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Understanding the Meter Base Surge Protector

The meter base surge protector is vital for successful utility-based surge protection programs. Its unique design and placement separate it from other surge protection device options, creating an essential first line of defense against transient surges that attempt to enter your home.

So, how does the meter base surge protector work?

First, we need to take a moment to review and understand the electrical supply of power to a typical residential home. Most homes are served at 120/240 Volt Single (a.k.a. split) phase. This means that the power comes into the home via two 120-volt energized conductors and a neutral wire that provides a return path for electrical circuits inside the home.

When power is needed for a large appliance (water heater/ stove/ air conditioner), both energized conductors are used to supply 240 volts to the large appliance. Otherwise, most lighting and receptacles are powered at 120 volts via one of the two energized conductors.

An electrical surge (a.k.a. spike or "transient event") occurs when lightning from a passing thunderstorm strikes the electrical distribution line providing power to homes. (Surges can also enter via other connections (cable/telephone/antenna-tower.)

When a lightning strike occurs, surge arresters installed along the power lines trigger, sending much of the surge to earth ground at the utility power poles. Unfortunately, even the best distribution arresters still allow a small, though significant, amount of transient surge energy to pass along the line looking for other ways to get to earth ground. Usually, the next ground for the surge is a customer's home.

The meter base surge protector is designed to work 24/7, defending homes from these wayward surges. Its placement directly behind the electric meter at the meter enclosure allows it to capture and send transient surges to earth ground outside before the surge can enter the home and impact appliances and electronics.

It has two carefully designed utility-grade surge protection elements (a.k.a. Metal Oxide Varistors or MOV's) that act as high-speed switches, quickly reacting, sending the surge to earth ground before it resets and waits for the next surge event.

With an expected life of 15 to 20 years, the meter base surge protector is the industry leader in protecting homes and appliances from transient surge events. To learn more about surges and utility-based surge protection programs, contact KENICK at (800-362-9997) or send us a email at