Electrical Service is the supply of electricity from a utility to your home or business. It can reach your premises through overhead wires that enter a metal service mast, or it can be provided through underground wires that also pass through your electric meter into the building. The main electrical service then connects to the service panel in your home, where the electricity is distributed throughout the house by exit wires. The size of your service panel depends on how many outlets and appliances you want to run at the same time.
A common source of electrical problems is overloading the service panel. This occurs when you use too many electrical devices at the same time, or when you use larger appliances that draw high amounts of current for extended periods of time. The first step to prevent this type of problem is ensuring that your service panel has enough space to accommodate the amount of electricity you plan to use. The second step is to make sure that your meter is properly sized and located, or that you have the correct amount of service capacity for your location.
If your electric service is interrupted, you may be eager to see the repair crews arrive. They are among the most dedicated and hardworking people society has to offer, working in the rain, snow and freezing temperatures to get your electricity flowing again as quickly as possible. However, you should always be aware that they are dealing with a force that can cause serious injury or death if handled improperly.
For that reason, it is important to keep a clear distance between your body and any exposed overhead electrical conductors. Never walk or climb over them, and stay clear of any objects that could come in contact with them, such as trees, buildings, porches, fire escapes, etc. This is especially true during power restoration, when the electrical workers are rerouting or replacing any damaged wires.
In addition, you should be careful when using tools around your service panel. Screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutters and more can all transmit an electric shock if they touch the panels or conductors. If you are installing an outdoor circuit, you should use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help protect against electrical shocks from outdoor equipment or lighting.
You may be able to determine the size of your electrical service by looking at the point where it enters your home. The point is called the service entrance, and it is usually marked with a large, rectangular electric meter. It is a good idea to check with your electric utility for more detailed information, as well as their guidelines and specifications regarding the specifics of a particular home.
Your electrical service has a wholesale and retail component. The wholesale component consists of the high-voltage transmission facilities that transport electricity from electric power plants to your utility’s distribution system. The wholesale part of your electric service is overseen by ISO-NE and regulated at the federal level by FERC. The retail component is associated with the delivery of electricity to your home, and it includes metering, billing, and customer service. You have the option to buy the delivery portion of your service from your electric company, or from a competitive supplier.