Is my meter gone

mnk716October 31, 2011

Hello all,

i live in CT and my power went out due to the crazy snow storm over the weekend. Right before i lost power i was in the basement watching TV and it suddenly went out (hooked up to Monster Power surge supressor) then heard popping around the house. the lights got bright as well. My panel breakers started going out. It was every other one 1, 3, 5 etc. One CFL bulb blew out. I checked outside and no wires were down.

i did notice there is a burn mark on the inside of the meter. I shut the panel down but i did still have power after the initial popping. Apparently a transformer down the road was hit by a tree and sent a surge to my neighborhood.

The question i have is can i still get power if the meter is dead. Given all the repairs i dont know when the POCO will come out.

thanks

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bus_driver

How are you getting online?
Is your service from overhead wires form the pole to your house? Did those wires break between the pole and your house?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 12:46PM
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mnk716

Hi Bus,

online from work. the wires are overhead and did NOT come off the house or pole.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 12:48PM
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kurto

Anything is possible. If you have a meter and are comfortable doing so (and realize that these lugs have no fuse or circuit breaker to protect you), you can start by measuring the voltages on the lugs in the panel. With your main breaker in the "off" position, each lug should be 120V to ground, and 240V between the two hot lugs. That will tell you whether the meter is still "in the game" or not. If the voltage readings are not proper, it could either be the meter or perhaps the transformer that isn't working properly. The POCO is your only option for repairing these devices.

Even if the meter wasn't destroyed, other electrical equipment might be damaged. You can try turning on one breaker at a time, and inspecting anything connected for damage.

A proper inspection by a qualified electrician is probably in order.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 1:02PM
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bus_driver

I though that perhaps the service drop was severed by a falling tree which would create an open neutral for split second. But if the transformer is not on the pole from which your drop goes to your house, then the 120/240 could be on conductors running under and parallel to the primary conductors above. The 120/240 could be fed from a transformer that is one or two extra poles away from your house. If so, the primary of 7200 volts or more could have contacted the 120/240 lines below. The contact, if it happened, was no doubt quite brief- as we view time. But it would wreak havoc on your household equipment. Being there would let me know a lot more. Who pays if the damage is as bad as I suspect? The POCO? Your homeowners insurance? You? That answer is beyond my expertise.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 4:59PM
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randy427

It sounds like a momentary power surge on one leg of your service. Probably, a high voltage line slapped against a 120V distribution line somewhere between your meter and the transformer. The meter almost certainly needs to be replaced, though you may have full power available even if the meter isn't working.
The breaker panel, especially the interior, should be inspected for visible signs of damage, i.e. soot, melted insullation, etc, before reenergizing those circuits, one at a time.
You may find problems on any electronic equipment plugged into those odd-numbered circuits and not protected by a surge supressor. 220 Volt equipment, especially if it was running at the time, may also be affected.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 5:16PM
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brickeyee

"Probably, a high voltage line slapped against a 120V distribution line somewhere between your meter and the transformer. "

Or a falling branch touched both at the same time.

7.2 kV flows wonderfully in the cambium layer of trees.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 10:15AM
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mnk716

Thanks to all for the information.

So far the meter is gone, yet we were still able to have power. the POCO came out and put it in a bypass for now given the craziness of restoring power to about 400k houesholds now going 4 days w/o power. i wonder if that means free power. i found it interesting the POCO workers were not aware of a surge. i advised them there were firetrucks on at least 3 houses due to the sudden spike.

I had an electrician come out who agreed stating looks like the surge came in on 1 leg and hit every other breaker. All my tvs/video games, etc on a surge suppressor were saved. The electronics on my central air, boiler/indirect heater, and 5 appliances all blew and smelled of smoke. Some bulbs also blew and 3 breakers all GFCI or AFCI would no longer work. Anything that was off at the time was not affected.

i guess we were lucky it wasnt worse, no physical damage to the house. if this was ever any reason to have a whole house surge protector, im convinced. also getting a propane standby generator this losing power within 8 weeks of Tropical Storm Irene is enough.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 12:32PM
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wayne440

POCO employees typically do not acknowledge anything resembling a "surge". Refer to bus driver's post above for an idea of why not.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 1:07PM
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ionized_gw

Time to invoke your home owner insurance policy.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 3:51PM
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weedmeister

Replace all those surge protectors if they were on the circuits that tripped.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 4:16PM
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bus_driver

Be prepared to receive an estimated bill later for the unmetered power. It may or may not be for a realistic amount of money. I got an estimated bill today, not storm related, for an empty premises that used no power. Got an extra $300.00? I can put you in the loan business! And of course a lot of the effort to correct this mess will be mine.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 4:27PM
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