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What is the reasonable cost of a mast and meter replacement?

I just had an electrician...
I just had an electrician estimate a mast and meter replacement for $2300. This includes upgrading the meter box to the most current code, installing a service conductor and roof mast, and relocating the backyard light under the overhang and removing the broken conduit. This was all from storm damage, but our insurance won't cover anything due to a higher deductible. Does this seem like a reasonable cost, or am I being taken to the cleaners?
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
6/27/2013
AssuredElectrical
AssuredElectrical, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4,241
Experience: Contractor-42+ Years in the ElectricalTrade
Verified

AssuredElectrical :

Welcome. My name is XXXXX XXXXX would be glad to assist.

AssuredElectrical :

What size of a service is this installation? 200?

AssuredElectrical :

Is this for an outside meter and main breaker combination? or just meter outside?

Customer:

I'm not sure what you mean by 200. It's an outside meter. I'm not sure what you mean by main breaker combination either.

AssuredElectrical :

Do you have an estimate report? or is it just by spoken word?

Customer:

I have an estimate in writing.

AssuredElectrical :

it should state what work is to be performed, does it not have what they will perform on the outside?

AssuredElectrical :

just install meter and mast?

Customer:

What it says is "bid: relocate light to house corner, remove broken conduit, upgrade meter box to most current code. Install service conductor and new throng roof mast. Service call: partial power outage found tripped breaker and isolated circuit. Possible roof damage"

AssuredElectrical :

Ok, thanks.

AssuredElectrical :

Me personally, I would never accept any type of proposal such as that.

AssuredElectrical :

First, it should state what is being installed on the outside of the house

AssuredElectrical :

Also, that the installation will pass inspection before any monies are due.

AssuredElectrical :

Meeting all codes required for the installation

AssuredElectrical :

Now, what size is your indoor house breaker panel?

AssuredElectrical :

The main breaker, do you know what size?

Customer:

I don't know the size. We have a 1500 sq. ft. house and a breaker box, not fuses.

AssuredElectrical :

Ok, the big breaker in the top section has a number on the handle. Either 100--150 or 200.

AssuredElectrical :

Where is the panel located? Basement? Hallway? garage?

Customer:

The breaker panel is in the basement.

AssuredElectrical :

ok, is maybe right at the wall where the meter is on the outside?

Customer:

That's correct. Should I go look and try to find a number?

AssuredElectrical :

Yes, if you can please

Customer:

Give me a couple minutes.

AssuredElectrical :

ok, thank you

Customer:

It says, 100 amp max. Is that what you mean?

AssuredElectrical :

Is 100 written on the handle of the big breaker?

Customer:

This number is XXXXX on the handle, but on the inside cover of the breaker box.

AssuredElectrical :

Ok, sounds like a 100 amp panel then.

AssuredElectrical :

Is the house built in the 70's? maybe early 80 at the latest?

Customer:

No, it was build about 1957.

AssuredElectrical :

Ok, that explains it then. 100 was a good size then

AssuredElectrical :

gas appliances? range oven?

Customer:

Is that why they said they'd need a bigger meter box? - for code?

Customer:

We have a gas stove with an electric ignition.

AssuredElectrical :

Ok

AssuredElectrical :

the meter box is not a big issue, they are not a large cost and dont use 100 amp any more, they are 150 or 200

Customer:

Are there other changes to make the conversion between 10 and 150 or 200?

AssuredElectrical :

No, that is just the meter, over rating to the 150 is normal

AssuredElectrical :

happens at all jobs today

AssuredElectrical :

Have you contacted any other contractors?

Customer:

Yes, but they haven't responded yet. We've had major storm damage in our area and places are swamped with work.

AssuredElectrical :

Ok, understand

AssuredElectrical :

From what I hear, the pricing is high in my opinion. The estimate is not detailed enough for even me, and I am an electrical contractor myself.

AssuredElectrical :

My suggestions

1. Get 3 diffeent contractors to quote the work

2. Request explanation of all major equipment being installed
and how it is being installed

3. Require commitment, that no money is due until work has passed
inspection by the local authority

4.Any work required for passing inspection which has not been performed
prior to inspection,and must be performed because of the inspection,
shall be the responsibility of the contractor.

5.Get references from each contractor and copy of their business licens and
electrical license.

6. When looking at the estimates, compare them and see that the work is looking
like the same installation. They should look similar.

AssuredElectrical :

See on #4, the contractor should know what is required to pass inspection. That is his job to know beforehand what the local authority will require.

AssuredElectrical :

I do not collect any money on any of my work until after inspection and guarantee it passes.

Customer:

They have already charged for today's service call and have a down-payment on the work. Can I get other bids without charge? Can I call then back to cancel or am I stuck? If I find others that meet your advice, can I have the credit card cancel the charge?

AssuredElectrical :

Ask every contractor up front if there is a charge to quote the work. If so, go to another one.

AssuredElectrical :

Now, yours may have come to see if they could get you going etc from a safety standpoint, and a service call charge would be in order.

AssuredElectrical :

But no charge for an estimate should take place

Customer:

They put the service charge in for the total and labeled it "partial payment" for the service charge and 1/2 payment.

AssuredElectrical :

Ok, did they come out to just quote the work? Or did you request service to get the power restored?

AssuredElectrical :

Is power out now?

Customer:

I requested service for power restoration and to bid the mast replacement or other work needed, since we thought the junction box may have been damaged and could start a fire.

AssuredElectrical :

ok, understand

Customer:

Our power is restored.

AssuredElectrical :

service call would be required in that case.

Customer:

I understand and they charge $300 for that.

AssuredElectrical :

But, I would get 2 others minimum quoting now as soon as possible

AssuredElectrical :

I would not commit to that first one yet

AssuredElectrical :

especially if you have power

Customer:

I appreciate your advice. Since they put the service charge into the bid and charged me for 1/2 the bid amount already, do I have the option to call them back and say I changed my mind and to pay them for only the service call?

AssuredElectrical :

I would say, yes. I would not think they would give you any problems. Tell them you wish to get a couple other quotes first before committing.

AssuredElectrical :

Service call should be the only thing on the charge

AssuredElectrical :

Use the list I posted as a guideline. Any contractor should be happy to provide the information.

Customer:

The bill lists the bid, the partial payment today, and the grand total. I will call them back to have them charge for only the service call and to hold on the rest for now - they won't be able to come for at least 2 weeks to do the work anyway. Is this reasonable?

AssuredElectrical :

That would be reasonable, yes.

AssuredElectrical :

Get your other quotes so you can compare. Find some older companies if possible, who have been around for 20 years

AssuredElectrical :

Keeps everyone in line and you safe from being over charged

Customer:

That's good advice. This company has been around for over 25 years, but the son has recently taken over the business from his dad.

AssuredElectrical :

Ok, I think it is high, but many times there are circustances which I cannot see visually that affect the work. This happens sometimes, and why I always state, get 3 quotes minimum.

AssuredElectrical :

They will be closely related to work and costs with 3

Customer:

OK. I'll do that. is there anything else you suggest I do, or just follow you advice already given?

AssuredElectrical :

Nothing else comes to mind, just the list provided so you are informed of the work being done in a more detailed manner.

Customer:

OK. Thank you very much. You've been very helpful.

AssuredElectrical :

You are most welcome, glad to assist

AssuredElectrical
AssuredElectrical, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4,241
Experience: Contractor-42+ Years in the ElectricalTrade
Verified
AssuredElectrical and 87 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
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AssuredElectrical
AssuredElectrical
AssuredElectrical, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4,241
4,241 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Contractor-42+ Years in the ElectricalTrade

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