Can you settle something for me? The wires leading downward from the service meter can are exposed (#7). Is this normal? Also the lower part of the wires, that are supposed to be completely covered by the pipe riser are exposed (#4). These wires have become dry and brittle. My sister's husband claims they need to be replaced. Apparently, all the homes in the area, when the masts were installed, covered the wires leading upward from the meter can, but the lower wires, directly above the meter can, were left exposed. Again, the upper part of the service entrance cable is covered and the lower part of the cable is exposed. He claims we should change the mast, as it is a dangerous situation. However, my husband's sister's husband claims these are just ground wires, and we could just wrap them, and there is no electrical danger caused by their exposure and brittleness. So, it is the battle of the brother-in-laws. Who is right?
With a couple of special cases WIRES should never be exposed.
However there are CABLES that can be exposed.
This is a typical style of service entrance cable, but there are a couple of other styles.
You have two hot conductors surrounded by the neutral and then covered by a protectice sheathing.
If that sheathing is damaged it will allow water to get into the insulation for the hot wires and damage them.
We upgraded the service for a friend a couple of years ago. It was 50 YO SE cable from the meter to the drop.
The meter was moved aside, but still powering the house, as the new meter and mask was being built. The old SE cable started arcing.
" Also the lower part of the wires, that are supposed to be completely covered by the pipe riser are exposed (#4). "
I am not following this. There are several different types of installations. But if it is like what you showed you should have a ridgit steel conduit (pipe) that goes from the meter upto the weatherhead (#2). It has to be heavy to support the drop cable (#1).
That should be threaded into the meter case so that it can't separate.
If you have a metal mast and it is separated that means that it is no longer bonded to the ground electrode system (the "ground") and if there is a failure the pipe can be come electricly hot.
Normally cable is not run inside the mast, but rather individual wires are run.
But if I understand your description, but are problems and need to be repaired.
I can't tell from the picture, but it does not appear that there is a weahter head or bushing at the top of the mast.
Actually with it being an open pipe used as a sleave it probably does not need a weatherhead (on of the purposes is to keep out water). But it does need a bushing to keep protect the cables at the top where it exits the pipe.
Anyway the damaged cables need to be replaced and possibly other corrections are needed.
What is the average cost of replacing the entire mast, bushing, meter box, etc.? Also, we may also update the electrical box inside that connects to this. Apparently, this is a dangerous job, because the power must stay live. So, I assume it is not cheap. I live in metro Detroit Michigan, if that helps.