Is this DIY? Do I need an electrician? Or a carpenter?

I have a box outside my house that contains the electric meter. It sits on a large plastic conduit coming from the ground, and has a large cable going into the house through the wall. It was attached to the house for support by means of a wooden frame. Screws go into the frame from the inside of the box. front view, side view

The box has a little place where it is locked by the electric company; not really a lock but just a numbered tag that must be cut to be removed. I called them and they removed it. I dropped the front of the box off today and it had what looked like an open hot terminal inside. Not wanting to become a fried lawn ornament I closed it back up again and decided to call a pro.

What pro do I call? Do I need an electrician to screw four wood screws into the frame? Is this a safe DIY if I just avoid the hot part? Putting a screwdriver in there seems a little risky. I could easily short the whole thing or become a 185 lb. ground fault.

I’d say an electrician is most equipped to do it safely. You’d probably be OK doing it yourself if you had an insulated screwdriver and were careful. If I were doing it myself, I’d even consider wrapping all but the business end of the screwdriver in electrical tape. And I’d probably wear some insulating gloves, just in case.

But a professional electrician is used to hanging out around 240 Volt live contacts and has the right equipment to deal with it. It’s probably worth the money just for peace of mind.

By all means, call an electrician.

An electrician is not a carpenter, but he should nonetheless be competent to drive four screws. And the outside panel on a house is definitely not a job for a DIY (on an inside panel, you can shut off the power, but not on the outside one).

Well, you can shut off the power to most of an outside box but the lines in from the source are still energised. And you absolutely must know which ones those are. The electrician will know

I’m intrigued as to the need for what I’ll call the “back box” shown in the second picture. The meter can should be secured to the dwelling wall, without any buildout. An electrician or electrical contractor should be consulted to resecure the meter can. Not a job for a carpenter.

I suspect that someone slightly misrouted the buried conduit, or the location of the house was changed a tad and so the box (read “spacer”) was needed.

You’re correct, and my previous post was partially tongue-in-cheek. Had the installation been performed in a workmanlike manner, the metering enclosure would been seated against the supporting structure without need of spacers.

Why did it come off in the first place?

I would DITM.

The electric company should come and kill the lines at your transformer and then after you have reattached the box ( if they do not do it for you ) will reattach you transformer and you will be good to go. A polite call to your electric company should result in a ( no cost to you ) electric company person who will come out and make sure you are not electrocuted. They don’t really want you hurt either.


I found out the hard way that in my area, the power company owns the meter but I own the box it sits in (connector went bad inside the base of the meter). Around here, if you called the electric company and had them come out, not only would they not fix it for free, but they’d tell you that you need to have it fixed by Monday or else they are going to declare it a safety hazard, shut off your power, and won’t connect it again (which you’d have to pay for) until you prove to them that it’s fixed and fixed right.

Again, YMMV.