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  1. #1
    Jerome W. Young's Avatar
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    Default service neutral bypass main cabinet

    This house [1968] overhead service with an exterior main 200 amp FPE. The service neutral bypassed the main panel terminals and continued to the non-service panel. This is a new one for me. What is going on here?

    The non -service panel was located in the garage. -neutrals and grounds connected with several ground connected to the floated panel?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Jerome,

    Seems to me the neutral should have been connected to the terminal at the left side of the first pic along with the grounding electrode conductor that goes to the grounding electrode (rod/ufer)

    Second pic needs its own grounding terminal block/bar that is connected back to the neutral/ground terminal in the service equipment.

    Then there is the FPE.

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  3. #3
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    The way it is connected now the main panel is not grounded properly. If the meter base is wired properly all that is needed in the main panel is a bonding bushing on the nipple from the meter base and a #4 copper wire from the bushing to the ground lug on the neutral bar. This is because the main panel looks to have concentric knockouts.


  4. #4
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    "the non-service panel."
    Jerry reads this with a contented smile - deservedly so.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    The way it is connected now the main panel is not grounded properly.
    James,

    That part I agree with.

    The best correction would be to pull the neutral out of the meter, connect it into the terminal provided by the manufacturer for the neutral, then run a new neutral conductor from the other neutral terminal to the meter.

    I say "The best correction" because it is, and, if you look at the schematic for that main, you will likely see that is the manufacturer's method as well, meaning it is also "the only correction" to be in accordance with the listing and labeling - i.e., NEC 110.3(B).

    Besides ... ... it is also required to be connected *IN* "the service equipment".

    From the 2008 NEC. (underlining, bold and red text are mine)
    - 230.75 Disconnection of Grounded Conductor.
    - - Where the service disconnecting means does not disconnect the grounded conductor from the premises wiring, other means shall be provided for this purpose in the service equipment. A terminal or bus to which all grounded conductors can be attached by means of pressure connectors shall be permitted for this purpose. In a multisection switchboard, disconnects for the grounded conductor shall be permitted to be in any section of the switchboard, provided any such switchboard section is marked.

    - Service Equipment. The necessary equipment, usually consisting of a circuit breaker(s) or switch(es) and fuse(s) and their accessories, connected to the load end of service conductors to a building or other structure, or an otherwise designated area, and intended to constitute the main control and cutoff of the supply.

    Yeah, that "ground" connection (attempt at such, anyway) is wrong in the "not service equipment" distribution panel.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The best correction would be to pull the neutral out of the meter, connect it into the terminal provided by the manufacturer for the neutral, then run a new neutral conductor from the other neutral terminal to the meter.

    Did I read this correctly? "The best correction" did not include replacing the FPE panel. You read it here first folks!

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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Did I read this correctly? "The best correction" did not include replacing the FPE panel. You read it here first folks!
    Gunnar,

    I have not heard of any problems with those mains, they are bolted down with the conductors connecting to those main lugs.

    Do they actually trip at their rating? I have no idea.

    Do they NOT trip like is problematic with regular FPE branch circuit breakers? I have no idea.

    I've not read anything either way on those mains.

    However, I do deserve a double slap as *anything with FPE on it* should raise the hairs on the back of ones neck, yet it did not raise my neck hairs on this one.

    Quite simply, I don't know anything wrong with those, so the correction, the "best one" is to correct the obvious neutral problem.

    Replacing the FPE main? Not a bad recommendation, if for no other reason than it is 40 years old.

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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Quite simply, I don't know anything wrong with those, so the correction, the "best one" is to correct the obvious neutral problem.

    Ohh man, JP. You managed to weasel out of it!

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    Talking Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Gunnar, You almost got it right, But Jerry missed it all to gether. The netural and the ground should be installed in the lugs to the left of the 1st pic and the neturals and grounds should be seperate in the 2nd pic.


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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Mount View Post
    But Jerry missed it all to gether. The netural and the ground should be installed in the lugs to the left of the 1st pic
    Tony,

    Ummmmm ... I think you need to go back and either read, or re-read my post ... that's what I said needed to be done.

    So ... please 'splain to me what I "missed all to gether" (by the way "to gether" is one word "together").

    and the neturals and grounds should be seperate in the 2nd pic.

    That was not even the question. Tony, your eyes working okay?

