How Much Does It Cost to Replace an Outside Electrical Meter Box? (2023)

The average cost to replace an outside electrical meter box is $1,183

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The cost of replacing an outside electrical box runs between $200 to $500 on average, though most homeowners will spend around $350. But if you own a large home with a 400-amp box, your replacement project could cost as much as $5,000. Your outside meter box connects your home to power from the utility company and tracks your home's electrical usage. You may need a replacement if your meter box is outdated, and the total cost mostly depends on the number of circuits the meter serves. Learn more about the costs involved in replacement.

Low CostAverage CostHigh Cost
$100$350$5,000

Replacing Outside Electrical Meter Boxes Cost Breakdown

An electrical meter box is an important component of most electrical systems—it holds the electrical meter, which measures the amount of energy your home uses. When planning to replace your electrical meter box, consider these cost factors that may impact your budget.

New Electrical Meter Box

The cost of the electrical meter box itself is usually around $50 to $500, but it varies based on the type of electric meter box, its strength (measured in amperes or amps), and its features.

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  • 100 amps: $50–$200

  • 150 amps: $50–$200

  • 200 amps: $100–$350

  • 400 amps: $400–$600

Extra features might include fittings, connectors, and fasteners, which usually amount to less than $100.

How Many AMPs Does My House Need?

The amount of amps in your electric meter box will affect the total project cost. Typically, replacing a 100-amp electrical meter box ranges from around $500 to $1,500. 100-amp boxes are popular for smaller homes and are a necessary replacement when the current box can’t meet the home’s needs. In addition, as homes increase their demands—thanks to all of the new home technologies—they often need to upgrade.

Replacing a 150-amp box costs between $500 to $1,750. This is a common electrical meter box option for most homes across the country.

It’s more common for larger homes to have 200-amp and 400-amp electrical meter boxes. Replacing a 200-amp box usually costs between $750 and $2,000, while replacing a 400-amp box ranges from $1,500 to $5,000.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Replace Outside Electrical Meter Boxes?

How Much Does It Cost to Replace an Outside Electrical Meter Box? (1)

Photo: Chan / Adobe Stock

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There are various factors that influence the cost to replace your outside electrical meter boxes, and below are the major ones.

Panel Location

A home's electric meter is usually installed alongside the electrical panel box. Panels can be located in any part of the home, indoors or outside. Moving a panel outside requires complete rewiring throughout the house, which can cost $1,500 to $2,500. If your electrician has to access a panel in a hard-to-reach location, that can take extra time and add to your labor costs.

Age

If your electrical meter box is more than 10 years old, contains mercury, or doesn’t meet the upgraded requirements of your electrical code, you may need a full replacement. Newer digital boxes give a more accurate record of electrical usage down to the date and time. This lets you identify peak usage hours and find ways to cut back, ultimately saving you money.

Condition

The condition of your electrical meter box can impact whether or not replacement is necessary. A damaged meter box should be replaced not only so you can properly monitor your energy use, but also for the safety of your home. Replacing or upgrading your meter box could also help your system run more efficiently and lower your home energy costs.

AMPs

The amperage, or AMPs, of an electrical system will affect the meter size needed. While larger meters increase costs, they're also better suited to power larger homes. If you own an electric vehicle or have other high-energy needs, you either have or should upgrade to a system with an amperage of at least 200. Find common meter sizes and their average costs in the table below.

Electrical Meter Box SizeAverage Cost
100-AMP Meter Box$60 – $250
200-AMP Meter Box$90 – $680
400-AMP Meter Box$480 – $770

Materials Needed

In addition to the cost of the meter box itself, which typically runs between $50 and $200, you may need to pay for additional parts and materials for installation. This can include connectors, fittings, and fasteners, which usually cost less than $100 altogether.

Warranties

Often, popular brands offer warranties, which may increase the total cost of the meter box.

Permits

You’ll likely need to get a permit for any sort of electrical panel work, ranging in cost from $50 to $300. This is definitely not a step to skip—if you don’t have proper permits, you could run into issues such as costly fines.

Labor Fees

When hiring an electrician, you should expect to pay somewhere around $50 to $100 per hour, with the total labor price amounting to $200 to $2,000.

Additional Requests

Any additional labor requests will likely increase the total project cost. For example, people often request a subpanel, which is necessary when your main electric panel is full and you need more circuits. The cost to install a subpanel ranges from $400 to $1,750.

