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I've got a property with an existing very sluggish electrical installation which consists of a service drop at property entrance, no main disconnect and a 130' underground run to the living space (house) where a main panel is badly wired up. I am about to correct this and install a breaker at service drop and wire up the panel correctly.
This is a follow up to a question of mine about the needed ampacity of the main disconnect breaker in this situation.

My service comes in here (please don't even comment the hooked up appliance...):

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In the before mentioned question there's an illustration of the service providers specs on what this should look like. Well there's a small diameter red wire coming out of the meter which is not supposed to be there and gets lost after a few inches of conduit...
There's also a bare ground wire coming through when the ground rod is actually on the meter side and it also gets lost in the conduit further along the run.

The neutral here should apparently be hooked up to the ground from the meter (I hope it is, I'll call the company when I'm about to install the disconnect to pull the meter). I'm currently about to choose this panel as my main disconnect with a double pole 70A or 50A breaker (depending on my investigations on the gauge of the cable run):
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From the service drop the phase and the neutral wires run as #8 THWN (or #6, currently trying to figure out; most probably #8 because that's the spec of the provider and cheaper...) in 3/4" semi-rigid conduit underground to the "main" panel which is a total mess (as well):

enter image description here

At this panel there's a grounding rod bonded to the neutral bar as expected on a main panel.
(I'll rewire most of this)

QUESTION

If I install a main disconnect right behind the meter where do I need to ground?
I suppose that the disconnect would be grounded through the neutral because of the meter? Would that make the existing panel become a sub panel and call for a separate grounding bar even though being 130' away?

  • Okay, that service panel is back-fed. The leftmost 50A breaker is your main. You'll want to keep that as your "main shutoff switch", unless you are sure the Rule of Six is acceptable there Also, a rules technicality, that backfeed breaker is supposed to be bolted down. – Harper Apr 2 at 21:44
  • Well I do know how this panel is wired but as mentioned I want to rewire this to lug and use the breakers for what they are, having a main shutoff at the service drop. I would install a bigger one here, but for the moment it'll be enough really and the cost is not justified. So the question is about the grounds, not anything else. – Marian Apr 2 at 22:11
  • You still need a main shutoff at the structure, unless you want to rely on the Rule of Six for that... – ThreePhaseEel Apr 2 at 22:12
  • Who is your utility, and can you contact them and ask them if they are OK with a hot sequence meter disconnect being used at the pole here? – ThreePhaseEel Apr 2 at 22:14
  • @ThreePhaseEel Could anybody enlighten me about what would be so horrifying having 6 or less breakers to disconnect all ungrounded conductors in a small living space? Also if you follow the link to my other question mentioned in the post, the service provider actually calls for this configuration. – Marian Apr 2 at 22:15

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