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An outdoor electricity meter box replacement typically costs between $100 and $800, or $375. Although this is uncommon, you could pay up to $5,000 in exceptional circumstances. Let’s examine each of the examples below.
A technician from your neighborhood utility provider comes by once a month to compute your energy bill. Your home’s outside meter indicates how much power you’ve used when using the dishwasher, turning on the lights, and binge-watching your favorite TV series. However, the container that protects your connected meter from the effects of the outside elements is your exterior electrical meter box.
What Is an Outside Electrical Meter Box?
A meter base or outer electrical meter box is precisely what it sounds like. It is the box that your utility provider manages to hold your electricity meter. But the box is much more than just a container. The design features a watertight cover, locks often, and fits your meter’s exact size.
What’s Inside a Meter Box for Electricity?
The frame that holds the wire and socket for the meter in place is also located within the box. This contains apertures for the live wires coming into and leaving your house, a central bus bar, and wire connecting lugs.
What justifies the outside location of the electrical meter box? It’s easy. If your technician doesn’t have to enter your house each month or if there is a problem, they will have an easier time accessing your meter.
However, the position does provide some difficulties and must be kept away from watercourses. Your meter box may need to be many feet from the ground, away from gutters, and in a location that is convenient for readings and repairs, depending on the local construction requirements.
Most of the time, the meter is maintained and paid for by your energy provider. Usually, you are responsible for the box, associated wiring, and the conduit pipes surrounding your cable.
To ensure what your obligation is, always visit the website of your neighborhood utility provider.
Even though meter boxes may endure for more than 25 years, you should replace them if:
- impacted or weather-related damage
- does not match the number of amps in your residence
- You’ve moved the electrical subpanels.
- Your outdated system has mercury.
Replacement of an Outside Electrical Meter Box Labor Cost
Working with a professional electrician is crucial to replace your outdoor electrical meter box. Electricians charge between $50 and $100 per hour, depending on the task’s difficulty.
Assume the project will take between one and four hours and cost between $50 and $400 in labor if you are merely replacing the meter box. Depending on their cost breakdown, you can also come across flat electrician costs, including travel and overheads.
You can wind up with a job that costs as much as $2,000 in labor if you need to relocate your meter box or need associated electrical work. For instance, installing new conduits, breakers, or subpanels may take up to eight hours. Overall, labor expenditures will make up a significant amount of the cost of replacing an electrical meter box, especially given the skill level needed for the work.
Costs Affecting the Replacement of Outside Electrical Meters
The electrical system in your particular property and regional rules might affect costs and labor. The following things may cause you to wind up at the lower or higher end of the pricing range.
The price of the meter box ranges from $50 to $250. About $100 more may also be required for additional fasteners, wiring, and fitters. For houses with greater amperage, material costs might go as high as $600.
There are several situations when having greater amperage available to a house might be advantageous. You could want extra amps to keep the lights on if you install a high-energy device, need to charge your electric car or add an addition to your house. An appropriate and separate meter box is often required for higher amperage. For the meter box alone, the following costs might be anticipated:
- Meter Box for 100-Amps: $60 to $250
- Meter Box for 200-Amps: $100 to $700
- Meter Box for 400-Amp: $500 to $800
Your electrician may be able to improve or repair a small portion of your meter box in certain circumstances rather than replacing the whole thing. However, many meters over 25 years old cannot meet current building requirements. Homes more senior than 50 years old may even have mercury-containing meters.
Regardless, older meters must be changed for safety and efficiency. You could get a smart meter and a new meter box, which is a positive. The smart meter will more accurately measure your power use and provide more information about how you use energy in your home.
Your meter box must be placed in the ideal area for accurate readings and safety. You might want to consider transferring it to a less dangerous location if a tree limb took it out during the previous storm. Additionally, it takes longer and costs more to replace your meter box if it is in an unusual location on your property (for example, under a big tree or between the house and the shed).
Remember that your electricity panel boxes often couple with your meter boxes. Without including either personnel or the price of making structural improvements to the house, the cost of new wiring, which is necessary when moving an electrical panel, may be between $2 and $4 per linear foot.
Your neighborhood utility provider must approve any meter adjustments, often after an inspection. Your electrician will get permits to change your outdoor electric meter box and any associated work once they support the modification. Although the cost of permissions varies greatly, you should set aside between $50 and $300 for only permits.
Insurance and Warranties
Several meter makers provide fundamental, no-cost guarantees for their electrical boxes in case of a manufacturing flaw. However, the expense may not be reimbursed if you need to replace your meter box due to wear and tear, damage, or a need for an update.
In this situation, you may also determine whether your homeowner’s insurance policy will pay some replacement expenses. For instance, the box could be covered by your plan if lightning or a fire destroys it. If you have a home warranty for situations like these, check with the business to see if discounts or coverage are available.
Replacement of the Outside Electrical Meter Will Cost More
The electrical meter box is one component of this power hub outside your house. A performance and safety upgrade of some of the associated components near your meter box may be advised by an electrician.
However, keep in mind to confirm which charges associated with the electrical system are your responsibility and which belong to the utility provider.
Outside electrical panels need special attention to safeguard your home’s system from moisture, dirt, and regular wear and tear. A meter box could include a breaker switch to shut off electricity to the sub panel in the case of an issue, much like the breakers in your house. A replacement breaker switch will cost between $175 and $225 in materials and labor.
When changing components of your exterior electrical system, subpanels are one of the most significant extra expenses. This job works hand-in-hand with the amp-related charges mentioned above because electricians build a sub-panel to raise the amperage of your house. Between $500 and $1,000 will be spent on components and labor to install the electrical sub-panel.
Entrance Service Cable
The responsibility for the wire from the electrical pole to your home and down the siding to the electrical meter box may fall within your authority since utility companies’ jurisdiction varies by city. You could spend between $1,000 and $1,500 to repair the wire if a tree cut it.
Replace a Fuse Box
Replace a fuse box with a new electrical breaker panel to improve your outside electrical system significantly. Depending on your home’s amperage needs and any connected components that need an update, the switch will cost between $1,500 and $4,500.
But be aware that moving from a fuse box to a breaker system requires complete home rewiring. In addition to these associated expenditures, rewiring a house may run between $2,000 and $9,000.
Replacement of Outside Electrical Meters: Professional vs. Do-It-Yourself
It makes sense to employ a qualified electrician to replace your meter box, and it’s often required by law. Although labor costs may be reduced, there is an excellent reason to leave such dangerous jobs to qualified specialists. Inadequate wiring may result in penalties, electrical system damage, and even fires in your house.
Almost all municipal construction regulations require a qualified electrician to replace meter boxes. However, because your energy provider is generally in charge of changing the meter, you should always double-check with them before making any changes.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
What is the turnaround time for replacing an outside electrical meter box?
An expert can replace the meter box in only one to four hours. The operation might take up to eight hours to relocate the box or repair any connected parts, such as a subpanel or breaker box.
When should I change the electricity meter box outside?
The primary justifications for replacing your outdoor electrical meter box are low amperage, age, corrosion, and restricted access. For instance, meter boxes older than 25 may no longer adhere to construction regulations.
And if your meter box doesn’t satisfy your home’s amperage needs or is in the wrong location about your sub panel, it’s time for an update.