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Barrel Locks on Meters #63583
03/21/06 11:51 PM
03/21/06 11:51 PM
highground  Offline OP
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 53
Chama, NM
My POCO uses a locking meter ring and refuses to give out tools to local electricians. Any help in identifying the locking means and obtaining a tool would be appreciated. I could email a picture of the lock to anybody that experience with this. Most of the time it isn't a problem, but there have been times (late night service calls)when I would have been a lot more comfortable if I could have pulled the meter.

I spoke to our local fire cheif and the fire dept is not privy to the unlocking tools as well, isn't this a safety issue? Shouldn't they be able to yank the meter as a means of disconnect?

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Barrel Locks on Meters #63584
03/22/06 12:57 AM
03/22/06 12:57 AM
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
Come on, HG, you've been in the trade long enough to know better!

Pulling a meter does not always disconnect the service.
Nor is pulling the meter considered the required "disconnecting means."

More to the point, mere posession of the security tools, as well as replacement seals, can very easily -on the whim of the PoCo alone- become a crime. "Posession of burglary tools" is one such charge that may be charged.

Utilities have some of the atributes of governments; it's their meter; and they have the right to control access to it.

Re: Barrel Locks on Meters #63585
03/22/06 02:56 AM
03/22/06 02:56 AM
gfretwell  Online Content

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,343
I do see his point. How do you replace a defective main breaker without pulling the meter? I suppose you can do it hot ... if you are brave.

Greg Fretwell
Re: Barrel Locks on Meters #63586
03/22/06 03:51 AM
03/22/06 03:51 AM
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
Reno's point about handling the "keys" to the meter and most POCO's is about right of access to equipment. POCO meter, on customer owned equipment. Most are good enough to come out and remove it when you ask. Although you may be waiting for several days... Years ago, I realized I could get quicker service on this by skipping a few beurocratic channels, and got the dispatch number, and I usually get someone by in 1-2 hours. Often the reason I would need to get one off, is a "High/Low voltage issue" which usually gets them out quick. I am also not opposed to cutting a service at a head, or underground if it can be done safely...

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
Re: Barrel Locks on Meters #63587
03/22/06 04:42 AM
03/22/06 04:42 AM
dougwells  Offline

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,151
kamloops BC Canada
I had to show a POCO guy a couple months ago how to use the key . I will try and find a link to one.

Re: Barrel Locks on Meters #63588
03/22/06 09:38 AM
03/22/06 09:38 AM
highground  Offline OP
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 53
Chama, NM
I fully appreciate Reno's response and understand the legality issues.
Most of the time I can get the power company out in a resonable amount of time. Just before I made the post I was trying to get them to come out after hours. I had a call to a home where the owner had a main that was tripped and had the handle broken off.
The lineman who returned my call told me, "Do it hot, that's the way we do it." He refused to come until the next day.
Of course I know pulling the meter doesn't always disconnect the power.
My intent is not to steal power or destroy equipment. I have a hacksaw, but I don't intend to cut the lock off someones tool chest with it, and steal their stuff.
Anyway..........thought a little more background was in order.

Re: Barrel Locks on Meters #63589
03/22/06 05:03 PM
03/22/06 05:03 PM
LK  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
New Jersey
yes call, the dispatch number, When we get these jobs, we understand it may take hours for the utility to show up, so if it is an overhead service, then just disconnect at the head, if it is underground, wait for the utility to remove meter, we just bill the customer for waiting time.

Re: Barrel Locks on Meters #63590
03/22/06 09:37 PM
03/22/06 09:37 PM
HotLine1  Offline

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,081
Brick, NJ USA
Getting caught attempting to, or succeeding in removal of ANY security devices on utility metering equipment within the State of New Jersey is considered 'theft of services' and can result in $5000 fine and/or 60 days in jail. (BPU/NJ)

I have seen a few enterprising 'sparkies' use vise grips, an awl with a bent tip, a hammer, and the best was a hole saw. Within some neighborheeds, I've seen four (4) barrel locks with what looked like 10 lbs of brass plated steel on a CT cabinet. PSE&G has the biggest varity of security locks.

BTW: PSE&G has 24 hr trouble men; yes you may have to wait....but they do come!


Re: Barrel Locks on Meters #63591
03/22/06 10:29 PM
03/22/06 10:29 PM
BigB  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 740
Tucson, AZ USA
HG, they use those here for people who don't pay their bill. Once you have a non payment history, the lock stays. I usually just cut them off with a 4 inch grinder. Next one I get I think I will disassemble it and see if I can't make a key.

Re: Barrel Locks on Meters #63592
03/23/06 10:00 AM
03/23/06 10:00 AM
Mike Wescoatt  Offline
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 161
Cedar City, Utah
Locks? What are those? In my town (pop 327) they only use rings for keeping the meter from falling out. I haven't seen any locks on anyone's service here...

Now, in Las Vegas, that was a different matter...

Mike Wescoatt
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