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Additionally, some homeowners request a service entrance cable installed—these are electrical cables that bring in power to residential buildings and homes from electrical companies. The cost to install a service entrance cable is around $1,000 to $15,000 for overhead lines, but it can be up to $5,000 or more for underground lines.

Meter Costs by Part

Meter box replacement is typically part of a larger project that may involve adding or replacing several other parts of your electrical system.

Meter Box

The cost of a meter box unit alone is $50 to $250. You’ll find this lockable, weather-resistant box on the outside of a home. Expect to pay for between one and four hours of labor to have a meter box installed.

Breaker Switch

Replacing the breaker switch for an electrical system costs $150 to $200 on average, including both the switch itself and the labor to install it. This small switch sits inside your home's electrical panel and protects it from damage caused by overcurrent or a short circuit.

Subpanels

You'll pay between $400 and $1,750 per subpanel. These are typically installed near the main panel to increase your system's total amperage or add circuits. They're ideal when you need to distribute power to a specific area, such as a secondary building on your property. This can include workshops, detached garages, in-law suites, in-ground pools, and more.

DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

When considering the potential safety hazards, electrical meter box replacement is usually best left to a professional and licensed electrician. In addition to experience and knowledge of code requirements, they'll have insurance on hand if anything goes wrong.

However, in some situations, replacing your outside electrical meter box can be a DIY if you consider yourself to have advanced electrical skills. You’ll need to check with your city’s utility department for any project permits before proceeding.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Outside Electrical Meter Boxes Near You?

Your geographic location will affect the total cost to replace an outside electrical meter box, in addition to the specific features you request, the amount of circuits, and the complexity of the job.

Here are some typical ranges for the price to replace an outside electrical meter box:

Frequently Asked Questions

You’ll want to replace your electrical meter box if your current system doesn’t hold the power needed or if you’re adding electrical systems to your home. Additionally, if your current system is over 25 years old, you should consider getting it replaced.

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FAQs

Who is responsible for external electric meter box? ›

Similar to gas meter boxes, electric meter box maintenance falls under the responsibility of the homeowner.

Do I have to pay for a new electricity meter? ›

Common questions. Does it cost to replace my meter board? If your meter board has our electricity supply on it then we can replace this for you free of charge.

How much does it cost to change electric meter? ›

Similarly to moving a gas meter, the cost of moving an electric meter is affected by the same important factors. In certain circumstances, it can be cheaper to move an electric meter and the total cost of moving an electric meter will usually fall into the range of £75 - £1,000, with an average cost of £537.50.

Can you replace meter box cover? ›

To change the meter door, you don't need to worry about getting any extra tools or equipment. The replacement door comes with the required pins, and the frame should already have pre-drilled holes which they slot into.

Can an electrician change a meter? ›

If your energy supplier can't move your meter

You might still need a registered electrician or gas engineer to do other work - for example, preparatory digging, fitting a meter box or reconnecting your supply inside your home.

What is the lifespan of an electricity meter? ›

As a rule of thumb, it is 10 years for newly approved induction meters and up to 20 years for static meters.

Who owns the electric meter in my house? ›

Although your electricity meter is installed in your home, it doesn't actually belong to you or your landlord. In fact, your electricity meter is the property of your electricity supplier. You'll find the details of your supplier on your energy contract or bill.

How can I change my old electric meter? ›

How do I change my old electricity meter? You will have to write an application to the electricity department mentioning the reasons behind the same. After receiving the application, the department shall take the necessary actions.

How do I know if my electric meter is faulty? ›

What to do if you think you have a faulty credit meter
  1. If the numbers on the meter stop moving, turn on one appliance at a time. Check the meter after turning on each appliance. ...
  2. If the numbers are still moving after turning off all appliances, you might have a faulty meter.

How long does changing a meter take? ›

The average meter installation is anticipated to take about 20 minutes. There are factors that may cause the installation to be delayed like equipment/meter damage, tampering issues or repairs needed.

How long does it take to swap a meter? ›

How long does it take to exchange the meter? The actual exchange should take about 10 minutes or less.

Do meters need replacing? ›

Every gas meter has a period of certification, which is essentially a 'best before' date. After this period, it is recommended that your meter is replaced, even if it isn't faulty. Different meter types have different certification periods, this can range from anywhere between 10 and 20 years.

