Learning, Concepts of Electricity,

How to Remove an Electric Meter Lock?

Are you planning to remove your electric meter lock? As a qualified electrician, I’ll teach you how.

In an emergency, you might have to replace or reposition the electric meter in your home. But as a homeowner, you cannot remove the electric meter lock without consent from your utility company.

Generally, a qualified electrician or authorized utility employee can remove the electric meter lock. But you’ll have to get permission from the utility company. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay a fine, or they might cut off your electricity supply.

To Remove an Electric Meter Lock:

  • Get Permission from The Utility Company.
  • Hire an Electrician.
  • Inspect the Electric Meter.
  • Turn Off the Power.
  • Break the Seal and Remove the Rings.

Continue reading the below article for more details.

Can I Remove the Electric Meter Lock by Myself?

Before starting the how-to guide, you should know the legal consequences of removing an electric meter lock.

In truth, as a homeowner, you cannot remove the electric meter lock. It is against the rules of utility companies. If you remove the lock without their permission, you’ll have to pay a fine; in some cases, they might disconnect your connection, too. The punishment depends on the company’s rules and regulations. I’ll explain them to you later in the article.

I would suggest not taking such a risk. Instead, follow the correct procedure.

What is the Correct Procedure for Removing an Electric Meter Lock?

If you plan to remove the electric meter lock, there are two things you should follow.

  1. A qualified electrician or authorized utility employee should do the removal.
  2. Before removing the lock, you should get permission from the electricity service provider (utility company).

5-Step Guide on How to Remove an Electric Meter Lock

Here’s a simple guide that can help you safely remove the electric meter lock.

Important: Removing the electric meter lock without the utility company’s permission can lead to fines and punishments. Hence, this step-by-step guide should only be done after obtaining permission. Also, hire a qualified electrician if you are uncomfortable carrying it out yourself.

Step 1 – Get Permission

First, contact your utility company and ask permission to remove the electric meter lock. Always try to obtain a written document.

A list of contact numbers for the most popular utility companies is here.

Step 2 – Hire an Electrician

Hire a qualified electrician if needed. Most of the time, this is the best and safest option.

Step 3 – Inspect the Electric Meter

inspecting the electric meter
Video | emctv

Find and locate the location of the electric meter. Then, inspect the electric meter properly. You should be able to see the following things on the meter.

  • A thin metal ring holds the meter to the socket.
  • You can also find a thick metal ring, cover, and the electric meter tamper tag.

Quick Tip: There can be one electric meter lock ring in some electric meters, and some might have two. 

Step 4 – Turn off the Power

turning off the main power switch
Video | MonkeySee

Then, turn off the power. Go to the main panel, switch off every circuit breaker, and remember to turn off the main circuit breaker, too.

Step 5 – Break the Seal

cutting and breaking the electric meter tamper tag
Video | btancredi1

Next, get a wire cutter and cut and break the electric meter tamper tag.

hand with black gloves touching the electric meter
Video | btancredi1

Now you can remove the electric meter lock rings and the electric meter box cover (you may have to remove some screws). After that, you can replace or reposition the electric meter.

Usually, when replacing the meter, it should snap right on just as it snapped off from the original mount you have installed. If you want to reposition the meter, you need to remove the mount from the wall, which is a bit more work and would require structural changes to your wall.

back of an electric meter
Video | btancredi1

Quick Tip: Get a nonconductive material such as plywood or rubber mat. Place the rubber mat on the ground and stand on it during this step. This will prevent any accidental electric shock.

What Are the Consequences of Removing an Electric Meter Lock Without Permission?

electric meter lock in zoom
Video | emctv

Nowadays, in the US, this has become a common issue. Most people think they can escape it after tampering with the electric meter lock. But in truth, removing the electric meter lock without proper permission can get you into serious trouble. So, here are all the punishments.


Most utility companies will fine you for this kind of unauthorized activity. The fine could be a $25 tag replacement if you are lucky. But in some cases, it might cost you close to $2500.

Electricity Theft Charges

Electricity theft is considered a major crime, and you might face several months or years in prison.

Utility Shutoff

The utility company will cut off your electricity supply. This can happen if you tamper with the electric meter more than once.

Video References

CBS 4 News Rio Grande Valley

Southern Cross



How helpful was this article?

Were Sorry This Was Not Helpful!

Let us improve this post!

Please Tell Us How We Can Improve This Article.

About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

| Reach Me

Leave a Comment