    The question was about those grounds which WERE separate, only they were improperly attached to the panel in an improper location. They were attached to a screw head on the 'floating' (hence the wording Jerome used) panelboard interior, 'floating' on those adjustable screws.

    Numero uno, those are to be in a proper terminal.

    Numero dos, that proper terminal is required to be attached in a designated location which provides for the proper number of threads into the metal enclosure.

    Numero tres, ... (just testing my Spanish, did I spell those correctly?)

    uno
    dos
    tres
    quadra

    no hablo espanol

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Jer, I did som readen about yourn posted and knowern does I seen wern ya say taht those grounds and whited wires doen needed seperaten in that second piture.


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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Mount View Post
    Jer, I did som readen about yourn posted and knowern does I seen wern ya say taht those grounds and whited wires doen needed seperaten in that second piture.

    Ton,

    Dats cusin eys wer tallken ta da riginel postuer bout he'n tallken bout "with several ground connected to the floated panel".

    Dats wer ya wooda scen mees wrighten bout dos floaters he'n tallken bout, cusin he'n wer't tallken bout floatters inun outhaus.

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  13. #13
    Frank Mauck's Avatar
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    The Grounded Conductor (Neutral) in thr first picture is required by code (NEC) to terminate on the neutral bar in the disconnect. The Grounding Electrode Conductors (the conductors to the water pipe and ground rods) also is required to terminate on the same ground bar. The metal offset nipple between the Meter Hub and the Disconnect cabinet is required to be bonded to both cabinets. Not knowing what code cycle the building was built under, would not br able to reference the proper code articles.

    The Grounding Conductors in the second picture has to terminate on a seperate ground bar in the Subpanel.


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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Hi Jerry /Tony &

    (FYI) - 'Up here' (once again - B.C., Canada), we puts it ALL together, to achieve "altogether"...

    *** Don't tell me I've been wrong all this time !? ***


    -Glenn Duxbury, CHI


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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Mauck View Post
    The Grounding Electrode Conductors (the conductors to the water pipe and ground rods) also is required to terminate on the same ground bar.
    It is? "Required" to terminate on "the same" ground bar?

    Where does it state that?

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  16. #16
    Frank Mauck's Avatar
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    It is? "Required" to terminate on "the same" ground bar?

    Where does it state that?

    Mr.Peck, Article 250.24 of the NEC.


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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Mauck View Post
    Grounding Electrode Conductors (the conductors to the water pipe and ground rods) also is required to terminate on the same ground bar.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    It is? "Required" to terminate on "the same" ground bar?

    Where does it state that?
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Mauck View Post
    Mr.Peck, Article 250.24 of the NEC.
    Frank,

    "Where" in 250.24 does it state that?

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  18. #18
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    2008 NEC 250.24 (A)(1) says "The grounding electrode conductor connection shall be made at any accessible point from the load end of the service drop or service lateral to and including the terminal or bus to which the grounded service conductor is connected at the service disconnecting means." Making the connection on the same terminal bar with the grounded conductor is one acceptable location, but there are other locations that are also allowed.


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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Chew View Post
    Making the connection on the same terminal bar with the grounded conductor is one acceptable location, but there are other locations that are also allowed.
    Precisely.

    Thank you Brandon.

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  20. #20
    Frank Mauck's Avatar
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Chew View Post
    2008 NEC 250.24 (A)(1) says "The grounding electrode conductor connection shall be made at any accessible point from the load end of the service drop or service lateral to and including the terminal or bus to which the grounded service conductor is connected at the service disconnecting means." Making the connection on the same terminal bar with the grounded conductor is one acceptable location, but there are other locations that are also allowed.

    Mr. Chew keep in mind that once the Power Company puts their seal on a Meter Cabinet, Tap Box and/or CT Cabinet, that cabinet is no longer accessible. The code says at any accessible point.


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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Mauck View Post
    Mr. Chew keep in mind that once the Power Company puts their seal on a Meter Cabinet, Tap Box and/or CT Cabinet, that cabinet is no longer accessible. The code says at any accessible point.

    Frank,

    "Keep in mind that once the" code section is from the NEC, you need to apply the definitions in the NEC.

    Accessible (as applied to equipment). Admitting close approach; not guarded by locked doors, elevation, or other effective means.

