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Question DetailsAsked on 2/16/2017

Electic co need replace weatherhead dont need permit to do it built in 43 without replacing meter

Can this be done electrician said no need permit and replace and bring to code electric Co said no just replace weatherhead I live in so Cal Southern california Edison is provider so electricin said he has to bring up to code electric Co said no what should I do

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2 Answers



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services


OK - not too clear to me exactly what the question is, and whether you are asking WHO does the repair, or if something has to be brought up to code during the repair.

I could not get the SCE Distribution Manual to come up, which would tell where the legal demarkation point between their responsibility and yours is. My experience with SCE (granted decades ago now) was for underground service their responsibility ended at the end of the wire connecting to the meter panel - plus the meter itself belonged to them. For overhead wiring generally their responsibility ended at the splice at the weatherhead, though in both cases if customer installed the line drop (overhead or underground) then their demarkation point was sometimes at (and including) the splice at the power pole or transformer. In either case the meter itself was theirs - but not the meter panel.

Generally, the utility responsibility ends at (maybe or maybe not including) the weatherhead splice, sometimes at the meter. If their responsibility includes the weatherhead splice (assuming the drop line to the meter is OK), then would be their responsibility to fix it. If their responsibility ends at the service drop wire at the splice but NOT including the splice, then your electrician's responsibility to repair the wire and the splice - though sometimes the utility requires that they be called (usually at a fee) to disconnect the power at the pole or transformer if someone else is doing the splice repair. Ditto if the drop line to the meter is bad - unless their responsibility goes all the way to the meter (does with some utilities), your responsibility to get it fixed.


IF you are asking if something has to be brought up to code during the repair - the general rule is the specific item being repaired has to be to current code at the time it is installed so you cannot replace an item with an identical but now out of code part without special building inspector permission (as is sometimes done with parts for panels and boxes with replacement parts no longer in production). BUT a repair can be in-kind (replacing damaged/defective item with new to-code similar item, so for instance a fuse box can be repaired to original fuse box configuration without being upgraded to breaker box, but if the entire box is being replaced then it generally has to be to current code - meaning breakers, but the wiring into the box would not have to be upgraded. [There are exceptions in some jurisdictons, commonly saying if over half the house value is being replaced (say due to a fire) or half or more of the system is being replaced, then it all has to be brought up to code].

On the weatherhead or weatherhead/mast, if that is your questions area, if say replacing a weatherhead or the pipe column (mast) supporting it, the entire weatherhead and mast assembly would not have to be upgraded to current code ifonly one part was damaged, though the pipe column or mast or weatherhead being replaced would have to meet current code. Say the weatherhead was an old bakelite one - you cannot repair that or replace with, you need to replace with a modern one but if that was all that was damaged you would not have to replace all the way down to the meter base. If the mast was wood with exposed wires rather than conduit, replacing that would have to be to-code with current metal (or in some areas PVC conduit fastened to wood) mast, and if the mast is being replaced it would have to have stress-relief grips on the wiring and tiebacks to the hosue rather than being free-standing, to current code.

If the wire is bad, it has to be replaced with to-code wire to the extent it is being replaced (between nearest termination points) - but say the wire was bad or undersized from weatherhead to meter panel, and also from meter panel to fuse box - if only replacing the dropline to the meter panel because it was damaged the other half would NOT have to be brought up to current code unless it was blatantly dangerous - say the insulation was deteriorated.

On the meter - if utility is happy, unless the existing meter base is dangerous (shorting out, badly rusted, etc) it would not have to be replaced if it was not damaged.

Now the catch-22 caveat that some electricians commonly use to bump up the bill - if the installation is inherently dangerous (deteriorated wiring insulation, etc) then they can refuse to do the work, or refuse to hook the power back up after repairing part of it. Ditto with HVAC contractors.


Whether you need a permit or not - depends on your area, in most of SoCal if being done by an electrician working for you, probably yes - though if an "emergency repair" to get you back into service can be done by the electrician immediately then a confirming permit filed and city inspection done if they want to. If the work is done by the utility then generally no - utilities generally do not have to get permits to repair their own facilities, though normally the weatherhead and mast would be part of your responsbility even if the wiring is theirs down to the meter.

For the extent of "have to bring up to code" issue in a particular case contact an electrical inspector for your local city/county (as applicable) building department.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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