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Question DetailsAsked on 9/29/2017

how much should it cost to replace a 30 year old, 4-meter socket in Santa Fe, NM

One connection on one of the meters is arking. Sylvania meter base, probably 30+ years old.

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1 Answer


With any luck you can just replace the lug that is arcing - typically about $10-20 part and around $150-250 labor (actually about 5-10 minute job but I am leaving time to pull the meter and box front panel and check it out, then make a parts run to electrical supply distributor to get matching part). Plus depending on disconnect capability or on whether the electrician is willing to work "live" inside the box (not many will for a lug replacement because of the risk of making live contact with the socket wrench or dropping the lug and shorting out the box), so commonly need additional from typically $100-400 utility disconnect/reconnect fee to have them cut the power to the group or gang meter box at the incoming line or at the transformer if needed.

For a new gang or group meter base, commonly about $300-450 for 125A service or about $400-600 retail cost for 200A per meter service. Plus at least probably $250-400 and maybe more in the $500 range labor, plus the same $100-400 utility service disconnect fee if there is not a master switch in line before the gang meters which can be used to cut off the power (usually is not). If the wires leading into/out from the box are burnt or deteriorated, can go up from there - sometimes as much as $500-1000 labor and a few hundred $ materials if new wiring needs to be run to replace deteriorated outside service/distribution wiring - though if building is 30 years old that might or might not be an issue with exposed wiring, probably no issue with wiring in conduit unless it got overheated.

One thing that will probably pay off well - is giving the electrician authorization to measure the existing knockout locations so he can go to the distributor and find a 4-meter gang panel with the same configuration - because having to change around the wiring entry/exit locations generally requires replacing wiring because at least some of them end up too short - and because uyou cannot splice mid-run except on the service (incoming) line, that can mean moving the box "nearer" to the distribution panels to make the outbound wiring fit, or changing around conduit and running new leads to the distribution/breaker panels. if that is necessary you get be getting into the $500-1000 total for labor pretty quick - PLUS the panel and disconnect costs, so bottom line can get into the $1000-2000 range for this size job if the existing lead-ins don't pretty well match available knockouts in the meter box. Worth it to find one that fits OK without wiring change arounds.

And of course if your box does not already have the newer electronic meters, the utility or local building code might require the newer meter types - some have push-in lugs like the old some have lug adapters to a new meter base, and some areas use twist-in lug meters - so you or your electrician should check with the utility on what is needed because they mauy want to install the newer meters now you are getting a new box. No real difference in cost - but meter bocxes come in several meter connection configurations so you have to be sure you are using one that matches what your utility requires.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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