    Accessible (as applied to wiring methods). Capable of being removed or exposed without damaging the building structure or finish or not permanently closed in by the structure or finish of the building.

    That is still an "accessible point" to attach the grounding electrode conductor, as defined in the NEC.

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  22. #22
    Frank Mauck's Avatar
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Frank,

    "Keep in mind that once the" code section is from the NEC, you need to apply the definitions in the NEC.

    Accessible (as applied to equipment). Admitting close approach; not guarded by locked doors, elevation, or other effective means.

    Accessible (as applied to wiring methods). Capable of being removed or exposed without damaging the building structure or finish or not permanently closed in by the structure or finish of the building.

    That is still an "accessible point" to attach the grounding electrode conductor, as defined in the NEC.

    Jerry, A cabinet that the Power Company installed one of their seals on is no longer accessible (it is locked from everyone except an Power Company Technician). The code does require the Grounding Electrode Conductor to be accessible. For having to be accessible it does limit where it can be terminated.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Mauck View Post
    Jerry, A cabinet that the Power Company installed one of their seals on is no longer accessible (it is locked from everyone except an Power Company Technician). The code does require the Grounding Electrode Conductor to be accessible. For having to be accessible it does limit where it can be terminated.
    Frank,

    You are reading that all wrong.

    You are mixing common everyday use of the term "accessible" to try to make it mean what you want it to mean.

    When you use a code, any code, all terms which are defined in that code are defined for a specific reason - because that definition is EXACTLY AND ONLY what that term means in that code. Words *not defined* in codes are to be taken as the meaning stated in other referenced documents.

    From the NEC. (underlining is mine)
    - ARTICLE 100 Definitions
    - - Scope. This article contains only those definitions essential to the proper application of this Code. It is not intended to include commonly defined general terms or commonly defined technical terms from related codes and standards. In general, only those terms that are used in two or more articles are defined in Article 100. Other definitions are included in the article in which they are used but may be referenced in Article 100.
    Part I of this article contains definitions intended to apply wherever the terms are used throughout this Code. Part II contains definitions applicable only to the parts of articles specifically covering installations and equipment operating at over 600 volts, nominal.

    Here is an example from the IRC. (underlining is mine)
    SECTION R201
    GENERAL
    R201.1 Scope.
    Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following
    words and terms shall, for the purposes of this code, have
    the meanings indicated in this chapter.

    R201.2 Interchangeability.
    Words used in the present tense
    include the future; words in the masculine gender include the
    feminine and neuter; the singular number includes the plural
    and the plural, the singular.

    R201.3 Terms defined in other codes.
    Where terms are not
    defined in this code such terms shall have meanings ascribed to
    them as in other code publications of the International Code
    Council.

    R201.4 Terms not defined.
    Where terms are not defined
    through the methods authorized by this section, such terms
    shall have ordinarily accepted meanings such as the context
    implies.

    "accessible", in the NEC, means what the NEC says it means, *and nothing else*.



    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Mauck View Post
    Mr. Chew keep in mind that once the Power Company puts their seal on a Meter Cabinet, Tap Box and/or CT Cabinet, that cabinet is no longer accessible. The code says at any accessible point.
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Mauck View Post
    Jerry, A cabinet that the Power Company installed one of their seals on is no longer accessible (it is locked from everyone except an Power Company Technician). The code does require the Grounding Electrode Conductor to be accessible. For having to be accessible it does limit where it can be terminated.
    I agree with your reasoning here regarding limitations, but not with your original statement that the GEC is required to be connected to the same bus bar as the grounded conductor at the service disconnect. The point that Jerry and I are making is that code allows more flexibility than what you made in your original statement.

    Perhaps this excerpt from my 2003 IRC commentary on section E3507.2, Location of grounding electrode conductor connection, will shed some light on the accessibility debate:

    Commonly, the grounded conductor is connected to the grounding electrode conductor at a grounding terminal in the service equipment at the location of the main disconnect. The code permits this connection to be made at any accessible location between the load end of the service drop or service lateral and the main disconnect and it is often made in a meter cabinet. The meter cabinet is an accessible location for this connection. For an overhead service, the connection could be made at the weatherhead, the meter cabinet, a current transformer cabinet, or the main disconnect. If the connection is made in the meter cabinet, it may be considered inaccessible and therefore not permitted by the utility company. The main disconnect is usually the most convenient place to make the connection.
    ... or perhaps not . That paragraph is poorly written. First they say the meter cabinet is accessible and then they say it could be considered inaccessible. I think the point they are trying to make is the same one that Mr. Mauch made -- if the cabinet in which the connection is made is sealed by the poco tag, it is no longer considered accessible. Given the importance of this connection to the safety of the system, I think they want someone other than the poco to be able to inspect it, thus I'd agree with the interpretation that the sealed meter cabinet is not an accessible location.


