National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Friday, May 25, 2018


Changing 200 amp panel located 7’ from the meter base, requires an exterior safety switch. The new panel is a main breaker, does the safety switch have to fused or can it be non fused?

Pete McCarthy



Hey Pete thanks for your question. It is not clear from your example why the exterior safety switch is required. The service disconnecting means must be installed nearest the service conductors entrance point as stated in 230.70(A)(1). If the panelboard main meets those conditions the exterior switch is not required by the NEC. But having a switch on the line side of the panelboard has safety advantages such as being able to completely deenergize everything in the panelboard. If a switch is installed on the supply side of the panelboard, as you describe, it is the service disconnecting means and the service overcurrent device must be part of that switch or immediately adjacent to it as stated in 230.91.

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