How much is meter box installation? ›

Costs vary slightly by area, but this gives you an idea of cost for prepaid electricity meters in Gauteng. Taking everything mentioned above into account, with installation, you should be looking at paying an average of R1,500 for just a basic single phase unit and around R3,500 for a basic 3 phase unit.

Can I install my own meter box? ›

You can legally install your own electricity meter, as long as you have the supplier's permission and the person installing the equipment is qualified to do so. It's not recommended for anyone not qualified to attempt the installation, as it is a dangerous procedure to undertake.

Can I paint my outside electric meter box? ›

Most meter boxes are manufactured from plastic or metal, so as long as you use the correct tools, it can be painted and stand the test of time.

Can anyone remove an electric meter? ›

Removing an existing meter

You cannot legally remove an existing meter yourself, so it's important that you choose a specialist company to complete the work. Whether you're moving into a new home or working on a complex project, we will coordinate the whole process for you, to get your meter removed in no time.

Can an electrician disconnect a meter? ›

Once the supply has been de-energised, a certified electrician can then uninstall the meter.

Are old electricity meters unsafe? ›

Homes with pre-1970 electrical panels and meters have outdated and unsafe electrical systems. Meters from before 1970 do not have a main shut off switch on the outside meter, usually have no grounding and have an undersized wire leading into the meter.

Why you should refuse a smart meter? ›

The chief concern of smart meter critics, besides the cost, is the potential privacy concerns that come with a household's data being transmitted to a supplier. Energy firms are adamant that only they can see your data and that information cannot be passed on to a third party without the customer's explicit permission.

Do electricity meters go out of date? ›

Just like food, each electricity and gas meter is given a 'best before' date when it's manufactured. In the industry it's called a certification date, and is set by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (the OPSS). Once a meter has passed its certification date, we need to replace it.

Can you buy an electric meter? ›

Whether you are looking for a 3 phase energy meter, a card meter or a panel meter we stock an extensive range of competitively priced electricity meters ready to be delivered to you.

Who upgrades electric meter? ›

Three different companies will be in involved in upgrading your meter. Your local distribution network operator (DNO), who controls the electricity network in your area and the incoming supply cable to your meter. Your energy supplier, like SSE Business Energy, who supplies your energy.

What causes an electric meter to burn? ›

Wiring issues or loose lugs can cause overload and burning, damaging vital components of the home's electrical system. – The interior of the meter base is corroded. Over time, the interior of the meter base can become corroded and need replacement.

What happens to your old meter when you get a smart meter? ›

Be prepared for the engineer to turn off your supply

Smart meters directly replace your existing meters for gas and electricity. As part of the installation, the engineer will need to turn off your gas and electricity for around 20 minutes each.

Who is responsible for replacing a faulty electricity meter? ›

You should contact your supplier to investigate the problem with your meter. They can arrange for it to be tested. From the day you tell your supplier about the problem, they have 5 working days to update you.

Can an electric meter give a false reading? ›

Some electronic energy meters can give false readings that are up to 582% higher than actual energy consumption.

How can I test my electric meter? ›

You need to switch off all your electrical lamps/appliances, etc. Now record the reading of your electrical meter and let only 1000 watt lamp run for one hour and then record the final reading. If the difference of reading is one unit i.e. 1 KWH, it means that meter is working satisfactorily.

What does the new electric meter look like? ›

For most households, domestic electricity meters will look like a square shaped box on a wall often displaying 6 digits on an LCD display.

When should I replace my meter box? ›

If your electrical meter box is more than 10 years old or your electrical code has upgraded its requirements, you may need a replacement. The cost to replace an electrical meter box depends on the type of the new box, labor fees, features, and any additional repairs.

How long does it take to change out an electrical box? ›

Replacing an electrical panel can take between 4 and 8 hours, not including any additional rewiring or moving the panel. If the electrician needs to access wiring inside the walls, labor costs can increase, often from $100 to $450.

Do I have to change my meter to a smart meter? ›

You don't have to accept a smart meter if you don't want one. If your supplier tells you that you must have one installed, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline. If you refuse a smart meter, you might find it hard to access all tariffs.

Can I replace my meter? ›

If you have an old-style prepayment meter, you can ask your energy supplier to replace it with: an old-style credit meter - this type of meter doesn't let you prepay for your energy. a smart meter - this type of meter has a prepayment setting your supplier can turn on or off.

