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I want to upgrade my 100 amp power to 200 amp. Under the new 200 Amp setup, can I install a switch that will cut all power to the hot bars in the box, say for lock-out, tag-out? Do they make a switch rated/designed for this purpose?

This is Indiana, US

  • Where are you on this planet? – ThreePhaseEel May 24 at 23:04
  • After reading this and a few drinks .I think you have panel that has lugs and no main breaker Is the panel going to be in basement and how far from the meter while it be? You may not have wright type to start with . – user101687 May 25 at 4:34
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Oh yes, and it's a good idea, too! "How" depends how you feel about it being outside.

A combo meter pan/main breaker

If you want the master switch to be outside, simply get a combo meter pan/main breaker. Some main breaker types even have room for another breaker or two, like this 200A meter-main combo that provides 4 spaces to feed 2 subpanels for instance.

You can lockout/tagout simply by locking the door.

At that point you no longer need a main breaker in the service panel, and can select a "Main Lug" type panel.

A "main breaker disconnect" indoors

Indoors or outdoors you can get a very large box containing only a 200A main breaker; that is a cost effective way of getting a 200A shutoff switch. However, these cabinets are positively enormous - and any shutoff switch will be too. The reason is the cable bending radius required for 300kcmil aluminum wire, which someone might potentially use for a 200A panel fed from a long distance.

However, this gadget can serve as your main breaker, simplifying your service panel(s).

Most have a means to lock the breaker or lock the access door. Watch for ones that don't.

Generator transfer switch

This does not serve as a main breaker. It's just an expedient way to get a really big shutoff switch. Not a cheap way, however, and again the boxes are enormous.

Again, lookout for units that do not provide a way to lock the switch in a "Gen" or "neutral" position.

Pull the meter / just have the power company turn it off

Traditionally, when you need to de-energize everything after the meter, you'd pull out the electric meter and replace it with a plastic blanking plate. The power company would reinstall it and install their tamper seal.

However today, there's a faster way: don't pay your electric bill - no, just kidding, you can call up the electric company and ask them to remotely shut off the meter. That will de-energize everything downstream of the meter pan; however it will not provide lockout-tagout.


One last word about lockout/tagout. If your scheme is to manually interlock a generator so you can backfeed your panel, NOPE. Big bag of NOPE. It is illegal to use any scheme that involves a manual checklist to provide interlocking. Why? Because humans don't rise to the occasion in a crisis, they sink to the level of their training. So in the dark, in the rain, with other problems to deal with, that is exactly when this sort of thing gets botched.

If you want a gen interlock just buy one - however since it sounds like you're rewiring anyway, you can architect your electrical system for maximum advantage. One of my favorite strategies is to use a 40-space Siemens main-lug panel, and a $30 kit they sell which interlocks two 2-pole breakers (so they both can't be on). It also straps the breakers down and it doesn't require the panel cover to be on, so it complies with Code. You make this a subpanel and put as many circuits as you please in there - put the whole house in there, for all I care! Somewhere else you have a main breaker (/panel?) that feeds this subpanel. That main panel can have circuits you don't ever expect to power off generator - hot tub, half of your heat pump emergency heat, that kind of thing.

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