pay no attention to ground wire. This pic is before it was redone

My utility requires a bare #6 wire to run from the the rods to the meter pan and be bonded with neutral. The wire then runs to the ground bar in the panel.
I have an old panel with only one bar for grounds and neutrals.

My question is, since there is a ground neutral bond in the meter pan, do I have to separate the grounds and neutrals in the main load center?

My other question is, can the conduit that connects the main load center to the meter can be metal with a bare ground wire running through it or does it have to be PVC?

Ps. The ground wire in the pic is done wrong but this pic was taken before it was redone.

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    Conduit can certainly be metallic. You might need to add an accessory ground bar or isolated neutral bar, depending on your panel details. Pictures of your panel and its labels would be helpful. Edit to add them.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 5, 2022 at 13:32
  • Metal conduit usually can be the ground path, saving having to have a ground wire, but I think a ground wire can be in it. Think a plain meter can without breakers is just a meter can, so probably not consider a main panel.
    – crip659
    Sep 5, 2022 at 13:32
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    @crip659 The point is, there must be only one neutral-ground point per service. It doesn't matter if it's in a box that contains a meter or circuit breakers, there must be only one total for the service. If the utility mandates it in the meter box, so be it. You can think of the first downstream panel as a "main" (because it has the main shutoff) or a "sub" (because it must not have an additional neutral-ground bond), whatever floats your boat.
    – nobody
    Sep 5, 2022 at 14:26
  • 1
    Being a property manager for a camp, might put you as a regular person outside of doing electrical work for the camp. Most locals if you are lucky, only allow the owners of single family homes to do their own electrical work. Any rentals/commercial/public places need an license electrician.
    – crip659
    Sep 5, 2022 at 14:28

2 Answers 2


If your utility is requiring the neutral-ground bond to be in the meter box, then yes, you really need to keep neutral and ground entirely separate downstream of that. If you keep the second bond in the breaker panel, then if the neutral wire between the meter and the present neutral/ground bar ever fails (pretty unlikely, but it can happen silently) then all your ground wires become lethally electrified when you have any 120V loads turned on. That's not good.

  • That sounds right to me. Looks like I am just going to replace the old panel and update everything the way it needs to be. Thanks for the input!
    – josh45595
    Sep 5, 2022 at 14:38
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica -- the GEC can tie in to the neutral anywhere from the weatherhead to the service point, though Sep 5, 2022 at 22:03
  • @josh45595 Make sure to check the local rules about neutral conductors. Some inspectors will take issue with having a black wire on the neutral bar and a white wire on a circuit breaker. It might be required to wrap the neutral feed with white tape at both ends. The ungrounded circuit conductor, even if it's grandfathered, might need non-white tape at both ends. Sep 6, 2022 at 11:41

You're stuck between a utility rock and a NEC hard place

Normally, if your utility says to do something in a certain way, I'd agree with them and go along with the flow. However, your utility's requirements pose a significant problem here, namely, stray neutral current. You see, wiring up a service with metal conduit between meter and main panel and the grounding electrode conductor being extended through the meter base's lay-in lug to the main panel creates three possible paths for neutral current, since both the meter base and the main panel have the neutral bonded to their respective enclosures.

As a result, this multi-pathing of neutral current between the normal neutral, the metal conduit and enclosures, and the section of grounding electrode conductor running through that conduit creates what's arguably the "objectionable current" that NEC 250.6 is intended to be used to remediate. So, if I had any say in the matter and could ply the ears of your utility inspectors, I'd replace the metal nipple from meter to main panel with Schedule 80 PVC and also terminate the grounding electrode conductor at the meter base grounding lug, citing the "shall be permitted" language in NEC 250.6 with regards to objectionable currents both on cabinets (panel and socket enclosures) and the GEC itself.

Barring that, your only other option would be to find a meter main that your utility approves of and install that in place of the meter socket. This obviates the issues with what your utility specifies for a run between the meter base and the main panel, but it does not appear your utility provides any significant specifications for such beyond calling out a Milbank ringless socket with no bypass means as a recommended part.

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