property, make sure the distance to the side of the socket is at least six feet and to the front, a minimum of three feet.
- Call a licensed electrician for any repairs, as well as yearly maintenance. It’s not unusual for meter sockets to get damaged due to storms or accidents. If your meter socket needs repairs, don’t attempt to do it yourself. Call a licensed electrician as soon as possible. In addition, schedule annual checkups to make sure that the mounting device and all connections are in good shape.
- Inform the power company before making upgrades. Are you planning to rewire your home and/or increase the capacity of your electrical system? The check in with your power company first, because it will impact the type of meter socket and equipment you need.
When you get your power from the grid, you and the utility company share the responsibility of delivering electricity safely to your home. That’s why it’s important to know where the power company’s responsibilities end and yours begin. And when you know what you’re accountable for, you can minimize the chances of any mistakes on your part that could compromise your home’s electricity supply or even create dangerous situations. As a result, you’ll be more likely to have a well-functioning, safe electrical system that delivers an uninterrupted power supply to your home for years to come.
Call the experts at Randy’s Electric to learn how to properly maintain your meter socket today!