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Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 192
triple Offline OP
Are utility owned conductors allowed to pass through service equipment before reaching the service point (say a meter socket mounted to the side of the service equipment)? These utility wires are also run freely within the service equipment without even the protection that could be provided by conduit. At the meter socket/service point, the premises wiring/service wires reenter and feed the service equipment. Both the service wires and utility-owned wires pass through the same chase nipple in the back of the meter socket. This violates the rules set forth by most (all?) utilities regarding allowed meter socket entry/exit points for line and load conductors. However, the question is, does this sinario violate the NEC? It seems wrong for utility wires to be allowed inside service equipment either before or after the demarcation point between utility and premises wiring.

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Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,719
Likes: 11
The conductors to and from the meter pan are usually customer owned and on the load side of the service point. The service point is generally at the crimps on the mast or eaves on a drop or at the street on a service lateral. The SE conductors belong to the customer. The meter belongs to the PoCo but the socket and enclosure is probably customer owned too.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 192
triple Offline OP
The service point in this case is the meter socket as it is in many/most situations where the power company has run underground from their transformer to a standard meter. Obviously, there are plenty of times where the conductors from a ground transformer belong to the customer but typically (always?) this type of lateral would be metered with CT's.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 192
triple Offline OP
Actual situation I am dealing with:
-steet lighting power cabinets (pad mounted)

These used to be unmetered and the utility power came up into the cabinet and immediately terminated in a fused disconnect. Some of these cabinets had the utility wires running through a conduit before entering the disconnect while the rest were ran freely inside the cabinet. New street lighting cabinets are being installed (on existing pads) with meter sockets mounted on the side. Now all the cabinets will have "free air", utility owned conductors routed from the concrete pad to a chase in the back of the meter. The load wires from the meter pass through the same chase. None of the utilities I deal with allow line wires to enter the back of the socket. However, I can’t find that the NEC addresses utility wire routing or the mixing of the differently owned/managed conductors. The local inspector believes that, since the cabinet is "service rated" the situation encountered here is acceptable. "Service rated" does not mean that utility wires can be routed through it though. Utility wires are not service conductors. Service conductors do not begin until the service point which, in this case, is at the meter socket.

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