Corroded Neutral Lug on main meter socket

I have recently experienced issues where high amp devices will dim the lights considerably (even resetting some appliances - phones, computers, etc.) I had the utility company come out and he removed the meter for testing and he took one look at the neutral connection and said that this was most likely my issue. If I put a meter on my outlet and turn on the microwave I see the voltage actually climb from 120v to

139v. Yet other outlets will show a drop in voltage (lights actually get brighter) when using the same appliance in a different outlet.

I have disconnected mostly all of my devices from the wall outlets until I get the Meter Socket replaced. My question to ask is if the diagnosis is fairly accurate or can I be experiencing another issue that has not been uncovered. The House is about 40 years old with 100 AMP service.

Thanks for your assistance.

Reply to
micky1701
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When the neutral opens voltages vary because some of the the 120 volt loads become series circuits across the two hot 240 volt conductors, and the voltage drop across loads vary with the loads. So as you turn on and off 120 volt loads the voltages can become very low across some loads and very high (up to 240 volts) across other loads. This can damage equipment connected to the 120 volt outlets, or in one case I know of cause a fire. When the power company causes this problem they are often sued to cover damages. This problem is far too common. There should be some type of safety device build into the premise wiring system to disconnect the service when this happens. However, I know of no common fix. This would be an excellent invention for aspiring electrical egineers.

Try this for an explanation of the theory using Ohm's law:

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Reply to
electrician

Accurate. The diagnosis matches the symptoms you describe. Whether there are other issues is impossible to say, but my bet is that replacing the socket will clear your problem. And even if there are other issues, the corroded socket has to be replaced in any event.

Ed

Reply to
ehsjr

THANKS FOR YOUR QUICK RESPONSE! I agree with your safety accessment - I never new a homeowner is at such risk - the utility company should at least come out every 3 years and look at the socket - I the homeowner can not taper with their equipment - Even if we could figure out a clear enclosure so that you could visually see the condition of the connections.

snipped-for-privacy@electrician2.com wrote:

Reply to
micky1701

Thanks Ed - I am feeling a little better after the replies I have received so far.

Any idea of what cost I should expect on a job as this - replacing the Meter Socket.

ehsjr wrote:

Reply to
micky1701

I wouldn't touch the job for less than $500 plus material, and I would want your credit card number before starting and a signed promise to pay. I did a job like this once. The owner wouldn't pay for about two months and I had to threaten him with a law suit. I learned a lot of lessons before going belly up at contracting.

Reply to
electrician

| I wouldn't touch the job for less than $500 plus material, and I would | want your credit card number before starting and a signed promise to | pay. I did a job like this once. The owner wouldn't pay for about two | months and I had to threaten him with a law suit. I learned a lot of | lessons before going belly up at contracting.

Not everyone uses credit cards. In such cases there are other approaches to be sure you get paid. Many states provide for a contractor's lien. Often, half now, half later, is done.

Even if I did use credit cards, I certainly would not put any contracting work on such a card. Payment by bank check is a possibility. If I know the person doing the work, or they are well recommend by family or friend, it would be cash up front.

In the case of a meter socket, if I had the time and could get the power company to cut power at the pole, I'd just do it myself. But not everyone can do that, and more than likely I wouldn't have the time.

Reply to
phil-news-nospam

My utility company would probably charge me for the disconnect and reconnect anyway, and who knows if they can keep on scedule. I would rather have a licensed professional do the work. In case anything should go wrong - I do not want any issues with my insurance company.

snipped-for-privacy@ipal.net wrote:

Reply to
micky1701

| My utility company would probably charge me for the disconnect and | reconnect anyway, and who knows if they can keep on scedule. I would | rather have a licensed professional do the work. In case anything | should go wrong - I do not want any issues with my insurance company.

Most likely a disconnect-reconnect charge. Often more if it has to be at other than the meter itself, which is probably the case if work is at the meter. You're lucky if you have a private pole pig and the guy who comes out is trained for MV and has his hot stick. Otherwise he probably has to literally cut wires and crimp them back together later, while hot, and there's some work to that.

Personally, I'd like to have a disconnect before a transformer from which my neutral is derived. Then all bad neutral issues can be dealt with on the basis of disconnecting power myself. A broken neutral upstream would be moot since the transformer primary would be connected with 2 wires.

Reply to
phil-news-nospam

About the price..... I learned something from the plumbers recently as two years ago. They want $120 for the first hour and $100 and hour thereafter. I called three contractors to get them to look at plumbing my house and they were all just too busy to even show up. So I bought a Black and Decker Book and did it myself. I made about 50 trips to Home Depot to buy fittings but I finally made it and had enough fittings left over to give the neighbor a start on his house. As for electrical, we electricians are a darn sight better than plumbers. After all, all they need to know is crap runs downhill and how to cut glue plastic pipe.

Reply to
electrician

"micky1701" wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@j72g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:

As for time, you are looking at probably 4 hours minimum, if things go well. It would depend on several things, like what physical size the new meter base is in relation to the old one. If they are the identical size (doubtful), and the mast is not glued to the roof with 10 gal of roofing tar, things would probably go fairly well. If the box is not the same size, then you have a lot more issues to deal with. The conduit from the main service panel may need to be replaced, the mast may need to be replaced. Any replacement will have to be to current adopted code standards. How difficult the possible replacement is, depends on the current installation and what all has been done in that area since the house was first built. It may even mean removing the inside wall covering (sheetrock/paneling/etc) at the main service panel in order to access the conduit. Hard to say without looking at it.

Reply to
Anthony

Just an update - I decided to get a service upgrade from 100AMP to

200AMP. They replaced all my outside wiring - new riser - new meter socket- ground rods - wire to water meter - new SquareD 40 slot Panel - 10 Breakers - Spike protection unit - all said and done it cost me $3500 (Gulp!). It fixed my problem and it was definately caused by a bad Neutral to the utility lines. The cable basically broke apart in his hands. Anyway I know I paid at least $1000 more than I should have

- but thats what I get for being reactive and not proactive. I should have upgraded my service years ago......

micky1701 wrote:

Reply to
micky1701

| Just an update - I decided to get a service upgrade from 100AMP to | 200AMP. They replaced all my outside wiring - new riser - new meter | socket- ground rods - wire to water meter - new SquareD 40 slot Panel - | 10 Breakers - Spike protection unit - all said and done it cost me | $3500 (Gulp!). It fixed my problem and it was definately caused by a | bad Neutral to the utility lines. The cable basically broke apart in | his hands. Anyway I know I paid at least $1000 more than I should have | - but thats what I get for being reactive and not proactive. I should | have upgraded my service years ago......

But at least you and your family are alive and should stay that way for a while. That's worth $3500, isn't it?

Reply to
phil-news-nospam

Traces to GCI.

snipped-for-privacy@electrician2.com wrote:

Reply to
george_corinne

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