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Main electrical disconnect location

New postPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2022 6:35 pm
by bigdog
If I remember correctly I heard at the fall FABI conference that main electrical disconnects are required to be on the exterior for safety during fires etc. Is this correct and if so what code cycle did it make its appearance?
Thanks and I hope all is going well for the new year!

David McCabe

Re: Main electrical disconnect location

New postPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2022 10:34 am
by Jerry Peck - Codeman

I've heard talk of that also. I'd have to check, but as I recall, it is being discussed for the next NEC code cycle.

And it will not be considered as "the" "main service disconnect" so as to not alter everything else which would be affected if it was "the main service disconnect".

What I heard recently is that is what is being discussed - how to install "a" "first" "main service disconnect" without it becoming one. It will be an unfused (no overcurrent protection) "emergency disconnect".

Could "the" main service disconnect which is typically already installed outside in places like Florida also be "the emergency disconnect"? Probably.

Re: Main electrical disconnect location

New postPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2022 3:53 pm
by Jerry Peck - Codeman
I thought I would add this:

The person I was discussing this with a month or so ago had recently been at an IAEI continuing education meeting where NFPA representatives were leading the meeting.

I asked him if they had discussed a few questions such an "emergency disconnect" brought to my mind:
- Was a location for the emergency disconnect discussed? Would it be allowed on the already burning building or would it be required to be remote from the building (i.e., would firefighters even be able to get to the emergency disconnect)?
- If remote, how far: 25'; 50'?
- If remote, would it be required to be in a Knox Box to which only first responders have keys? (To avoid unwanted shutting off by kids, "bad guys", etc.)

Seems that those important considerations were not considered, or at least not addressed at that meeting. I can't imagine that I'm the first person to ask those questions.

Re: Main electrical disconnect location

New postPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2022 2:25 pm
by Jerry Peck - Codeman
Another part of our conversation was that I asked if anyone asked about if smart meters could be used for that as the power can be shut off remotely.

While I suspect that no one asked about the, he started giving me reasons why that would not work, would have to contact a 3rd party (power company) to shut power down, etc. I replied that first responders could have a remote system in their vehicles which would allow them to shut the smart meters off. To me, shutting off smart meters would be the way to go as that way power is shut off at the meter, not downstream someplace.