How much does it cost to put a new electrical box in? ›

For most electric panel replacement jobs, the cost is between $850 and $2,500. Your price will vary based on the amperage your home needs, and whether you're repairing or replacing your electrical panel.

How long does it take to install a new electric meter? ›

It takes about an hour to install each meter, and your power and gas will each need to be switched off for around 30 minutes. But in some circumstances, it could take longer.

Is there a meter box shortage? ›

It's normally a matter of ordering the meter base and they would be delivered in a day or two. Currently there is a nationwide shortage, we are ordering them up to several months in advance and trying to stockpile them for future work.

Can I paint the electric meter box on my house? ›

Also called electricity meter is a device that measures the amount of electricity consumed by your entire house. This device has a meter socket, made of glass that should never be painted.

How do you fit an electric meter box? ›

On each side of the box, carefully drill through the partially moulded holes. the box to the wall with appropriately sized screws. Firmly affix the electric meter to the backboard then re-fit the backboard into the box using the 4 xM5 screws. Check with your service provider prior to installation.

Can an electrician put in a sub meter? ›

Installation of sub-metering should be done by qualified electricians.

What paint can I use on my meter box? ›

Fire retardant paints can be a viable option to paint meter boxes. Be sure to identify any safety requirements before initiating the painting process fully. For gas meter boxes special care should be taken to make sure not to block vents on the unit with drying paint.

What are electric meter boxes made of? ›

Constructed out of Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP), they are durable, highly robust, fire retardant and resistant to harsh weather conditions. Electric meter boxes are suitable to house a wide range of electrical installations such as switchgear, telecommunications, charging stations and so much more.

Who is responsible for my smart meter? ›

Your supplier is responsible for installing your smart meter and making sure it works properly - they should: explain the process beforehand.

Who is responsible for electric meter reading? ›

NIE Networks (NIE) is responsible for reading your electricity meter and will visit your home four times per year to do this. If they can't get access to your meter, they'll leave you a card to take your own reading.

Who is responsible for installing smart meters? ›

Suppliers are installing them as part of a national government programme to replace older energy meters. It includes prepayment meters. Your supplier will contact you to tell you when you can get one. You can request one too.

What is the box next to electric meter? ›

Known as the electrical panel, breaker box, fuse box, or service panel, this piece of equipment is the next device in line. This panel's job is to distribute power throughout your home and disconnect power from the incoming feed.

How do I get a replacement smart meter monitor? ›

Just contact your energy supplier and they will provide one. If you've had your smart meter for longer than 12 months, ask your supplier. You may be required to pay for it.

Are smart meters being phased out? ›

In December 2021, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports and Mobile Network Operators announced long-term plans for terminating 2G and 3G networks by the end of 2033. However, industry sources note that not all smart meters will need to be replaced, only the communications hub.

How do I know if my meter is faulty? ›

For an electricity meter, proceed as follows. Watch your meter for a few minutes without switching any lights or electric appliances on or off. If, while you're watching it, you notice that the numbers on your meter are turning at an unusual or inconsistent speed, you probably have a faulty electricity meter.

How often should a meter be checked? ›

Suppliers should read your meter every two years on average, mainly to check everything is OK with the installation (and as a former meter reader, to check you haven't fiddled the meter - it happens more often than you think!) Is your meter in the house or an outside box?

Why am I using so much electricity overnight? ›

Still worried that your overnight usage seems high with the standing charges excluded? Bear in mind some appliances (like fridge/freezers and TVs on standby) use electricity overnight. Visit the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) to get free and impartial advice on the energy usage of your appliances.

Do I have to have a smart meter 2022? ›

Whether you get one now, in the future or not at all is up to you. All suppliers will eventually be required to offer you them, but smart meters are NOT mandatory – you're free to say no. You can always change your mind if you decide you want one at a later date, simply contact your supplier to ask.

Are there any downsides to smart meters? ›

Con: privacy fears

Privacy campaigners have raised concerns that smart meter information relating to customers' energy usage could be passed on to third parties without customers' permission.

What is the real reason for smart meters? ›

They help you manage your energy costs

Smart meters come with an in-home display which shows how much energy is being used in near real time. You can see what you're spending in pounds and pence, which may encourage you to reduce your energy consumption.

What is the main electrical box called? ›

An electrical panel box goes by several names, including breaker box, load center, breaker panel, and service panel. Regardless, the typical electrical panel for a home is a steel box that's mounted on a wall in the garage, basement or laundry room.

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