The electrical service of your home is the point where the main wires that carry electricity from the power utility into your house come in through your meter base or service riser. They offer a combined 120-volt current and, depending on the age of your home, may deliver as little as 30 or as much as 200 amps.
This central distribution point is known as your main service panel and consists of the central panel and a series of exit wires that branch off into circuits running throughout your house. The circuits power lights, outlets and other appliances. The main service panel is usually a gray metal box mounted in a utility area of the house, such as a garage, basement or furnace room. In some homes, it is contained inside a finished cabinet mounted on the wall. It is your responsibility to maintain the main service panel and, in single-family residential buildings, a subpanel (if required).
Electric Service has two components: supply and delivery. The delivery component consists of the transportation of electricity from power plants to your electric utility’s distribution system, metering and billing. It is regulated by the state’s public utilities commission. Prior to 1998, you had to buy both the delivery and supply components of electric service from your local utility company. Since that time, you have the option to choose a competitive supplier for your supply of electricity. However, you must continue to purchase the delivery component of your service.
Overhead electric service conductors are becoming less and less common, as municipal design standards, utility regulations and homeowner preferences move toward underground wiring. Even so, overhead electrical service continues to be the primary way electricity reaches millions of homes. Overhead service conductors must be kept at least 3 ft away from windows designed to open, doors, porches, fire escapes and other structures. This is to prevent accidental contact that could result in injury or death, fire or property damage.
If a residence has three-phase electrical service, a main panel for the three-phase service must be provided at customer’s expense and responsibility, subject to the approval of the utility. A fee may be charged to cover initial expenditures to extend the primary and secondary distribution systems to a new location.
Electricians are some of the most dedicated workers society has to offer, working in rain, snow and freezing temperatures to make sure that our electrical service is reliable and available when we need it. Whether they are repairing or replacing the overhead wires that connect our homes to the electricity grid, or the underground lines that run from the utility pole to the meter base and the main service panel, these men and women are making sure that we all have the ability to live a life of modern conveniences. If you ever experience an outage, think about these invisible heroes who are working to get the electrons flowing once again. Thank you for your dedication to our community!