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Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
SvenNYC Offline OP
I've noticed that ConEdison seems to put in the heavy-duty locking rings when they do a new installation.

A small three story apartment house was built over the past year and in the past few months, the electric company men came in and installed the meters. They are located on the front of the building, next to the main entrances, under a sort of overhang. The gas meters are also done the same way -- a rack of pipes with meters hanging from them like big iron apples

Each electric meter is surrounded by a thick metal ring with a mean-looking lock on it, in addition to the seals. Seems like a typical New York City thing to do...make believe everyone is a crook... [Linked Image]

I guess utilities are now using the tamper-proof meter rings for all outdoor installations? I saw Joe's picture of the flea market meters (with the rat's nest of wiring) that also had those heavy rings.

What's the situation in your area? Is the utility company using these for all new outdoor installations or just for people they're having billing quarrels with? outdoor urban installations, why don't the utility companies insist on a sort of metal locker with a glass-covered slit to house the meter and protect it from vandalism?

For instance, the utility company in the city of Cali in Colombia requires this for all out-door installations now. You have to supply the meter "locker" that also holds the whole-house disconnect knife switch. You also buy the meter and the utility inspects and seals it.

Meters authorized by the electric company are the A-type ones with the connections made at the bottom of the device but I'm sure something could be adapted for the S-type meters... This would stop the common practice of vandals smashing the glass bubbles or putting stickers and scratching them so you can't read them.

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Meters in British installations are still sealed pretty much the same way as they were 50 years ago -- Just a wire and seal passed through the bolt head which holds the terminal cover in place.

Modern installations are gradually moving the meters into cabinets outside in place of the traditional indoor location, but the cabinets themselves all use the same triangular-key lock mechanism, so there's no extra security in that respect.

An older indoor installation in a hallway cupboard:

[Linked Image]

A new installation in an outdoor cabinet:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 4,116
Likes: 4

Those locking rings were widely used in some areas out on the Island years ago. Some areas had them and some didn't. According to the POCO it was an experiment of some sort, and they did seem to be in a wide range of areas, not just the 'higher crime' areas.

I haven't seen any being put on recently though. When we have them removed or cut off to do work they are not being replaced.


Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 806
There are 2 kinds of "enhanced security" setups commonly seen here. The rings as shown here are sometimes found, and are often in such poor shape that they have to be cut off (diamond wheel/side grinder works well. [Linked Image])

The other device is called a "barrel lock", and requires a special (and impossible to find!) tool to unlock. Typical devices:

The official PoCo specs require a knockout on meter pans for the installation of the barrel lock, but I rarely see them being put in on new installs or upgrades. Only in urban areas or customers with a history of tampering/meter discrepancies.

Opening one of these without the tool is a bit of a challenge. If you can't get the PoCo to unlock, you pretty much have to destroy the meter pan to get the meter out. Obviously, power should be cut off at the service drop before trying this. They don't yield to lockpicking or brute force with visegrips and such. A holesaw right around the exposed head, or prybar/sawzall attack on the enclosure is in order here. [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by NJwirenut (edited 11-25-2003).]

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,081
My next-door neighbor has had a new meter with no seal on it for some months now. I guess it's not so important around here.

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,294
The barrel type rings are on (I believe) all new meters installed in this area.
(I don't have one like this, but the bill's been paid for 18 years)
I'll put up a creepy neighbors service soon, it's much different.
Paul, that looks very unusual to me. Is this inside of a cabinet, or are the conductors exposed?

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520

The bottom pic is the meter and cut out inside the plastic cabinet, typical of new outdoor services.

The top pic is the typical indoor installation. This one was low down in a hallway cupboard which was also filled with old sneakers, brushes, rags, etc. You'll see a similar setup mounted near ceiling level. Most people like to build a cupboard around the equipment to hide it, but it's quite often just exposed as you see it in the pohoto.

See why I think U.S. services are so much better? [Linked Image]

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 114
Is that a red tag hanging on the cable?

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Yes, it is, but not in the American sense of "red tag."

Labels such as this are often affixed during a meter change, and give the date of replacement, the final reading on the old meter and the starting reading on the new meter, just for the customer's benefit.

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,498
Here in Austria we have meters that looklike the one in Pauluk's first pic, but inside enclosures that look like this:

[Linked Image from]

The plastic meter base is usually black, not white like in the picture. The enclosure can be anywhere, inside or outside the house, usually inside. All wiring is hidden behind the base plate and goes through the holes at the bottom. All you see are 2 pieces of conduit coming out of 2 holes at the top of the enclosure and disappearing behind the base plate. Sealing is simply done as Pauluk described. I recently installed one of these and it was quite an easy job (getting the enclosure straight into the brick wall was much more difficult). Older installations can have such a plate fastened directly to a wall or a wooden board on porcelaine insulators. Still, all wiring is hidden by the meter base.
Sad detail about the prefabricated enclosures in the pic: the screws that are supplied with them are _always_ waaay too short (I guess you need screws at least twice as long, maybe even thrice). If Wienstrom cuts your power for some reason they'll remove your main fuses and put a sticker across the fuse bases, keeping you from replacing the fuses. I've seen those stickers quite often where apartments/houses have been vacant for some time so the power was turned off.

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