A lot of customers call their breaker box a fuse box. It can also be called a breaker panel. While the term "fuse box" is technically incorrect, we'll know what you are talking about. Fuse boxes haven't been used in homes in nearly 100 years as a fuse is a one time use device that would have to be replaced to restore power. A breaker can be reset when it trips to restore power to a circuit.
There are two common reasons to upgrade or replace a breaker box:
1) Your equipment is old, outdated, or unsafe. There are two brands of breaker boxes that have gone out of business about 40 years ago due to issues with how they operated. Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) and Zinsco Sylvania. If you have one of these brands of breaker box, we highly recommend replacing it to modern equipment.
2) The second reason you would need to replace or upgrade a breaker box is that you need more power or breaker space. Older breaker boxes had few breaker spaces for new circuits and possible not enough amperage to support some of the higher powered circuits we now see in homes like car charging stations.
The main electric service is where the power comes into your house from the power company. It will go to the meter can (the box the meter itself is in) and then to the main breaker box. When a service is upgraded or if the main breaker box is replaced, the whole service must be brought up to current code. This often times means a new meter can and mast (the conduit that comes out of the top of the meter can on overhead services). You will also get a whole house surge protector and an updated grounding system to meet current code. The wires from the power company's source to the house would be something the power company would be responsible for replacing and they may or may not have charges that come with that. In most cases, upgrading to 200 amps would not come with upgrade fees from the power company, but that all depends on what you have in place now.
The answer will vary based on factors like is the service overhead or underground fed, do we have clearance issues that require something to move, do we need to replace the meter can, how many breakers do you have, etc. The best way to get accurate pricing for your project is to fill out our quote form. This is a simple process that will take you 5-10 minutes to fill out and that will give us the information that we need to get you a quote for your project. Standard service upgrades can range from $3500-$5000. There are many reasons why it can fall outside of that range, though, so please fill out a quote form to get accurate pricing for your project.
The photo shows the 30" side to side and 36" in front of your service equipment. This does include the meter can as well. The total side to side clearance is not 30" plus the width of the equipment. The equipment's width is included in the 30". However, if your equipment is wider than 30", you will need that side to side clearance aross the entire front of your equipment.
In most cases, we need to coordinate the power outage with the power company in order to perform this work. Austin Energy is typically anywhere from 1-6 months out on their schedule for these outages. Every contractor is subject to the same scheduling process with Austin Energy so no one can get the job scheduled any quicker than another contractor. Other providers like PEC and Oncor have much shorter lead times and can typically be scheduled in about 2 weeks from an approved quote.
This video shows a before and after of an overhead main electric service that we upgraded to 200 amps and added a 60 amp Autel car charging station. This came with a new meter can, mast, weatherhead, 200 amp main breaker box, grounding, and a whole house surge protector.