09:53AM | 01/06/03
Member Since: 01/05/03
5 lifetime posts
I'm in the process of replacing the siding on my home and will eventually be replacing the service panel also.

This question applies to both of these projects. How do I work safely around the service entrance and drop? Unlike other electrical projects have completed, this one has no means of deenergizing the conductors I'm working with. That jacks up the stakes a little bit. This seems like a common issue but I can't find it really addressed anywhere.

It seems that I will need to disturb the mast, conduit, and meter on the outside of the house to install the siding. At some point I'm going to have to be within the 3ft minimum clearance for working on a sub300V line. It also seems like the power company would care about me disturbing their service entrance but I can't imagine that siding contractors dutifully call the power company to have them move service entrances long enough to slide some siding underneath it.

As far as the new service panel goes, the same problem arises. I know that I need to get the power company to install to size the conductors for the amps I want to upgrade to. After they leave, I'm still left with the problem of hooking hot cables into my new service panel.

Any help will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Tom O

11:49AM | 01/06/03
Member Since: 09/17/02
487 lifetime posts
No, No 1000X NO! You do not work your service changeover hot.

What you will likely have to do is build your new service. Once it passes inspection, the power company will disconnect your old one and connect your new one.

Building your new service will include replacing & upsizing the mast and or service entrance cable, installing a new meter socket, a new panelboard and bringing your grounding system into compliance with the NEC and/or local codes.

As far as those siding guys are concerned, they usually install J-channel around the meter socket (just like you would do around a window)& do not attempt to get the siding behind the meter. If they can't slide the siding behind a service mast, they run j-channal up both sides of the mast.

The siders that try to take the service apart or pull the meter out of the socket usually have no idea what they are doing or what they are risking. The power company in my area really frowns on anyone, electricians included, attempting to do any work on a live service.


04:47PM | 01/06/03
Member Since: 01/05/03
5 lifetime posts
Thanks for the response, Tom. Didn't mean to worry you about my sanity there. I guess, at the time, my question seemed more reasonable to me. My thinking was that whenever someone is working inside an existing service panel there are two exposed, live wires that cannot be deenergized. Granted it's very different from moving hot conductors but it's still an example of a time when someone has to work with (or at least near) something that's energized.

I'm still curious about something that maybe you know. It seems like at least one person still has to work on a live line. After all, they don't shut down a grid every time a service connection is made within it, do they? Do they wear rubber suits or what?

Again, thanks so much for your response, it was very helpful!


Tom O

02:56AM | 01/07/03
Member Since: 09/17/02
487 lifetime posts
Typical garb for working on 120/240 volt services for the linemen in my area is rubber gloves with leather glove protectors, rubber gauntlets & a non-conductive hardhat.

Service drops can be turned off by pulling out the primary fuse to the transformer, though this usually isn't donbe if the transformer serves more than one house.


11:56AM | 01/07/03
Member Since: 09/01/02
31 lifetime posts
The best solution for your purposes is to build a temporary service that complies with the standards established by your serving utility as well as the NEC. Many utilities will permit the use of a six by six pole of sufficient length as a temporary service pole. Shows one utilities requirements.
By building a temporary service you will be able to deenergize the existing service equipment at will and still have power for your work. This will permit you to install your siding and build your new service and reenergize your home in complete safety.



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