  25. #25
    Frank Mauck's Avatar
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Frank,

    You are reading that all wrong.

    You are mixing common everyday use of the term "accessible" to try to make it mean what you want it to mean.

    When you use a code, any code, all terms which are defined in that code are defined for a specific reason - because that definition is EXACTLY AND ONLY what that term means in that code. Words *not defined* in codes are to be taken as the meaning stated in other referenced documents.

    From the NEC. (underlining is mine)
    - ARTICLE 100 Definitions
    - - Scope. This article contains only those definitions essential to the proper application of this Code. It is not intended to include commonly defined general terms or commonly defined technical terms from related codes and standards. In general, only those terms that are used in two or more articles are defined in Article 100. Other definitions are included in the article in which they are used but may be referenced in Article 100.
    Part I of this article contains definitions intended to apply wherever the terms are used throughout this Code. Part II contains definitions applicable only to the parts of articles specifically covering installations and equipment operating at over 600 volts, nominal.

    Here is an example from the IRC. (underlining is mine)
    SECTION R201
    GENERAL

    R201.1 Scope.
    Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following
    words and terms shall, for the purposes of this code, have
    the meanings indicated in this chapter.
    R201.2 Interchangeability.


    Words used in the present tense
    include the future; words in the masculine gender include the
    feminine and neuter; the singular number includes the plural
    and the plural, the singular.
    R201.3 Terms defined in other codes.


    Where terms are not
    defined in this code such terms shall have meanings ascribed to
    them as in other code publications of the International Code
    Council.
    R201.4 Terms not defined.


    Where terms are not defined
    through the methods authorized by this section, such terms
    shall have ordinarily accepted meanings such as the context
    implies.

    "accessible", in the NEC, means what the NEC says it means, *and nothing else*.



    Jerry,

    I agree with you on section R201 but I did quote the article from the NEC which has two definitions for the word accessible and the first one (as applied to Equipment) is; Admitting close approach; not guarded by locked doors, elevation, or other effective means. The second one refers to the wiring method.
    I do not feel that I'm reading it wrong.
    I think Mr. Chew understands where the Grounding Electrode Conductor needs to terminate.



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    Thumbs up Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    The AHJ in Oklahoma REQUIRES the GEC to terminate in the same location as the neutral in the first disconnecting service equipment after the meter base. If the said equipment is the final service then the grounds and neutrals can share the same terminal bar. If the service is extended to a another location the grounds and neutral must be separated in their own terminal bars. In which James is correct that all connections made to the service equipment from the meter base should be bonded if metal nipples are used in concentric knockouts. Additional GEC can be placed anywhere in the service equipment. Its not rocket science, just common since. Glenn, if its not done this way in Canada then I would not want to work with it.


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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Mauck View Post
    I do not feel that I'm reading it wrong.
    I think Mr. Chew understands where the Grounding Electrode Conductor needs to terminate.
    Frank,

    From the 2008 NEC Handbook: (I don't have it on CD, so I to type it.)
    - The grounded conductor of an ac service is connected to a grounding electrode system to limit the voltage to ground imposed on the system by lightning, line surges, and (unintentional) high-voltage crossovers. Another reason for requiring this connection is to stabilize the voltage to ground during normal operations, including short circuits. These performance requirements are stated in 250.4(A) and 2150.4(B).
    - The actual connection of the grounded service conductor to the grounded electrode conductor is permitted to be made at various location, according to 250.24(A)(1). Allowing various locations for the connection to be made continues to meet the overall objectives for grounding while allowing the installer a variety of practical solutions. Exhibit 250.8 illustrates three possible connection point locations to where the grounded conductor of the service could be connected by to the grounding electrode conductor.

    The drawing in Exhibit 250.8 shows the connection being made at three locations (and they are not the only three locations allowed or possible, as stated in the text, this just show "three possible connection point locations", not 'the only three permitted locations').

