E-09 2020-Current: Electric Meters
This technical bulletin is to provide direction to Permit Sonoma staff in regards to the permitting of new utility owned electric meters and electric meter upgrades.
The California Electrical Code (CEC) defines the providing of electricity to a building as a “Service”, commonly referred to as a meter. The CEC further states only one “Service” is allowed to serve a structure.
The size of the “Service” is most often referred to in amps. Typical “Service” sizes for a single family dwelling and no other structures are 100 amp, 125 amp and 200 amp. Typical “Service” sizes for properties with a main residence, accessory dwelling unit, well, and accessory structures is 400 amp. Typical “Service” sizes for commercial use can range from 200 amp up to 1200 amp and more.
While the California Electrical Code imposes no limit on the size of the “Service” for a structure, local permitting agencies along with local utility providers may confirm the need for higher amp electrical services by requiring load calculations and line drawings.
This bulletin refers to all zoning districts.
Any request for a commercial electrical service requires the zoning of the site to allow such use.
When applying for a second meter, utility companies require a separate address from the structures being served by a meter. Permit Sonoma views separate addresses as a separate use. Any separate address must meet the Zoning use requirements for that site. Structures that are accessory to the main use will not routinely be issued a second meter as they are secondary and incidental to the main use. See Planning Policy 8-1-9 Procedure for Additional Electric Meters on a Parcel.
- Residential Service:
- 400 amp or less: No plans required. Can be issued over the counter with no plancheck.
- Greater than 400 amps and less than 800 amps: Permit Sonoma requires load calculations and line drawings, prepared and signed by an licensed electrical contractor or electrical engineer as part of the submittal package when applying for an electric meter or an electric meter upgrade.
- Commercial Service:
- All three phase or combination phase systems: are considered to be commercial and require load calculations and line/system drawings prepared by an electrical engineer
- Single phase, 400 amp or less: No plans required. Can be issued over the counter with no plancheck.
- Single-phase systems, 400 amp to 800 amp: Load calculations and line drawings prepared by a licensed electrical contractor or electrical engineer
- Service greater than 800 amp: Load calculations and line/system drawings prepared by an electrical engineer
- Future, proposed, or other projected needs, will not be considered viable loads when justifying amperage needs for a “Service” unless the proposed use is being permitted at the time of application for a “Service”.
- “Services” of greater than 400 amp will not be issued over the counter.
California Electrical Code