200 amp service?

Take a look at this panel and the meter. What would you state the amperage to be on this installation the buyers contract was for 300A service the breakers are 2@150 the meter says 200.

200 meter. IMO, should have 400 for 2-150 mains. Suggest to the owner to check with utility company for verification of meter size and fuse size behind the meter itself, if any. Appears to be a possible double-tap behind the meter.

IMO it’s 150 + 150 or 300 amps. The meter really has nothing to do with the service size. If it’s too small then it’s the POCO’s problem. However that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other potential issues visible in the photo.

It looks like a paralell 150A service - essentially, two separate 150 amp service-circuits. It appears that one breaker feeds the breakers within the service equipment, while the other feeds an additional panel.

Regardless of the rest of the equipment, the meter rating has no bearing on the capacity of the system. Meters are the responsibility of the utility company, and their rating should be ignored by home inspectors.

I state the amp service on every report, because most insurance companies always ask. Never missed in 10 years, 3,800 inspections. Inspectors are different.

So based on the photo’s what size service would you call this?

A few other observations. If you take a look at photo #1 you’ll see a graphic depiction of a double lug at the meter. Since everything on the line side of the two CB’s is factory installed I would rule out the possibility of a double tap. The label says for underground service entrance only so I would note that if it were overhead. Also the entrance of the SER cables is somewhat suspect. Is that a raceway in the upper right corner? If so how long is it since more than 24" would bring about derating. Also depending on the code cycle, derating issue and the conductor size the SER maybe undersized for 150 amps.

What you have there is a 300 amp service. The 200 on the meter means nothing as to the size of the service.

From NACHI’s Online Education: How To Inspect Residential Electrical Inspections

Calculating Available Amperage

In many cases, the listing information about a home is incorrect regarding the service amperage because brokers or owners rely solely on the size of the main breaker or fuse. Many people are also under the mistaken impression that the available amperage is the total of the individual breakers or fuses in the service panel.

The correct way to determine the available amperage is to determine the ampacity of the lowest-rated or the weakest link of the following components:

  • service supply;
  • electric meter and socket;
  • service entrance conductors;
  • service disconnect; or
  • distribution panel.

Here are a couple of examples:
Example #1:
A 200-amp service lateral,
a 200-amp meter and base,
a **175-amp-**rated SEC,
a **150-amp-**rated panel, and

  • a 125-amp service disconnect
    = A 125-amp reportable service supply

Example #2:
A 150-amp service drop,
a 60-amp meter and base,
a 150-amp SEC,
a **100-amp-**rated panel, and

  • a 100-amp service disconnect
    = A 60-amp reportable service supply

A home inspector getting this wrong could potentially end up paying for a service upgrade costing several thousand dollars.

I would disagree that the amperage of the utility meter has anything to do with the size of a service.

I’m not sure I understand your point with this post. The OP is not asking whether or not to report the service capacity, he is asking for clarification on how to determine the capacity.

As would I.

The meter rating is irrelevant - period.

And I would disagree that in terms of Home Inspectors it does indeed have some relevance but not really a sizing factor you hang your hat on…as it could simply be an error. You use it to confirm things sometimes but that’s all. However, as stated in my course as well as others the meter is one of the things you can THROW OUT in your equation if you have enough elements to support your basic findings.

My eyes are not doing well here as i can’t see the 150A on those mains…I just assume it can be up to 200A each per the nomenclature provided. However, if they are 150A then you indeed have a 300A service based on the Main Circuit Breaker, The Size of the Conductors. However, there is one important point I would like to make beyond this…

If these are the service disconnects (which I am sure they are) and the SER cable running from each of these panels to their respective remote distribution panels are not serving “all loads” that are part of or associated with the dwelling would not be allowed to use allowance of Section 310.15(B)(7) and the associated table.

Just a tidbit of information…:slight_smile:

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) has thousands of “15 amp” meters still in use on services from 60 to 400 amps.

Meter ratings are not a limiting factor for determining service capacity.

m1.jpg

m2.jpg

True…however if you are using a meter for example on a service you believe is 200A…you see 4/0 AL, you see 200A main…but lets say you can’t see the panel enclosures rating…the meter being a CL200 may just help you confirm what your suspected…but again never rely on a meter…the power company will throw anything in those as long as it fits.

Now…knowing the meter cabinets sizes, shapes and so on WILL assist you in some cases…but that is what we mean when we say meters…not the meter itself…but the meters enclosure more correctly.

Agreed.

For example…in Example #2 the issue was the 60A meter and base. Not so much the meter…but really the BASE you are calling out because it is typical of an upgrade with no permits…issues your client will indeed need to know about. also due to poor bending radius in those smaller meters and so on…it is indeed a weak link in this example…you call it out…let them decide. however, place the issue on the base really…not the meter itself.

This link has a good explanation of the old 100 amp meters with 15A marked on them.
(The 15A is the test amps which was so obvious that they did not bother to indicate it)

http://www.inspectapedia.com/electric/ElectricMeters.htm

Ignore meter ratings at your own risk, especially the 100 amp that are on houses with two heat pumps (electric strips), electric stove and electric water heater.

I called my power company about my 200CL and they came out the next day and put a 320CL in.

I did an inspection for an engineer (electrical power design) and found a 200CL on his new 400 amp house and he said that would be replaced very soon.

Edit:

This came from a California document on how to test meter installations:


Meter class. Verify that CL equals or exceeds total amperage being sold (main breaker plus any breakers wired in parallel to main).

O.K. I rated the service as 200 amps identifying the fact that the electrical conractor had outfitted the application with equipment per specifications equivlent to a 300 amp sevice. The meter is the property of the utility co. so that is they’re problem.

I went on to explain to the purchaser that this service was more than adequate for the 2600 sq ft home provided they didn’t plan to turn it into a grow house. :mrgreen: Thanks for your help!:slight_smile: