Kind of confused where my main shutoff is. When I read and looked at breaker boxes for examples, most had a big shutoff right at the top. Where is the switch on mine? I'd like to remove a breaker, but I'd like to turn the whole box off. Any ideas?

Cutler-Hammond Breaker Box

2 Answers 2


What you have is called a split-buss panel.

Code allows up to six "main" breakers or disconnects. The top six double-pole spaces in your panel are all main disconnects. One (spaces 9/11) is the "lighting main" which shuts off the bottom half of the panel.

The lugs at the top of the panel are unfused lines coming from the meter.

As a side note, the single-pole breakers in the top half of your panel are technically a code violation since that caused you to have more than six disconnects to shut down all power.


Unless you have a disconnect next to the panel or meter, you do not have a main breaker. What I think you have is a main Lug split panel. If you look at circuit 9/11, fifth breaker from the top left side of the panel, that should shut down the lower part of the panel.

Warning: You'll be working around live electrical wires during this procedure. If you don't feel comfortable doing so, please contact a local licensed Electrician.

You may have to call your electrical provided to do this.

If you want to replace one of the top breaker the meter will have to be pulled to turn the whole panel off, also turn off all the breakers before anyone pulls the meter, to shed the load.

  • Thanks, that was hugely helpful. I wanted to replace one of the ones on the bottom, so I believe I should be good to go. Thanks!
    – StingeyB
    Aug 31, 2015 at 2:39

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