    The locations shown are:
    - at the overhead service drop grounded conductor to the service entrance conductors
    - at the meter can
    - at the neutral terminal in the service equipment

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Mount View Post
    The AHJ in Oklahoma REQUIRES the GEC to terminate in the same location as the neutral in the first disconnecting service equipment after the meter base.
    That may very well be true and if so you have to live by it. But that doesn't apply to anyone outside that particular AHJ's jusdiction. The model codes (NEC and IRC) allow more flexibility and do not require the connection to be made at only that one location.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Frank,

    From the 2008 NEC Handbook: (I don't have it on CD, so I to type it.)
    - The grounded conductor of an ac service is connected to a grounding electrode system to limit the voltage to ground imposed on the system by lightning, line surges, and (unintentional) high-voltage crossovers. Another reason for requiring this connection is to stabilize the voltage to ground during normal operations, including short circuits. These performance requirements are stated in 250.4(A) and 2150.4(B).
    - The actual connection of the grounded service conductor to the grounded electrode conductor is permitted to be made at various location, according to 250.24(A)(1). Allowing various locations for the connection to be made continues to meet the overall objectives for grounding while allowing the installer a variety of practical solutions. Exhibit 250.8 illustrates three possible connection point locations to where the grounded conductor of the service could be connected by to the grounding electrode conductor.

    The drawing in Exhibit 250.8 shows the connection being made at three locations (and they are not the only three locations allowed or possible, as stated in the text, this just show "three possible connection point locations", not 'the only three permitted locations').

    The locations shown are:
    - at the overhead service drop grounded conductor to the service entrance conductors
    - at the meter can
    - at the neutral terminal in the service equipment


    Jerry,

    Sorry I do not have the 2008 Handbook to check out Exhibit 250.8, keep in mind that the interpretations in the Handbook is the opinion of the authors. I do not know about other states but in Virginia the opinions of the authors (handbook) and the Fine Print Notes are not enforceable. The AHJ in most of the Northern Virginia areas enforces 250.24 (A) (1) and the GEC can not terminate in any type of cabinet that will have a seal installed by the local Power Company because it will no longer be accessible.
    Dominion Power Company does not want the EGC in their equipment, and I know of a sevice that they would energize until the GEC was removed from it.

    If the AHJ in other localities interpret's and enforces the codes differently I have no way of knowing. I was merely trying to help another inspector understand.


  30. #30
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    What's the current betting line on which one of these things will happen first?
    • Frank admits that NEC 250.24 does not require termination of the GEC and the grounded conductor on the same ground bar.
    • Jerry admits that a meter cabinet that is sealed by the poco tag is not "accessible" within the intent of 250.24.
    • This thread runs to 100+ posts.



  31. #31
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Chew View Post
    What's the current betting line on which one of these things will happen first?
    • Frank admits that NEC 250.24 does not require termination of the GEC and the grounded conductor on the same ground bar.
    • Jerry admits that a meter cabinet that is sealed by the poco tag is not "accessible" within the intent of 250.24.
    • This thread runs to 100+ posts.
    Brandon,

    Not this "Jerry admits that a meter cabinet that is sealed by the poco tag is not "accessible" within the intent of 250.24." because the handbook is acknowledging that the meter can is an acceptable connection point.

    The drawing states "an accessible meter enclosure" (and I am 100% sure that the authors *know* that all power companies put "seals" - note, those are not "locks" - or meter enclosures).

    Also note that the text states "Allowing various locations for the connection to be made continues to meet the overall objectives for grounding while allowing the installer a variety of practical solutions.", i.e., "allowing the installer" ... nothing in there about future access. Meter cans are not even "sealed" at the time "the installer" is installing it, nor at the time the inspector is inspecting it.

    To *assume* that it must always remain available outside the "sealed" enclosure is like stating that the terminal connections for the service entrance conductors at the meter must also always remain outside the "sealed" enclosure ... so they may also be inspected at some future date.

    *ALL* applicable inspections (by the AHJ) are done *before* the meter enclosure is sealed. Remaining visible for 'home inspector' to check them is not even a remote consideration.

