What if I want to run all new wiring in my house and also replace a panel.
Is there a way to disconnect main line somehow before it comes to the panel?

2 Answers 2


You need to call your utility company and have them come and disconnect the meter.

To re-install it, they will likely require the new panel has passed inspection, so be sure to check and coordinate that as well.

  • 4
    Just anecdotal: I do a lot of stuff myself, but I paid an electrician to replace my panel at a previous house. He knew the hydro crew and inspector on a first-name basis. The inspector was in and out in all of 5 minutes, and when ready, called one of the hydro crew guy's cell phones directly and they basically showed up a few minutes after the inspector left. Cost me a few hundred dollars, but the whole thing was done in an afternoon and power was back on before my wife was home from work.
    – gregmac
    Mar 11, 2015 at 18:58
  • Is that what electricians do? Why aren't there some readily usable switch between the meter and the panel? wouldn't that be more convenient?
    – Dannyboy
    Mar 11, 2015 at 18:58
  • 7
    If there is an extra switch, what do you do if you need to replace that switch? Have another switch for the switch? :) There has to be a demarcation between owner and utility at some point -- and that point is the meter.
    – gregmac
    Mar 11, 2015 at 19:24
  • 8
    @Dannyboy: If you are not a trained electrician, you should never do work on anything electrical prior to the main breaker. Without that breaker, there is nothing to save your life if you make a mistake. Call an electrician. Mar 11, 2015 at 20:05
  • 2
    Also a bit overkill, IMHO. Really, how often do you need to do work between the panel and the meter that would justify the cost of installing an extra weather- and vandal-proof switch outside? Sure it would be nice now if it was already in place, but are you planning on replacing/upgrading/moving your main panel again in the next, 5, 10, 20 years? At the end of the day, it's your money to burn, should you choose to do so.. I'm sure the electricians/suppliers/inspectors/etc won't have a problem taking it ;)
    – gregmac
    Mar 12, 2015 at 16:40

Depends what you call panel and what country you live in. If it is panel internal to the house there are countries which they mandate by electric code+utility code separate street cabinet/pole cabinet with meters/breakers and you can shutdown switch there into your house panel. Safely without needing to call utility company. But this might and probably will break your electric certification/inspection obviously.

Or you might have separated panel with meter and breaker and then another panel for house. In this case you might still shutdown power on meter panel leading to house panel.

All in one panels (metering + central breaker + house circuit breakers i've not saw that much). Even in 3rd world countries. Some poor countries and very very old installations do have meter without breaker to house panel tough :-/ Bad luck for you in this case. You need utility company.

All my suggestions are on your own risk. If you get harmed or killed (includes all people related to subject in question), don't call me responsible. Call qualified electrician + utility company and not touch anything. You obviously don't know local electric code and utility code if you need to state that question.

  • Not sure I'd call the US a "3rd world country" or "poor country", but meter to main panel without a breaker here isn't exactly uncommon. Until 2020, it wasn't even required that the main breaker be outside the house.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 10, 2023 at 19:32
  • Given the state of electric grid in US is not far away from some 3rd world countries. I've not saw one panel instalation even in vietnam, thaliand or indonesia. Even crappy installations had street/pole panel and house panel.
    – L. R.
    Nov 11, 2023 at 23:37

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