Innovative Use of Plastic Meter Pedestal

When visiting on the Internet, the caption from Culpeper, Va., home page reads: "Surrounded by historic landmarks, rolling hills and sparkling rivers, lakes and streams, The Town of Culpeper naturally blends a rich history with a prosperous future.

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By Greg Myszkowski

When visiting on the Internet, the caption from Culpeper, Va., home page reads: "Surrounded by historic landmarks, rolling hills and sparkling rivers, lakes and streams, The Town of Culpeper naturally blends a rich history with a prosperous future. With its Colonial and Victorian homes, thriving businesses and quaint shops, galleries and restaurants, it's easy to see why it's been called 'One of the 10 Best Small Towns in America.'"

Nordic Fiberglass Inc. of Warren, Minn., discovered that Culpeper developed an innovative idea for using one of its products, the MPP-141480-MG plastic meter pedestal. This plastic meter pedestal is designed to accommodate up to three meter enclosures to be installed on the outside walls of the pedestal. The town of Culpeper had another idea on how to use this meter pedestal.

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A unique electrical situation presented itself just before the celebration of the town's 250th anniversary on September 19, 2009. Located in downtown Culpeper is Yowell Meadow Park. This park has a paved, one-mile walking trail and adventurous scenic trails. Along the trail are markers giving information about Culpeper's history. There's also a monument dedicated to the Culpeper minutemen who fought in the American Revolution. Vendors were to be located at the end of the ball park in Yowell Meadow Park to sell all types of food items for the town's upcoming 250th celebration. These vendor's electrical ovens would need power to feed a hungry crowd. What had been used in the past for electrical service was an old subsurface secondary pedestal. Pigtails ran from the pedestal to the required location for past events, and the power was fed by an overhead 10 kV transformer. A safer and more permanent electrical solution was needed before the 250th birthday celebration was to begin; the solution also needed to accommodate any future activities in the park.

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Mark Bly, director of Light and Power at Culpeper, had known about a Nordic Fiberglass meter pedestal from his friend, Jim Amiss of Ensales Inc. and a manufacturing rep for Nordic Fiberglass Inc., who had shown him the MPP-141480-MG plastic meter pedestal earlier. Jim told Mark that a plastic meter pedestal from Nordic would not rust or corrode, and workers would find plenty of room to work inside. Mark decided to use the pedestal for this unique situation–he brought the electrical cable from the existing subsurface secondary pedestal and trenched it 50 feet underground to the MPP-141480-MG.

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Mark's innovative idea was to install a 100 amp Milbank meter base inside the meter pedestal. Because the pedestal is plastic, workers would find it easy to drill through and attach the meter. Normally, the plastic pedestal is designed to accommodate up to three meters to be installed on the outside walls of the pedestal. Mark thought it would be a good idea to put the meter inside and out of reach of any unlawful tampering–given its somewhat remote location in the park. Outside of the plastic pedestal workers installed a 60 amp disconnect box and two GFI duplex receptacles for the vendors to plug into. With the problem solved, the vendors now had an accessible source of power they could plug into. It was also safe and secure. Mark said it took workers about two hours to trench in the 50 feet of cable and about an hour to connect everything to the MPP-141480-MG.

The 80-inch high, UV stabilized MPP-141480-MG allowed for easy meter reading without having to bend too far for viewing. It gave workers at Culpeper a 14" x 38" exterior or interior mounting surface area on three sides. Workers found the large service entrance door, with a stainless steel penta-head bolt, a big plus. The penta-head bolt was also covered with a stainless steel cup that made it even more difficult to tamper with. The workers also found the door had provisions for a pad lock to keep away unlawful tampering at the park. Since many children frequent Yowell Meadow Park, the pad locking feature helped deter meddling with the pedestal. They saw that the large 11-inch by 31-inch front door opened to expose a wide open interior that gave Culpeper's light and power workers all the room they needed to work inside. The linear low density polyethylene UV stabilized material was easy for them to drill through to mount their equipment. Because the pedestal weighed only 35 pounds, one person could install it. The installation required the pedestal to be buried from 24 inches to 32 inches deep with either 48 inches or 56 inches standing above grade. Workers brought their live service underground and up into the bottom of the pedestal to the mounted meter enclosure. In other installations, conduit can run from the meters to the outlying customers. Other users for this pedestal, when attached with three meter pedestals, are customers at trailer parks, RV campgrounds or townhouses. Mark Bly knew what this pedestal was designed for, but thanks to innovative thinking, it had another use.

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"It was light and easy to work with, said Bly. We needed a permanent fixture that wouldn't rust and would give us protection against tampering. The meter is easy to read inside the pedestal and is secure from graffiti paint and baseball bats. We're planning on using three more pedestals for future similar projects down by the depot. We'll have 240 volt outlets for musical bands to plug in their amplifiers and musical instruments for our summer 'Third Thursday' concerts."

A temporary problem turned into a permanent solution with the installation of the MPP-141480-MG. Because the base of the pedestal is corrugated, it provided high strength against sidewall ground pressures. Also, because the base is flanged, it helped keep the pedestal in one place without any twisting. The base helped keep the unit in a solid, permanent installation that will last for many years.

So, if you plan on visiting Culpeper this summer, check out Nordic's MPP-141480-MG at Yowell Meadow Park–close to where the vendors are parked. And if you're there Saturday, June 19, 2010, don't miss Culpeper's Soap Box Derby!

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