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Old 10-24-2007, 09:36 AM   #1
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Code on supplying breaker panels


I live in Oklahoma City which uses NEC 2002. I must move my meter panel a few feet and intend to hire a licensed electrician. The purpose of the post is to be knowledgeable when getting bids.

I have 400 amp service feeding 2 - 200 amp breaker panels. I am building an attached garage and the meter box would be inside the garage and must be moved. It will be moved about 2 feet. My questions:

1) Does code specify a maximum distance from the meter box to the breaker panels? The proposed location for the meter box will be about 4' from the farthest breaker panel.

2) The proposed location for the meter box is on the front of the garage. Does code specify a minimum distance from the garage door opening?

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Old 10-24-2007, 10:57 AM   #2
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Code on supplying breaker panels


4' is not nearly enough to even consider. Its fine.

The meter can can be placed anywhere you want provided the Power company can have access to it. Visual access in some areas.
As long as you mount the can where it is not going to interfere (physically) with the garage door and you have ample space, you will be fine. Personally, if it is a 2 door garage, I would not put it in the middle between the two doors. Car + accident = No service

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Old 10-24-2007, 01:07 PM   #3
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Code on supplying breaker panels


The first licensed electrician to make a bid (10 AM this morning) said that code only allowed 3 ft. of conduit (he used the word nipple) between the meter box and the breaker panel. He said I also needed to move one of the breaker panels so it would be closer to the meter box. That would mean a large junction box and splicing 30 or so wires. That seems like a lot of work for 1 ft.

Thanks J.V. for the response.

Last edited by spebby; 10-24-2007 at 01:08 PM. Reason: added thanks to a responder
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Old 10-24-2007, 01:37 PM   #4
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Code on supplying breaker panels


Quote:
Originally Posted by spebby View Post
I live in Oklahoma City which uses NEC 2002. I must move my meter panel a few feet and intend to hire a licensed electrician. The purpose of the post is to be knowledgeable when getting bids.

I have 400 amp service feeding 2 - 200 amp breaker panels. I am building an attached garage and the meter box would be inside the garage and must be moved. It will be moved about 2 feet. My questions:

1) Does code specify a maximum distance from the meter box to the breaker panels? The proposed location for the meter box will be about 4' from the farthest breaker panel.

2) The proposed location for the meter box is on the front of the garage. Does code specify a minimum distance from the garage door opening?
1) You need to check with your local code officials on this. The NEC has no set distance between the meter and panel, but some jurisdictions do. It may be five ft, it may be less than two.

2) The local utility usually dictates where the meter can and can't be. Check with them.
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Old 10-24-2007, 03:03 PM   #5
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Code on supplying breaker panels


Quote:
Originally Posted by spebby View Post
The first licensed electrician to make a bid (10 AM this morning) said that code only allowed 3 ft. of conduit (he used the word nipple) between the meter box and the breaker panel. He said I also needed to move one of the breaker panels so it would be closer to the meter box. That would mean a large junction box and splicing 30 or so wires. That seems like a lot of work for 1 ft.

Thanks J.V. for the response.
I'd think it would be cheaper to put your main breaker/disconnect outside under the meter, rather than move the whole panel one foot (unless you know a guy with a "wire-stretcher" ). In that case the electrician would just have to separate your grounds and neutrals in the main panel, insulate the neutral buss from the grounded box, and move your main breaker outside.
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Old 10-24-2007, 04:38 PM   #6
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Code on supplying breaker panels


Yeah... What Nate said. Here in GA we can only have 10 feet of service running between the meter and panel without OCPD. For this reason, for me, the easiest way to wire new homes is just to go ahead and put the disco. outside on the meter and then I can put the panel anywhere I please.
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Old 10-24-2007, 06:18 PM   #7
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Code on supplying breaker panels


You should also check with your power company to see if they require any sort of protection for the meter socket. Around here they would require cement filled pipe bollards in front of the socket.
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:51 AM   #8
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Code on supplying breaker panels


Thanks everyone for the helpful responses.

I have placed a call to the city inspectors office, so far they have not returned my call. According to the electrician, 3 ft. is the max. and the proposed location of the meter box would be 43" to the farthest panel. The panels are side by side with 3" separation.

The problem panel was moved from an interior closet when I upgraded to 400 amp service. Current code does not allow a panel in an interior closet. Most of the circuits in this panel run to the old panel which is now a junction box. It may be possible to reroute those circuits to the new location without "splicing" the circuits.

Additional questions:

1) If I added a disconnect, can it be inside the garage, within 3' of the meter box? That would keep the clutter off the outside wall. It could be placed where the meter panel is currently located and next to the panel that is within 3 ft.

2) One panel is within 3'. Is it ok to have a disconnect for one panel and not for the other?
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Old 10-25-2007, 01:25 PM   #9
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Code on supplying breaker panels


spebby,
You failed to mention that you wanted to know the distance using a NIPPLE. Nipples are calculated differently than service entrance cable or conduit which is what I though you meant.

Are disconnects required in your area? No disco required here. If not just mount the meter can and run SE (service entrance cable) to the panel? There will be a limit on SE distance. But it is much longer that what we have discussed. Here in my area it's 20 feet last I checked.

Last edited by J. V.; 10-25-2007 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 10-25-2007, 07:57 PM   #10
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Code on supplying breaker panels


Thanks J.V., I really appreciate professional electricians taking time to answer questions.

Sorry about the confusion with nipple/conduit. The first bidder used the nipple term. To me, the existing setup uses rigid conduit (I think that's the term, it's certainly not EMT) even though it's currently only 2 ft.

I am confused at the moment. I got a second bid today and this electrician said there was no problem with 43", he wasn't aware of a 3 ft. limit. He check with his boss and his boss agreed. However, his bid was twice as much as the first bidder.

We can consider this topic closed. I am going to go with the first bidder, he has good references and has been in business a number of years, and I am going to suggest he leave the breaker panel where it is. If it fails inspection, so be it.

To Clarify the nipple/conduit thing: The rigid conduit (my term) runs from the meter box to the breaker panel. The service line from the transformer on the pole is not in question. It's aerial and the local electric company can tighten it if required. They will inspect it once the electrical inspection is passed.

Last edited by spebby; 10-25-2007 at 08:03 PM. Reason: To clarify the nipple/conduit thing
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Old 11-01-2007, 09:28 PM   #11
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Code on supplying breaker panels


Update:

The electrical inspector never did return my phone call. Apparently, they only return calls to licensed electricians.

The meter base was moved to it's new location yesterday. The contractor said he got a waver from the inspector and the farthest panel did not need to be moved. That's the way things should work. It just didn't make sense to me why it would need to be moved from the right side of the second breaker panel to the left side. There is about two inches between the two breaker panels. We will see if the inspector remembers it when he visits. I was told today by the framing inspector that the electrical inspectors are running two weeks out, so the inspection will not occur for two weeks.

Thanks again everyone for the help, I really appreciate your time.

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