What Does CL 200 on My Electric Meter Mean?

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Updated January 10, 2022
Electric meter reading.
Photo: methaphum / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • The CL 200 on your electric meter refers to your Amp service.

  • However, CL 200 simply indicates capacity instead of confirming actual service.

  • Your power company can confirm service capacity.

  • If your home isn't at 200 Amp service, consider upgrading with help from a licensed electrician.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

You don't have to be an electrician to know what the numbers on your meter mean. What might look like some random codes are important denotations for your home's electrical system. One string of characters that might be leaving you mystified is CL 200. Let's clear up the confusion!

Most people who live in modern, single-family homes will come across this string of numbers and letters on their meters. CL 200 indicates that your home is rated for up to 200 Amp service.

Of course, even an older home may also be at 200 Amp service, and it’s possible to update an older house to have 200 Amp service.

What Does Having 200 Amp Service Mean?

The 200 Amp service represented by the CL 200 indicator on your electric meter means that your box is rated for up to 200A continuous 220/240V power draw through it. In other words, the combined total load from both your breaker boxes and main breakers should not go beyond 200A on each live lead of your 220/240V wiring.

CL 200 Is Not a Capacity Guarantee

Circular electric meter on wall
Photo: Erik Isakson / Getty Images

While you may have a CL 200 meter base, that doesn't mean that you necessarily have 200A service drop capacity. In fact, your actual capacity could be much less than 200A.

The CL 200 distinction simply means that your box is rated for up to 200 Amp of continuous line power demand. It is in no way a guarantee that your incoming drop service is rated for 200 Amp. If you have questions about your actual drop service capacity, it's important to check in with your power utility company. A local electrician can also help you get answers regarding the specifics of the power setup at your home.

Some common reasons why service capacity might be limited include:

  • Your meter box capacity

  • Service drop (wiring) capacity

  • Service connection capacity

It's not unheard of for some utility companies to limit your allocated service capacity based on what other properties sharing the same transformer have already installed. In some cases, a power company may require a transformer upgrade before you can upgrade a home's power demand. While this is sometimes a covered expense, it may cost thousands of dollars for transformer or service drop upgrades. 

Upgrading to 200 Amp Service

If you've discovered that 200 Amp service is available, you might consider upgrading to account for heavier electrical loads at your house. This is common when people add additions, new appliances, new sump pumps, heated pools, and other new items that increase a home's electrical load.

It's always necessary to have a licensed electrician upgrade your home to 200 Amp service, and permits are required. Most municipalities require an in-person inspection. It's also usually necessary to have the power company disconnect power during installation.

The full job includes installing the 200 Amp service wire, a main disconnect, and a new 200 Amp electrical service panel. Upgrading to 200 Amp service will cost you between $750 and $2,000.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.