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Service drop cable is the neutral


Doug Clark
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An older home (1910) was upgraded to a 200 amp service. There are two insulated cables to the home, both supported by one bare cable. The bare cable is secured to an insulator on the home, and the end is then attached to an insulated cable which leads to the meter and the service panel and acts as the neutral cable. Is this an issue?

Also, while the panel was updated to 200 amps, the meter box appears to be the appropriate size for 125 or 150 amps. When the panel is updated, does the meter have to be updated as well?

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Originally posted by Doug Clark

An older home (1910) was upgraded to a 200 amp service. There are two insulated cables to the home, both supported by one bare cable. The bare cable is secured to an insulator on the home, and the end is then attached to an insulated cable which leads to the meter and the service panel and acts as the neutral cable. Is this an issue?

No. What you've described is a normal overhead service drop.

Also, while the panel was updated to 200 amps, the meter box appears to be the appropriate size for 125 or 150 amps. When the panel is updated, does the meter have to be updated as well?

That's up to the utility company. They should be informed when the panel is updated so that they can determine whether or not the meter needs to be updated as well.

The meter box is another issue. If it's too small, there isn't enough room for properly sized cables.

What do you mean when you say that the meter box appears to be the appropriate size for 125 or 150 amps? I've never heard of a 150-amp meter base. What did it look like?

More important, what size were the service conductors?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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