Meter load

I did an inspection for an individual back in March. She called me today because over the weekend she smelled smoke and said her house almost caught fire. She filed an emergency work order through her warranty company and that sent an electrician right over. He said what happened is the meter is overloaded and that she should contact the home inspector that he should have caught this. My understanding is we are not required to inspect the inside load of the meter. All meters are tagged shut and sometimes locked and only accessible by the electric companies and electricians.
Where do I stand on this and what should I tell the lady. I am going to visit with her today @ 5 central time.
Thanks, for all your help guys.

It is hard to believe that warranty company’s electrician wants to pass liability to the home inspector. :roll:

We don’t pull the meter around here.

Still, I’d go over and listen to the lady and do what I could to help her be safe.

Agreed. What did your report say about the electrical conditions?

Cutting meter tag is tampering and not permitted. What does a Warranty Company know about inspections anyway? …sorry Ben.


Hi to all,

this could well be an updated panel using an older (smaller) SEC, that could cause a fire, and should have been commented on if that were the case.

Remember many times only the panel gets updated.



you don’t need to open up the can to look at the rating of the meter. It’ll state right on the meter itself


I. The inspector shall inspect:
A. the service drop/lateral;
B. the meter socket enclosures;

This is all it says about insepecting the meter in the standards. No mention of not pulling the meter. I agree that we should not be doing this, but, if you say you follow the SOP, a problem could arise. Perhaps there needs to be a change to the standards.

If you want to measure the amperage across the meter, just throw a clamp on the SE cables on the line side of the main panel. We don’t throw the main disconnect on our inspections, why would we pull the meter??


I guess they could but it would be subjective to the load being drawn at the time of the “clamping”. I do not believe an HI need’s to venture down that path as it is beyond the scope of the typical home inspection. When looking at a meter you will see many things on but for one usually you will see something like CL 200. Typically that is the Class 200 model but as we have talked about before it should not be relied on to determine anything in the service sizing…just as additional confirmation to what the other factors have told us in our examination of the service.

If the meter socket looked fine, no signs of corrosion or damage and the service was sized based on the given factors and you reported all this properly then you are fine, You have done what the SOP has allowed.

FYI- I am a licensed master electrician and well I know a little about electricity and I would never venture into a “LIVE” meter socket enclosure…I prefer not to BANG on my CHEST like some other electricians do to “get the job done”. I do not work on things “LIVE”…period. Now, I have to when doing diagnostic work but we are talking about cutting a tag off a meter and so on…you wont catch me doing it…simply not worth the possibilities.

BTW- Most all of that was not directed at your response Jeff…I was simply rambling on for those electricians out thier who like to pull meter sockets…“Just to get the job done”…no job is worth a life.

This situation is part of the reason our AHJ requires a main disconnect outside the home, usually next to the meter. Nearly all home built in many years can be easily disconnected in an emergency without touching the meter. Besides, many larger homes have 400 amp service (usually dual 200 amp lugs). Pulling that meter would only disconnect the CTs.

LOL i had one last night call said all the wires where burnt, I ran over and the utility company was there , He had already told the lady there was no way the home inspector could have seen this , the clips came loose in the meter base.