How to Wire a Meter Socket

Wiring the meter socket is the responsibility of the structure’s owner.
Knowing how to wire a meter socket yourself can save you money. The electricity is not connected to the service until the meter socket is wired, making this task safe from any electrical hazards such as shock or fire. If your municipality or service provider allows you to install your own meter socket, then go ahead and install it.

Step 1

Measure the distance from the service entrance to the meter base and add 2 feet to this measurement. This gives you the length for your service entrance cables. The service entrance is where the electricity provider will connect to your structure.

Step 2

Measure the distance from the meter base to your structure’s main electrical panel. Add 2 feet to this measurement as well. You can cut the cable to shorten it if it is too long but it will not stretch and you can not splice these cables.

Step 3

Determine the gauge of wire you need. Depending on the amperage size of the meter base, which should coincide with the amperage size of the main electrical panel, you should purchase wire that will safely handle the load or the amperage that will be fed to your structure. If you are unaware of which gauge of wire to choose, check with your municipality or service provider. You need six lengths of wire, three lengths to equal your measurements from step 1 and three lengths to equal your measurements from step 2.

Step 4

Label your neutral wires. Use white electrical tape to label each end of your neutral wires by wrapping several inches of tape onto the wires. Mark one wire from each set of three wires on each end of the wire. Three wires of the same length should have one of those wires labeled with white electrical tape on both ends.

Step 5

Wire your meter socket load side. The three load side wires connect from the meter socket to your structure’s main electrical panel. Feed your three wires from the meter base to your main electrical panel. The meter socket has a total of six lugs, two lugs on the left side of the box at the top and the bottom, two lugs on the right side of the box at the top and the bottom and two lugs in the center of the box sitting vertically on top of each other. For the purpose of instruction, the load side will be the top set of lugs. The actual load side of your meter socket is determined by your service provider, who will instruct you as to which end of the meter socket your service entrance (line) will be connected. The design of the meter socket allows you to wire the line or load to either set of lugs. Strip 1 inch of insulation off the ends of all three wires using a utility knife. Slide the neutral wire labeled with white electrical tape into the top center lug and tighten the lug bolt with an adjustable box end wrench until it holds the neutral wire firmly into place. Slide one black wire into the top right lug and the other black wire into the top left lug. Tighten both lug bolts with the wrench until they hold the black wires firmly in place.

Step 6

Wire the meter socket line side. The three line side wires connect from the meter socket to your service provider. The service provider will provide the connection past the meter socket to the main power lines. Feed your three wires from the service entrance to the meter base. Strip 1 inch of insulation off all three wires using the utility knife. Slide the neutral wire labeled with white tape into the bottom center lug and tighten the lug bolt with an adjustable box end wrench until it holds the neutral wire firmly in place. Slide the two black wires into the remaining bottom lugs and tighten the lug bolts as you did with the others.

Things You Will Need

  • 6 lengths of wire gauged according to the amperage size of the meter socket
  • White electrical tape
  • Utility knife
  • Box end adjustable wrench

Tips

  • Check with your municipality or service provider to determine if it is your responsibility to provide the meter socket or if they provide the meter socket.
  • Check with your service provider or municipality to determine any specific requirements for wiring your meter socket before you begin.

About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.