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#32405 - 12/22/03 02:48 PM Panel Accessibility question...
NJwirenut Offline

Registered: 09/15/01
Posts: 816
Loc: Bergen County, NJ
Have a customer living in a garden apt. complex. With the permission of apt. management, 3 new 20A circuits for recepts (computer, window A/C, and microwave) were installed.

Since each dwelling unit in this complex has an old 4-hole edison base fusebox and a 60 A feeder from a central utility room, the new lines were taken straight to the utility room, where 3 new breakers were installed in the enclosure that housed the 60A 2-pole feeder breaker that feeds (ONLY) this apartment. Installation passed inspection by local AHJ with flying colors several years ago.

Since the installation was done, apartment management has decided to lock the meter room, rendering the service disconnects for electric, water, and gas to each apartment inaccessible. This includes my 3 new branch circuit breakers, as well as many others that other sparkies have added for other tenants over the years.

Is this lack of access to the service disconnect and branch OCPDs now a NEC violation? 230.72(C) seems to indicate so, unless this falls under the exception, which is vaguely worded. Several tenants are complaining about needing to call maintenance and wait forever for someone to unlock a door in order to reset a tripped breaker or shut off the water when a pipe breaks!

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#32406 - 12/22/03 07:26 PM Re: Panel Accessibility question...
stamcon Offline

Registered: 03/24/01
Posts: 322
Loc: So San Francisco CA
I think if the tennants have 24 hour access to the management company, it is legal under the exemption of 230-72(c)(99NEC).

#32407 - 12/22/03 07:46 PM Re: Panel Accessibility question...
NJwirenut Offline

Registered: 09/15/01
Posts: 816
Loc: Bergen County, NJ
My question about the exception note is that it refers to "the service disconnecting means supplying more than one occupancy". I interpreted this to mean the MAIN service disconnect ahead of all the individual apartment meters/breakers.

Since there are about 30 or so tenant meters/panels in this room, the "6 or less" provision means that these breakers cannot be considered true "service disconnects" for the building. The main disconnect switch feeding the meter bank is in a separate area that has been locked for many years.

[This message has been edited by NJwirenut (edited 12-22-2003).]


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