Moses Lee Odom, a meter reader for the Potomac Electric Power Co., was making his rounds in southeastern Silver Spring yesterday when he approached the yellow frame home at 8118 Hartford Ave. Attached to the home's meter was an electric battery and what appeared to be two sticks of dynamite.

"There was a note there, as I understand, with words to the effect, 'Turn me off and I'll turn you off,'" Pepco spokesman John Grasser said later.

Odom, 26, went to find the nearest telephone to summon police, who arrived on the scene at about 11:30 a.m. After quickly inspecting the device, they summoned a demolition expert from the state fire marshal's office.

But when broken down to its component parts, the "bomb" apparently consisted of wires, an Eveready battery and two road flares.

The occupant of the home, James Richard Bowers, 25, was not at home at the time police arrived. But he was arrested yesterday afternoon by Montgomery County police and charged with making a false statement to police in reference to a bomb, according to Montgomery County police spokesman Phillip Caswell.

A neighbor of Bowers said yesterday that Bower is a self-employed paperhanger. While the demolition expert was working and before he arrived, according to the neighbor and police, the entire area around the small yellow house was roped off, with police cars and television crews filling the street.