Electric meter upgrade question-Intermittent power problem


#1

I’ve got a tenant home that power is going out on for up to 2 hours at a time up to 3 times per week. My park is configured with a 200 amp 4 meter base gang configuration per pole system that was built in the mid 70’s.

What is the life expectancy of electric meters like this? Electrical contractor is quoting $4500 to replace and I have trust issues.

When I ask what is the problem within the base he states that these old bases did did not seal well and corrosion eats them up.

Any advice or thoughts are appreciated.


#2

Are the other 3 tenants on the meter gang having issues too? It seems odd only one person is having issues. How do you know it’s not the home’s electric panel or connections?

If you do end up replacing the entire meter loop I would get some additional opinions / bids - that seems really high to just replace existing components. If there are new wires and trenching then maybe it’s justified.


#3

I have not had complaints from the other tenants. I don’t know if it’s the home electric panel so I have contacted a second electrician who is going out today.

As far as cost, it really is upgrading the components of 4 lots at the same time and I believe the parts are around $2500-$3000 (I’m told) or so not including any 200 amp wire to the homes which may be fine.


#4

Be careful on the material markup from electricians. Ask for a materials list along with their bid to confirm. A 200 amp panel and 4 gang meter can is well under $500, closer to $300 really. You can also get oversized aluminum wire instead of copper for about 1/3 of the cost. It had a bad reputation from the 70’s and 80’s, but that was usually due to improper installation. I use it in all my meter loop work I have performed with licensed folks.


#5

That’s great info, I didn’t look up the parts in years past and just did and you are spot on. This electrician has done this for me previously at a cost of $4500 and the invoice stated : “Install new 4 gang meter base with new overhead service and reinstall current secondary wires back to the base.”

I was suspicious then that I was getting hosed but the city utility company had given me a time limit to replace before it would get shut down which had freaked me out a bit.

What would you estimate you could get that job done for?


#6

If they’re installing an entirely new meter loop with overhead riser, and 4 gang can the parts should be under $600. It doesn’t sound like there is any digging involved and this would be about a 4 to 6 hour job. So at $4500 that would be about $900 per hour - ouch.

I put a lot of work into finding my contractors. The state has a lookup tool you can search by county for licensed contractors. I called every one of those guys to see who does residential work. I usually avoid the master electricians and go with the journeymen - they are competent and do freelance work commonly on the side of their full time job. When I speak to an electrician who does not do residential work I ask them for a referral and have had luck there too.

The electrician I have now charges about $75 per hour, and we negotiate a flat fee for any given job. When he’s not available and I’m in a pickle my backup electrician is $100 per hour. These are guys with their own van and a 1 man shop, or do weekend work. I supply the parts and they tell me what to get. Your job at my Park would cost me about $1,000-$1,250.

What are you going to do with the 3K you saved?