I'm getting ready to install bookcases for my home office (SouthWest USA). One wall floor to ceiling consisting of four units screwed together. In one place there is a duplex outlet right behind the joint between two bookcase units... If the duplex outlet was in the middle of a bookcase (and not at the carcase edge) I'd just add an extender and leave it in place, but there is no way to do that in this case. I'm thinking I'd just like to remove the outlet, add wire nuts to the wires in the box, then cover the outlet. Based on other work I've done in this house , I'm not convinced I'll ever be able to find the other end of that wire, to disconnect it and leave it 'abandoned in place'.
As I understand it I can safely (and legally to code) cover the unused junction box with a cover plate. What I'm not clear about is must that cover plate remain accessible? In my case you'd have to move about a thousand books and a built in bookcase to get to the cover. I intend to screw the bookcase units in place.
Two series of questions here:
How accessible must that cover plate be? Is there a specification (NEC code?) on what defines accessibility? Must the cover plate be easily visible? In my case I intend it hidden behind a built in book case assembly.
The cover plates I've seen stick out nearly 1/4 of an inch. So this one outlet pushes the entire book case 1/4" away from the wall. Think like a machinist. Every thousandth of an inch counts. If I get a blank metal cover plate, hammer the curved edges flat (so the top surface of the plate now only sticks out only 1/32" or so) am I still legal?
Anybody have a solid handle on the NEC code, as it regards these questions?
Update, August 2016: So I went ahead and flipped the circuit to the other side of an interior wall, per the comment of TomG from May 2014.
Today I'm nearly about to do the final bookcase install, and I'm debating putting in lamps on the bookcase directed at the top shelf. I realize there was another alternative to correcting the "buried behind the bookcase" issue.. and that is to relocate the socket straight up, so it's on top of the book case installation. In my case I left 8" between to the top of the built in bookcase and the ceiling to accommodate air inlets built into the ceiling. I could have relocated the power duplex to just above the top of the bookcase, rotated it 90 degrees and it would be invisible from the ground. I could use that new duplex plug for the power supply for the low voltage hockey puck lamps for the top shelf. Obviously the "move it up" choice only works if you know there is no horizontal bracing installed between the studs.