    Back to your other choices, though, this "Frank admits that NEC 250.24 does not require termination of the GEC and the grounded conductor on the same ground bar." should happen quickly as *one of the other possible locations listed* is at the overhead service connection to the service entrance conductors at the mast head. The ball is now in Frank's court. Does he swat at it again, or admit that *there are* other locations available than 'just at the same neutral terminal bar'?

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  32. #32
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Mauck View Post
    keep in mind that the interpretations in the Handbook is the opinion of the authors.

    Frank.

    Keep in mind that the NEC Handbook is also supported and backed by NFPA, the "authors" of the NEC.

    The attached is the drawing in the Handbook, and while it *only shows some of the possible and acceptable* locations for the connection between the grounding electrode conductor and the neutral, *it does show more than just "the same" neutral terminal bar.

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  33. #33
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Jerry,

    Now that I've had a little fun, I'll share my opinion. My own independent research into the subject of whether it is allowable to terminate the GEC in the meter base is that:
    • It is one of the locations allowed by the NEC and IRC (see your NEC Handbook and my IRC Commentary post).
    • Some pocos allow it, others do not, and some require it at the meter.
    • Some AHJs allow it, others do not, some require it at the meter, and some require it at the service disconnect
    • When the poco and the AHJ disagree, the poco wins (I don't have to hook my wires up to your system if I don't like what I see).
    From an engineering perspective, if one considers the purpose of the GEC (see your NEC Handbook post), I'd prefer the GEC terminate in the meter cabinet instead of at the disconnect (around here almost all meters are outside and the disconnect is in the basement). Why run a lightning strike or voltage spike into the building before you run it into the ground if you don't have to?

    From an inspector's perspective, I'd prefer to be able to see the connection while I was on-site so that I could confirm that it was correct, instead of having to disclaim it as not "readily accessible" (to me, the inspector) because it was in the cabinet sealed by the poco tag. I really dislike having to say "this is really important for the safety of your electrical system, but I can't get in there (tagged meter cabinet) to inspect it, so I recommend you get an electrician out here who can open it up and inspect it for you after he gets permission from the utility company".... as if that's ever going to actually happen ...

    Brandon


  34. #34
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Chew View Post
    When the poco and the AHJ disagree, the poco wins (I don't have to hook my wires up to your system if I don't like what I see).
    In South Florida, the AHJ won. They were the ones inspecting that connection and the electricians were the ones making that connection and installing the grounding electrode system.

    From an engineering perspective, if one considers the purpose of the GEC (see your NEC Handbook post), I'd prefer the GEC terminate in the meter cabinet instead of at the disconnect (around here almost all meters are outside and the disconnect is in the basement). Why run a lightning strike or voltage spike into the building before you run it into the ground if you don't have to?
    Agreed.

    From an inspector's perspective,
    Ahhh ... but "which inspector's" perspective? The AHJ's inspectors are the ones who need to inspect it, and they do so prior to it being sealed up in the meter enclosure.

    From a 'home inspector's perspective' ... do you dig out all grounding electrode conductors and verify their connection to the grounding electrode system?

    If not, this is simply the 'other end of' that conductor. Why treat it differently? See below.

    I'd prefer to be able to see the connection while I was on-site so that I could confirm that it was correct, instead of having to disclaim it as not "readily accessible" (to me, the inspector) because it was in the cabinet sealed by the poco tag. I really dislike having to say "this is really important for the safety of your electrical system, but I can't get in there (tagged meter cabinet) to inspect it, so I recommend you get an electrician out here who can open it up and inspect it for you after he gets permission from the utility company".... as if that's ever going to actually happen ...

    Brandon
    How do you address buried and not accessible grounding electrode conductors to the grounding electrode system? Same thing for the other end. Why treat one end differently than the other end?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  35. #35
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Frank.

    Keep in mind that the NEC Handbook is also supported and backed by NFPA, the "authors" of the NEC.

    The attached is the drawing in the Handbook, and while it *only shows some of the possible and acceptable* locations for the connection between the grounding electrode conductor and the neutral, *it does show more than just "the same" neutral terminal bar.

    Jerry,

    Since you have a copy of the handbook, check out the Notice Concerning Liability and the Notice Concerning Code Interpretations in the front of the book.
    The last paragraph in the Notice Concerning Code Interpretations says the commentary and supplementary materials in this handbook are not a part of the Code and do not constitute Formal Interpretations of the NFPA. The commentary and supplementary materials, therefore, soley reflect the personal opinions of the editor or other contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the NFPA or its technical committes.

