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A meter socket is a type of outdoors electrical socket that connects a watt-hour meter, or electrical meter, to a house. These are the meters outside houses, commercial buildings and construction sites that measure the amount of power used so the supplier knows what to charge. A meter socket must be weatherproof, so it can stand up to rain, wind, snow and other elements of nature. The main difference between various meter sockets is the amount of amps they can safely read; they generally range from 100 amps to 320 amps.
If a house or construction site is using power, it needs an electrical meter. These meters have a disc in them that spins according to the amount of energy used. The more it spins, the more energy is being used at once. These meters must be used because, without them, the power company will not know how much to charge the house or site and may fine the owner or manager for not using the meter. To connect the meter to the house or site, a meter socket is used.
A meter socket is considerably larger than a common outlet socket found inside houses and other structures. The input also is different from the common two- or three-hole inputs found on outlets. This is because meters use different wires, and the input is able to handle more power at once than the smaller outlets.
Meter sockets are almost always found outside. This allows the power company’s employees to easily read the meter and keeps the meter from being tampered with or becoming a nuisance inside. The meter socket must be able to keep working outside, even if there are heavy rains, high winds, or other environmental occurrences that would short out or destroy other types of sockets. Most meter sockets are of the same general durability, but there also are heavy-duty sockets that are better for areas with more rainfall or higher winds.
The primary difference between each meter socket is not its durability, but the amount of amps it can handle at once. Light meter sockets are able to handle about 100 amps, which is usually enough power for small houses, while bigger ones are able to handle around 320 amps or more for larger houses or constructions sites. If a meter socket has a lower amp rating than the amount of amps being used, the socket will typically short out or run into problems when attempting to measure the amount of energy being used.