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  1. #1
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    Default Unprotected cable from meter to SE enters exterior wall

    Every once in a while you find you are yourself asking what seems like a very basic queston - In my area I just never see this done except in conduit - is there any set of conditions under which this is correct?

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    Michael Thomas
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Unprotected cable from meter to SE enters exterior wall

    Correct? No, not by todays standards! However if it was allowed by the code at the time the electrical was installed then it is still "to code". Now if any changes have been made to the electrical system then it would need to be updated to the code at the time the upgrade occured.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Unprotected cable from meter to SE enters exterior wall

    Leaving right now so I can't look anything up, but ... that cable does not look "original", it looks "replaced".

    Is that an EMT fitting on the bottom? Was it a weatherproof SEC fitting with the rubber insert? It does not look like the latter to me, but not sure.

    I'm also thinking that when they ran that "newer" cable out the wall is when they made the extra hole (in the wrong place) and broke that asbestos cement shingle.

    Usually, with asbestos cement shingles, the meter can would be "round", not "square".

    Too many things "look unusual" to make it original, thus, it likely is not, and was not, allowed.

    Is that even SEC? Looks like NM cable.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Unprotected cable from meter to SE enters exterior wall

    Oh, no question, it's unpermitted work, lotsa' such stuff this property (see below).

    I was just wondering - as I always see that done in conduit - how you would do it "right" - can you ever have unprotected SEC enter a wall like that?

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    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 09-24-2008 at 03:29 PM. Reason: added picture
    Michael Thomas
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    Default Re: Unprotected cable from meter to SE enters exterior wall

    I see that you are from Chicago where all the rules seem to be different. Here on the East Coast SE cable going thru the wall and into the panel is very common and permitted. The caveat is that the length of the unfused cable be " as short as practical" according to the Code. Some areas have hard and fast rules on the length others are a judgement call.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Unprotected cable from meter to SE enters exterior wall

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    I was just wondering - as I always see that done in conduit - how you would do it "right"
    In conduit.

    can you ever have unprotected SEC enter a wall like that?
    Not that I am aware of.

    First, the cable would need to be protected from physical damage .

    - 2008 NEC. (underlining is mine)
    - - ARTICLE 338 Service-Entrance Cable: Types SE and USE
    - - - II. Installation
    - - - - 338.12 Uses Not Permitted.
    - - - - - (A) Service-Entrance Cable. Service-entrance cable (SE) shall not be used under the following conditions or in the following locations:
    - - - - - - (1) Where subject to physical damage unless protected in accordance with 230.50(A) (Jerry's note: Now we have to go to 235.50(A), see below.)
    - - - - - - (2) Underground with or without a raceway
    - - - - - - (3) For exterior branch circuits and feeder wiring unless the installation complies with the provisions of Part I of Article 225 and is supported in accordance with 334.30 or is used as messenger-supported wiring as permitted in Part II of Article 396

    - 230.50 Protection Against Physical Damage.
    - - (A) Underground Service-Entrance Conductors. Underground service-entrance conductors shall be protected against physical damage in accordance with 300.5. (Jerry's note: It states "underground" and that is not "underground, but let's see what 300.5 says anyway as 338.12 addresses SEC and not UndergroundSE cable - i.e., not USE - so, being as 230.50(A) was specifically referenced for 'non-underground SEC' it must apply to 'non-underground SEC.)

