I'm looking for the NEC code reference that allows a main panel within a home to contain a main breaker because the meter is directly on the other side of the outside wall, versus installing a meter-main outside. I remember hearing something to the effect of no more than 5 feet of service cable between the two boxes.

2 Answers 2


Article 230 Services

VI. Service Equipment — Disconnecting Means 230.70 General

Means shall be provided to disconnect all conductors in a building or other structure from the service-entrance conductors.

(A) Location.

The service disconnecting means shall be installed in accordance with 230.70(A)(1), (A)(2), and (A)(3).

(1) Readily Accessible Location.

The service disconnecting means shall be installed at a readily accessible location either outside of a building or structure or inside nearest the point of entrance of the service conductors.

  • That's all I was able to find too -- I have nary a clue where Kris is getting the 5' limit from, because it does not seem to be in the Code. Perhaps it's an "inspector's rule of thumb"? Jun 14, 2016 at 2:52
  • 1
    Notice that 230.70(A)(1) says "inside nearest the point of entrance of the service conductors.". The NEC does not give a specific length limit, though some local amendments might, and some service providers do as well (though utility specs are not enforceable by the local code enforcement authority) .
    – Tester101
    Jun 14, 2016 at 10:21
  • Exactly guys. This point has been contested forever. Some local inspectors use it to flex their muscle since it gives them the power to determine what "nearest the point of entrance" means. Jun 14, 2016 at 11:18
  • The meaning seems plain enough: don't make that run any longer than it has to be. Jun 15, 2016 at 1:20

In Canada, the provincial Inspection Authorities issue Bulletins that put specific allowable lengths on the distance service conductors in conduit may run inside a building. So the precise distance varies with the jurisdiction, anywhere from 1.5m (59") to 6m (20'). The reason you can't find any mention in the NEC is probably similar.

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