Electrical main service and new meters

We had all new electricity set up a while back. That included a new meter bank; new breaker panels in the basement, on the first floor and second floor; and the conduits and wiring in the basement.

Still, there was one piece missing in this charged-up puzzle. We needed new meters and a new main service from the alley to our house.

Our electrician had installed the large conduit riser from the meter bank, but from here it is the utility company’s responsibility, which in our case is ComEd.

I gave them a call with my permit number in hand to schedule the work. ComEd has, let’s say, an interesting process in place.

First, someone comes out to draw up a to-do and material list. A week later another guy stopped by to install the four new meters.

Another two weeks later, a crew of two showed up to pull the main service from the alley to the house.

What I found interesting is that the new main service from the alley is aluminum wire and appears half the size of the copper wire running down the riser to the meter bank. Well, aluminum is more economic and lighter, I get that.

But why is ComEd getting away with a smaller wire than that required to run into the house? At least, they are using fewer precious resources.

About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

One thought on “Electrical main service and new meters

  1. The cable pulled by the utility company is in “free air” and stays cooler as a result. Cable in a pipe having the same current flow has “restricted air” and thus needs to be sized larger to avoid overheating the cable.

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