    - 300.5 Underground Installations.
    - - (D) Protection from Damage. Direct-buried conductors and cables shall be protected from damage in accordance with 300.5(D)(1) through (D)(4).
    - - - (1) Emerging from Grade. Direct-buried conductors and cables emerging from grade and specified in columns 1 and 4 of Table 300.5 shall be protected by enclosures or raceways extending from the minimum cover distance below grade required by 300.5(A) to a point at least 2.5 m (8 ft) above finished grade. In no case shall the protection be required to exceed 450 mm (18 in.) below finished grade. (Jerry's note: "shall be protected by ... to a point at least ... (8 ft) above finished grade".)
    - - - (2) Conductors Entering Buildings. Conductors entering a building shall be protected to the point of entrance. (Jerry's note: BINGO!)
    - - - (3) Service Conductors. Underground service conductors that are not encased in concrete and that are buried 450 mm (18 in.) or more below grade shall have their location identified by a warning ribbon that is placed in the trench at least 300 mm (12 in.) above the underground installation.
    - - - (4) Enclosure or Raceway Damage. Where the enclosure or raceway is subject to physical damage, the conductors shall be installed in rigid metal conduit, intermediate metal conduit, Schedule 80 PVC conduit, or equivalent. (Jerry's note: 8 feet has already been established as the height below which is susceptible to physical damage - see above 300.5(D)(1) - so, any conduit used in that location must meet this requirement.)

    How to protect?

    In conduit.

    Specifically in "shall be installed in rigid metal conduit, intermediate metal conduit, Schedule 80 PVC conduit, or equivalent."

    Overkill?

    Not if you follow the code references through as you are supposed to (that's why they are there).

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Unprotected cable from meter to SE enters exterior wall

    Sorry Jerry, just not seeing the physical damage aspect. Miles of SE are installed this way without the need for conduit and all in a Code compliant manner.

    Wouldn't the POCO want their meter protected by a U pipe or bollards if physical damage was an issue?


  8. #8
    Jim Zborowski's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unprotected cable from meter to SE enters exterior wall

    As far as I can see ( 'course my bifocals are dirty ) it looks like the seal is intact. That would imply to me the utility company thought it was OK. I always advise clients it needs to be upgraded. We have a few lenders and insurance people in my neck of the woods that insist on it.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Unprotected cable from meter to SE enters exterior wall

    A rope service is still allowed in the City and some suburbs. Some burbs don't allow rope service anymore. It's a much cheaper install. Still used regularly in the City.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Unprotected cable from meter to SE enters exterior wall

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Sorry Jerry, just not seeing the physical damage aspect. Miles of SE are installed this way without the need for conduit

    AHhhh ... the "need" may likely be there, ... the "conduit", obviously, is not.

    Protection from physical damage is consistent throughout the code and installations, some AHJ just do not follow the links to the other articles addressing that protection from physical damage.

    I did inspections in Destin, Florida about 2 years ago, there were many things I learned from them, and many things they learned from me, one of them was the protection from physical damage requirements. Such as non-metallic liquid tight conduit coming up out of the ground *is not allowed* ... but you see it everyday. That does not make it "right", it just means that the AHJ is not aware of it yet. I showed it to them, went over it with them, and, yes, *it is specifically there in the code*, so, yes, they were changing the way they were enforcing it, no longer allowing what had been "standard practice" there for many, many years.

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  11. #11
    Frank Mauck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unprotected cable from meter to SE enters exterior wall

    Mr. Thomas,

    I agree with Jim Port, the Service Entrance Conductors are installed from the Meter Hub to the Electric Panel as in your picture all over Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. In single family dwellings it is also very common to see the SEC from the Weather-Head down the outside wall to the Meter Hub. What's the physical damage to the cable? If something would hit it, generally it would also take out the meter hub and any conduit.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Unprotected cable from meter to SE enters exterior wall

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Mauck View Post
    In single family dwellings it is also very common to see the SEC from the Weather-Head down the outside wall to the Meter Hub.
    Frank,

    I'm not saying you don't see it.

    I see people speeding all the time. It happens. However, just because "everyone does it" does not make it right.

    What's the physical damage to the cable?
    There are a lot of things which can damage a *non-metallic* covered* and *insulated* cable which would not damage the meter can. Tools laid up against the side of the house for one.

    If something would hit it, generally it would also take out the meter hub and any conduit.
    It take a lot more to "take out" a meter can and conduit than it does "to damage", i.e., "protection from physical *damage* ", "cable".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Unprotected cable from meter to SE enters exterior wall

    Michael,

    As long as the sheathing is intact and undamaged it's ok.

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