    Like I said in Virginia, the opinion (commentary) of the authors of the handbook and the FPN are not enforceable, only the content (wording) of the code.

    Since I do not see many overhead services (around here almost all services are underground), I can see where the EGC could be connected at the service drop (never seen it done). In an underground service the Grounded Conductor is not accessible until it terminates in the cabinet of the first disconnecting means (that is way I am saying that the GEC needs to terminate at the neutral bar). Being the Meter Cabinet, Tap Box, or CT Cabinet is sealed by the Power Company it is no longer accessible, the GEC should not terminate in them. Some AHJ may interpret or enforce the code diffiderently.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Mauck View Post
    Jerry,

    Since you have a copy of the handbook, check out the Notice Concerning Liability and the Notice Concerning Code Interpretations in the front of the book.
    The last paragraph in the Notice Concerning Code Interpretations says the commentary and supplementary materials in this handbook are not a part of the Code and do not constitute Formal Interpretations of the NFPA. The commentary and supplementary materials, therefore, soley reflect the personal opinions of the editor or other contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the NFPA or its technical committes.

    Like I said in Virginia, the opinion (commentary) of the authors of the handbook and the FPN are not enforceable, only the content (wording) of the code.
    Nor are they enforceable anywhere.

    That said, though, the NFPA does back and produce the book, which shows the intent and thinking behind the code sections.

    Since I do not see many overhead services (around here almost all services are underground), I can see where the EGC could be connected at the service drop (never seen it done).
    I've never seen it done either, but *IT IS AN OPTION*, which is what I am trying to get you to understand ... that there are *OPTIONS* out there for the connection point of the neutral and the grounding electrode conductor.

    I am glad that you now see that.

    In an underground service the Grounded Conductor is not accessible until it terminates in the cabinet of the first disconnecting means (that is way I am saying that the GEC needs to terminate at the neutral bar).
    You are again applying *your* interpretation of being accessible, not the code's, furthermore, you are applying *your* interpretation to you seeing it (not seeing it in this case) 'after-the-fact' when the code is addressing 'at-the-time-of-installation, i.e., from a previous post of mine:

    Also note that the text states "Allowing various locations for the connection to be made continues to meet the overall objectives for grounding while allowing the installer a variety of practical solutions.", i.e., "allowing the installer" ... nothing in there about future access. Meter cans are not even "sealed" at the time "the installer" is installing it, nor at the time the inspector is inspecting it.
    Being the Meter Cabinet, Tap Box, or CT Cabinet is sealed by the Power Company it is no longer accessible,
    With "no longer" being key. *IT WAS* accessible by any interpretation *at the time of installation*.

    the GEC should not terminate in them.
    Incorrect.

    However, it would be correct to state that *YOU* think it should not terminate in them.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  37. #37
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    In South Florida, the AHJ won. They were the ones inspecting that connection and the electricians were the ones making that connection and installing the grounding electrode system.

    By "that connection", are you referring to the GEC? I could have been more clear. I was referring to a situation where the PoCo requires the GEC connection in the meter cabinet and the AHJ requires the GEC connection at the disconnect. If the PoCo comes out to install the meter and the service drop or laterals, and there is no GEC connection in the meter cabinet (and that PoCo requires one), the PoCo can and has refused to make the hookup. If the AHJ won't budge, then the electrician has to run extra wire and connect in both places, to satisfy the PoCo and the AHJ.

    Ahhh ... but "which inspector's" perspective?
    Home inspector.


    From a 'home inspector's perspective' ... do you dig out all grounding electrode conductors and verify their connection to the grounding electrode system?

    If not, this is simply the 'other end of' that conductor. Why treat it differently?

    How do you address buried and not accessible grounding electrode conductors to the grounding electrode system? Same thing for the other end. Why treat one end differently than the other end?

    Driven rods are very common here and many of them have the end and connection exposed (wrong if not also protected from physical damage) which makes inspection easy. When the GEC runs into the ground, I use a plastic gardener's hand trowel to try to dig down a few inches to see if I can find the end of a rod and see the clamp. Many times I find it without too much effort. If I don't find it after digging down about 6 inches below the surface, I disclaim it as not "readily accessible" (using the definition in my SOP, and which is part of the agreement for the scope of services between me and my client).

