Electric Service is the supply of electricity from the utility to your home or business. This includes metering, billing and customer service. The utility still owns and maintains the delivery component of electric service, but you may choose to buy the supply portion of your service from a competitive supplier.
The electric service to a home is comprised of two 120-volt service wires which offer a combined 240 volts (voltage is a measure of power’s pressure or rate of flow). This combination of voltages enters the house at an overhead service mast on the roof, passes through an electrical meter and enters the service panel at the front of your house.
From the panel, the exit wires, or branch circuits, run throughout your home. Each branch circuit has a specific purpose and serves one or more rooms in your home. These are generally used for lights, appliances and devices that use a lot of energy at the same time such as electric stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers and clothes dryers. Most homes built since the early 1960s use a main circuit breaker panel instead of older fuse panels. These provide a 240-volt current to your branch circuits and protect the individual branches with specially designed safety switches.
Whether your home is supplied with a 30 or 60-amp fuse panel, it’s important to understand that the maximum amount of electricity that can be supplied to your home’s wiring and devices is limited by the size of the circuit breaker and the number of fuses in the main circuit breaker panel. Overloading the service can damage your electrical equipment and potentially create a fire risk. In some cases, overloading your electrical system can cause the fuses to melt or burn out in your service panel.
It is the responsibility of the home owner to keep the service panel accessible for utility workers and to know the limits of their electrical system. You should not work on or open your service panel when the outer door is closed, as it contains live electrical wires that could shock you. If you are not comfortable working on your own electrical panel, you should hire a licensed electrician to perform all necessary work in this area of your home.
For new construction, subdivisions or commercial projects, the developer/subdivider is responsible for providing the design and layout of the primary and secondary systems. These should be submitted to the utility for review and approval. The subdivider/developer is also responsible for all excavation, backfill and trenching costs for underground systems. The developer/subdivider will energize all systems after they have been inspected and approved by the utility and before backfilling.
Overhead services are being replaced more and more by buried cables. This can be more aesthetically pleasing and provides protection from winter icing events, snow removal activities, accidental contact with vehicles and other hazards. In addition, the National Electric Code requires that all overhead conductors be kept clear of any vegetation and 3 ft from windows that can be opened, doors and fire escapes. Electrical Service