Wow, It's been about 4 decades since I have seen this, back in my apprentice days as an electrician.
I think what you have here is the old hot wire setup that Ontario Hydro use to offer for off hours hot water tanks. Basically you paid a set amount for electricity for your hot water heater which was powered only during off hours, the power came to the house on a separate electrical feed from the street and the control box had the fuses inside which are the screw in receptacles in your blurry picture.
At that time Ontario Hydro activated the wires and it powers the hot water tank only and is able to be shut off from the controls in the box. The 2 screw in fuses were there to protect the tank from excessive current or shorts.
If you look closely at the screw in fuses there should be a number on them and hopefully they are not blue, as this was the colour for 15 amp fuses. It appears that when you or someone else discontinued from the flat rate hot water usage they somehow connected the city side of this unit to the breaker panel which is now controlled by circuit breakers.
If this was not done and the street side of this connection was not dis-connected then you would have basically unlimited free hydro on that circuit alone.
I am pretty sure that this type of electrical circuit has been outlawed in Ontario and possibly everywhere else in North America unless grandfathered, which means it's OK if you have them but once you alter the wiring in any way, you have to update to present code regulations.
PersonallyI feet that there was a good reason they were outlawed because they were prone to starting fires and the circuit breakers simply responded better to modern electrical problems which we now face. You can trace the BC cable back and it would be interesting in how it was connected to your panel, it should be controlled by a separate breaker in the panel and not only controlled by the master breaker feeding the entire panel.
Please provide pictures of panel and close up shots of the actual fuses.
Wow, that's something else. I was born way after those times. You learn something new every day I guess.
We moved into the house 3 months ago. This was connected to the electric water tank we had, but upgraded to gas and the line was capped with the junction box by the reliance techs. When they removed the tank, I kept wondering if there was a way to take it out permanently.
The free hydro bit you mentioned sounds tempting on its own, but if this box is outlawed for safety reasons, it's probably best to just leave it alone then, correct? From what I'm gathering, If I add wiring off of that connection, I would have to update it to code. I dunno how much it would cost to bring it to code, but from the sounds of things, it might just be better to leave it alone altogether before I open up a big can of worms.
When I shut off the main breaker, it kills the hydro to it. That's the only way it'll shut off, and I'm guessing that would pose a problem if I were to install anything to it such as an EVSE. I'm also pretty confident that all of the electrical panels are near original, except for the sub panel. It's a federal pacific panel that I have, and the right fuse in that box says 125V on the physical bulb, with a green label on the inside saying "GP 30", the left one has no markings on it. That's all I can really say right now, because I've been up since 4 am and can't stay up any longer, lol. I'll try to get more pictures in the next couple of days when I remember to.