    If I can't locate the connection to other types of electrodes, I disclaim them too. My comment is that as a home inspector, I wish I could see the connections (at both ends of the GEC) so that I could inspect them and say it is either ok or not ok, instead of having to disclaim it if I can't get access to it. Sometimes I can verify it, and sometimes I cannot.


  38. #38
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Chew View Post
    My comment is that as a home inspector, I wish I could see the connections (at both ends of the GEC) so that I could inspect them and say it is either ok or not ok, instead of having to disclaim it if I can't get access to it. Sometimes I can verify it, and sometimes I cannot.
    Brandon,

    That is what I was saying, having to disclaim two ends of it is really no different than having to disclaim one end - an electrician needs to verify the connection(s) while on-site making other repairs.

    Electricians will 'always' be out there making some type of repair, I've never seen a house - new or resale - which had everything absolutely correct. And, being as they are there anyway ... it is no biggie to have them verify the connections.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  39. #39
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Brandon,

    That is what I was saying, having to disclaim two ends of it is really no different than having to disclaim one end

    I got that. What I'm saying is that many installations around here don't need to be disclaimed at all, because I can inspect the end attached to the grounding electrode and the other end is also accessible to me, except when it's in the meter cabinet and sealed with the PoCo tag. Those little tags are the only thing between me and getting a peek at the connection and laying the whole thing to rest (determining whether it is ok or needs repair). The tag is easy to remove, but I don't want to be arrested by the Federal Bureau of Mattress Police, so I have to defer this easy task to someone else.

    - an electrician needs to verify the connection(s) while on-site making other repairs.

    Electricians will 'always' be out there making some type of repair, I've never seen a house - new or resale - which had everything absolutely correct. And, being as they are there anyway ... it is no biggie to have them verify the connections.

    I agree, and that's what I do. Even so, it's ok for me to wish I didn't need to defer it, and I'm not losing any sleep over it.


  40. #40
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Jerry Peck

    I have to ask the question.

    Is it true or slightly exaggerated that you have never looked (lets say new home, panel in the garage, and no others with the exception of disconnects at equipment) and never inspected one and came to a conclusion at the end of your inspection that it passed the inspection in you mind? There was always some error or concern or safety hazard?

    We are talking of a very serious matter here. By saying that you are saying that there is no Electrician or company or individual with the exception of you that has a clue on how to do there job and do it well !

    Really curious here !


  41. #41
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Is it true or slightly exaggerated that you have never looked (lets say new home, panel in the garage, and no others with the exception of disconnects at equipment) and never inspected one and came to a conclusion at the end of your inspection that it passed the inspection in you mind? There was always some error or concern or safety hazard?
    Yes.



    Both.



    I, like many other inspectors I am sure, have not inspected a panel which had *EVERYTHING RIGHT* the first time.

    That said, there have been many panels which were 'good enough', or which the electrician made minor corrections and everything was then okay (that I saw, *I* probably missed some things).

    For example, I inspected two 26 story towers, 10 units per floor, and I doubt there was even one single panel out of all of them which was totally correct the first time through.

    How many panels have you seen installed with drywall screws? How many times have you seen drywall screws with their heads snapped off and missing? Use sheet metal screws or wood screws.

    We are talking of a very serious matter here. By saying that you are saying that there is no Electrician or company or individual with the exception of you that has a clue on how to do there job and do it well !
    I *only have a clue* as to how to do it correctly, many electrical inspectors are much smarter than I am and know much more than I do about many things - it is amazing how many electricians do not know that you are not allowed to multiple tap conductors into one terminal (with a few exceptions), or that you are not allowed to use white for hot unless you permanently re-identify them by painting or other effective means.

    Sure, I am sure I have seen many panels which were 'okay' ('good enough') on the first pass through, but there is no reason to "remember" those, is there?

    Just like I don't recall seeing any plumbing installation which was all correct either, or roof, or ...

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 08-06-2008 at 09:10 PM. Reason: me speelin' where horible
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  42. #42
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    Default Re: service neutral bypass main cabinet

    Jerry


    "Sure, I am sure I have seen many panels which were 'okay' ('good enough') on the first pass through, but there is no reason to "remember" those, is there? "

    Just making sure you still had your human status and did not ascend yet


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