Arlington, VA, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- April 17, 2013 - The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has recommended that all existing meter sockets should be thoroughly inspected when electrical meters are installed.

In a statement NEMA notes that new smart meters are often installed in pre-existing meter sockets. Meter sockets are expected to operate safely for many years. However, the safe operating life of the meter socket may be reduced by many factors including excessive moisture, environmental contaminants, frequent changing of meters, excessive electrical load, vandalism, ground settling, and storm damage.

As utilities move to two-way communications for meters and remote meter reading, the opportunity for periodic and repetitive visual inspection of meter sockets is expected to decline radically – indeed, the interval for inspection could be as much as 100 times as long as the current monthly opportunity.

NEMA says inspection criteria should include (but not be limited to) indications of excessive heating, corrosion, loose connections or components, deformed socket jaws or damaged clips, broken components, failed insulation, damage due to ground settling or vandalism, or any exposed live parts. Although rare, fire is one possible consequence of these meter socket conditions.

If any damage is discovered, the meter socket should be replaced with a new meter socket that meets current specifications by a qualified electrician prior to the installation of the new meter.