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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Tyler, TX
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    Default Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    A Realtor called me about tomorrow's inspection saying that the power was not on, but could she just flip the "orange" lever.

    I tried to get a visual/mental image of what she could mean and we talked for a bit. Finally, I told her not to touch it and to contact the listing agent and let that person get the power turned on.

    She just sent me a photo of the "orange" lever.

    Never seen a meter base like this. I bet the power co. will be ticked when they find their tag had been cut off.

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    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
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    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    The orange lever is a bypass and acts as a switch.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  3. #3
    Robert Meier's Avatar
    Robert Meier Guest

    Default Re: Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    That lever is for meter bypass so you can operate the system without the meter installed.


  4. #4
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    May 2007
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    Tyler, TX
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    Default Re: Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    interesting. why would the power company allow that?

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Tyler, TX
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    Default Re: Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    found this:

    The socket assembly has a bypass means made of cams and coupled to a rotatable shaft. The cams are mobile, allowing the current to be redirected through the meter, enabling work on the meter without disabling the current.

    So apparently, the only issue is the tag was cut off of it.

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  6. #6
    Lou Romano's Avatar
    Lou Romano Guest

    Default Re: Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    If you lift the lever and engage the bypass you will also release the meter. The bypass lever not only bypasses the meter and opens the jaws so the meter can be removed and if you are not holding the meter in place with your hands they can sometimes fall right out. The bypass is NOT a means of disconnect and should not be used to turn the power on. When engaged the meter and cover can not be installed as the lever sticks out past the front of the enclosure.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
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    Default Re: Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    JB,
    1st off I've pulled a of meters, worked withe triplex and I respect electric don't fear it. That being said I would suggest that for your own liability to not get involved with restoring the service. The spades on the meter box are/should be capped.

    Why the cover has been removed is an issue in itself. If the cover is off and accessible it is a liability. I always put a security clip to lock the cover on the box never leaving it unlocked.

    I would tell the buyers agent to keep her hands out of the box and not to remove the cover. If the cover is off I would tell her to call the listing agent and send a registered letter to confirm verbal notification that the box is open. Puts agent on notice of being responsible for liability.

    Then tell buyer agent to call selling agent and have them restore power. I also would document everything that has transpired to this point and in the future with the inspection.

    If the realtor has to ask a question about flipping the red lever they should not be touching it.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Plano, Texas
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    Default Re: Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    That is a death waiting to happen

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  9. #9
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
    Garry Blankenship Guest

    Default Re: Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    Quote Originally Posted by JB Thompson View Post
    interesting. why would the power company allow that?
    A great question ! Utility companies, ( the metering departments ), have meter slugs, ( jumpers to manually insert when the meter is removed, but power is still needed ). Allowing bypass equipped meters makes no sense to me either. Some mfg. sales rep. must have convinced a utility buyer how "convenient' the feature would be for them when changing / repairing meters. Generally speaking the meter can is no place to be. Practically speaking, that is unfused wire and an inadvertent short would make quite a show. Utility companies usually have fuses on the high voltage side of a transformer, but you do not want to see how much damage can happen before they open / blow.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Colorado Front Range
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    601

    Default Re: Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    A great question ! Utility companies, ( the metering departments ), have meter slugs, ( jumpers to manually insert when the meter is removed, but power is still needed ). Allowing bypass equipped meters makes no sense to me either. Some mfg. sales rep. must have convinced a utility buyer how "convenient' the feature would be for them when changing / repairing meters. Generally speaking the meter can is no place to be. Practically speaking, that is unfused wire and an inadvertent short would make quite a show. Utility companies usually have fuses on the high voltage side of a transformer, but you do not want to see how much damage can happen before they open / blow.
    The idea behind a meter bypass is that it allows the meter to be removed or installed with no load on the lugs. They aren't rated as a switch or disconnect. Also, if there is a fault the bypass contacts won't explode quite like the meter would. Exploding meters put moulten aluminum at eye level.

    The bypass is a very sensible safety device for anyone dealing with the meter.

    Keep in mind not all utility rules are the same.
    We routienely change service equipment here and install jumpers as part of the process. We can pull meters but can't reinstall them so jumpers are installed between the time the work starts and when the utility sets the meter after inspection.

    Occam's eraser: The philosophical principle that even the simplest solution is bound to have something wrong with it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    Its a felony in Virginia for unauthorized removal of the seal on a meter base. Electrician can do it when necessary but they have to call the power company to notify them.

    A broken meter seal is one of the reasons I called a local code compliance office after an inspection on a "Rehabbed" house. I was checking to see if they had issued approval to use the new structural screws in deck construction as replacement for 1/2" bolts and to see what building permits were issued for the address in question. No and nothing since 1999 were the respective answers. The official I spoke to requested that they be notified if my client did not by the house. They would pay a visit to the house and seller. The seller is some national flipping outfit.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Tyler, TX
    Posts
    719

    Default Re: Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    The reason I'd never seen a meter base like this on the inside is that they are normally tagged. So I hadn't realized there was a lever in there.

    Power company restored power this morning and still didn't tag the silly thing.

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    www.TylerHomeInspector.com
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    NY State
    Posts
    440

    Default Re: Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post

    If the realtor has to ask a question about flipping the red lever they should not be touching it.
    THIS is the bottom line.

    A "realtor" should NOT be going ANYWHERE near that orange lever!!!!!!

    Why it's open is anyone's guess.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    421

    Default Re: Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    To tag or not to tag, is not the question. That is Utility property and jurisdiction and should not be any Damm HI's business or concern.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
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    Default Re: Has anyone ever seen a meter base like this?

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    To tag or not to tag, is not the question. That is Utility property and jurisdiction and should not be any Damm HI's business or concern.
    Because that is power company property and they tend to get very testy when people mess with it around here, I would mention it to my buyer.
    "I" would want to get anything questionable settled BEFORE I buy and am responsible.
    Bad deal to let the Po Co find it and pull the meter/service because of tampering.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

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