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Main Disconnect and Smart Meters


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This condo has smart meters. The main disconnect for each service is usually right next to the meter. I don't see any. There was no main disconnect at the subpanel inside the condo unit. How does the occupant shut down the main?

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Good luck finding that. AFAIK, it's a performance standard with the AHJ making the final call. The local muni inspectors usually say 6 feet, but I've known new-construction SECs to cross the ceiling over a two car garage and still pass their inspection.

Marc

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...the distance he refers to I've known only as the undefined spec for distance w/o overcurrent protection of SEC. In our area you cannot get a number from the utility.

Unless it is "back to back" from meter to main panel there generally is a breaker in the meter box or right next to it for the whole thing.

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Im going to call dow to the chief electrical inspector tomorrow and ask if he knows where our 10' rule originated,if it was based on anything in the Nec or not.

Everybody Ive asked in the last few days says the same thing as me,Its just always been that way so everybody figures it has to have originated someplace.

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My current house in SC has the meter base (with smart meter) on the south wall of the house. No disconnect that I know of without pulling the meter. The cables exit the rear of the meter base, through the wall into the crawl space (this side of the house the crawl is 10' high) traverses the entire house through he crawl then up an interior wall on the north side of the house where the two panels are located. Each panel has a dedicated feed from the meter and I'm guessing they are 75-80 feet long.

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My current house in SC has the meter base (with smart meter) on the south wall of the house. No disconnect that I know of without pulling the meter. The cables exit the rear of the meter base, through the wall into the crawl space (this side of the house the crawl is 10' high) traverses the entire house through he crawl then up an interior wall on the north side of the house where the two panels are located. Each panel has a dedicated feed from the meter and I'm guessing they are 75-80 feet long.

That would constitute two major violations here: the length of the unfused feeders and the lack of a gutter. The gutter is an enclosure between the meter box and the two main panels. It splits the SECs into two feeders.

Marc

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My current house in SC has the meter base (with smart meter) on the south wall of the house. No disconnect that I know of without pulling the meter. The cables exit the rear of the meter base, through the wall into the crawl space (this side of the house the crawl is 10' high) traverses the entire house through he crawl then up an interior wall on the north side of the house where the two panels are located. Each panel has a dedicated feed from the meter and I'm guessing they are 75-80 feet long.

That would constitute two major violations here: the length of the unfused feeders and the lack of a gutter. The gutter is an enclosure between the meter box and the two main panels. It splits the SECs into two feeders.

Marc

Not allowed in Canada either. Shortest distance possible is the rule. If the unfused feeders need to go any distance through a crawlspace they are often encased in concrete.
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  • 10 months later...

Another condo with smart meters and no main disconnect anywhere. There was a main disconnect to shut down the power for the entire building. I doubt that counts. Nobody else is seeing this during their inspections?

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See it all the time. In fact, my apartment building is like that; 7 panels, no disconnects, just a main building disconnect. There's thousands of them like this in Chicago.

Any work happens in the building, the City makes them upgrade. Nothing happening, they cruise along like this.

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See it all the time. In fact, my apartment building is like that; 7 panels, no disconnects, just a main building disconnect. There's thousands of them like this in Chicago.

Any work happens in the building, the City makes them upgrade. Nothing happening, they cruise along like this.

Jim K corrected me recently on main breaker requirements for sub-panels: The requirement is the same as for the main panel. If there are 6 or fewer branch circuit breakers, there's no need for a main breaker on a sub.

I guess he's going to correct me again shortly. I'm getting rusty.

Marc

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That's right, but my building has 8 circuit Bulldog panels. I see older condo buildings all the time that have panels or subpanels lacking main breakers with >6 overcurrent devices.

I thought the restriction was on hand movement, not the # of breakers. National sez something about hand movement.

Chicago has it's own code, which honestly, I can barely keep track of and it doesn't matter anyway...inspectors are in the Brotherhood and it's all in family. Code is whatever some dweeb says it is, and sometimes not.

I make a comment in my reports about lack of main disconnects, but nothing comes of it and I never expect anything to come of it.

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