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Video:How to Wire an Electric Meter

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Before working with a circuit meter, it's important to understand the basic components for proper implementation. In this About.com video, learn how to install a typical electric meter on a standard electrical service panel.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Wire an Electric Meter

Hi. I'm Tim Pinch here in Southern California for About.com to help you learn how to wire an electric meter-like this one, right here.

Electrical Current

The first thing you need to know is that you are dealing with deadly electrical current. As you can see, the power typically comes off the high-voltage power lines – through a step-down transformer that converts it into 120 volt single-phase, and then down the line to your rooftop.

Standard Circuit Components

A standard circuit consists of a single Neutral line, and two Hot lines. The neutral is usually unshielded and forms the anchor from the power pole to your house in-point, with the two hot lines wrapped around it.

From here the lines run down the pipe and directly into your meter panel. The Neutral connects to the center post of the meter panel, and passes through to the circuit breakers. Each of the two Hot Lines connect to the incoming posts that feed the meter.

From the Meter Output, the two Hot Lines then feed the Breaker Panel.

Again it is important to know that these lines are carrying 240 volts directly from the power transformer on the pole, and there are no circuit-breakers between the power transformer and your Electric Meter. This amount of current is instantly lethal.

Between the Neutral and one Hot wire you will usually see around 120 volts. This is the same regardless of which Hot wire you measure.

Between both Hot lines you will usually see around 240 volts. When the electricity passes through your meter, it feeds the breaker panel. The breaker panel will usually divide up the load from the various circuits in your house evenly between the two different Hot wires.

Circuit Breakers

Often times there is a fuse or circuit breaker between your Electric Meter and the Breaker Panel, but there is usually no fuse or breaker between the Electric Meter and the power transformer.

The meter is pushed into this mounting bracket with the two input terminals feeding the meter input, and the two output terminals feeding from the meter output.

Once your meter is installed, you should then have power available to your circuit breakers. In many cases the city will provide you with the electric meter as many cities are switching to smart meters that actually communicate with the Dept. of Water and Power, and the city will need to turn your service on.

Once inspected, the city will place a small seal on the meter to prevent tampering. After that, you should be all set to go.

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