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Thread: Bonding of the main panel

  1. #1

    Bonding of the main panel

    I have been having a conversation with the local power company over bonding the neutral and the ground in the main breaker panel of a residence.

    The power company is requiring us to bond the neutral and the ground in the meter base attached to the house. By doing this, should the main breaker panel be treated as a sub-panel and the neutral bus and ground bus be isolated?

    The power companies argument is, by having the main breaker panel neutral and ground bonded it is creating a parallel path to ground. I tend to agree with them on this issue.

  2. #2
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    The NEC allows for multiple bond points in the region between the meter and the service disconnect under some circumstances.
    Or, as long as you provide a raceway or wire EGC separate from the POCO neutral, you can separate EGC and neutral in the panel.

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  3. #3
    GoldDigger, could you please tell me what section of the NEC you are referencing?


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by midamericairon View Post
    The power company is requiring us to bond the neutral and the ground in the meter base attached to the house.
    What exactly do you mean by this? The Neutral is factory bonded to the cabinet in a meter enclosure. Do they want you to bring your GEC into the meter socket?

    The power companies argument is, by having the main breaker panel neutral and ground bonded it is creating a parallel path to ground. I tend to agree with them on this issue.
    A few things to note: The NEC doesnt specifically prohibit "a parallel path" at the service (it does use the term for separately derived systems, see 250.30(A)(1) Ex #2). 250.6 discusses "objectionable current" but it is not clear what objectionable current is.

    One final thing: Note in the above I was discussing current flowing on raceways. You said "parallel path to ground " which is different if that is literally what you meant. The NEC does not require a single point earthing system. One could have multiple GEC's connected at different points or auxiliary electrodes (see 250.54).
    Ethan Brush - East West Electric. NY, WA. MA

    "You can't generalize"

  5. #5
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    POCO's bond the neutral to everything and is a little surprising they mentioned anything here.

    According to NEC the meter (in most typical self contained metering applications) is still a part of the service conductors and all grounding/bonding ahead of the service disconnecting means is done to the grounded conductor (neutral in most cases). NEC also requires a bonding jumper at the service disconnecting means and separate grounded and equipment grounding conductors beyond that point.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by midamericairon View Post
    I have been having a conversation with the local power company over bonding the neutral and the ground in the main breaker panel of a residence.
    You haven't said where the Service Disconnect is located. Is it inside the "main breaker panel", as you call it? Or is it part of the meter, or separate from both the meter and the "main breaker panel"?
    Another Al in Minnesota

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by midamericairon View Post

    The power company is requiring us to bond the neutral and the ground in the meter base attached to the house.
    That is a typical installation here in the southeast.
    Quote Originally Posted by midamericairon View Post
    By doing this, should the main breaker panel be treated as a sub-panel and the neutral bus and ground bus be isolated?
    No, the separation takes place after the service disconnect.

    Quote Originally Posted by midamericairon View Post
    The power companies argument is, by having the main breaker panel neutral and ground bonded it is creating a parallel path to ground. I tend to agree with them on this issue.
    Sounds like your POCO has a good understanding of the way things work, be thankful, many don't.

    Roger
    Moderator

  8. #8
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    As mentioned neutral is usually already bonded to the cabinet in a meter socket, and even in combination meter/mains/loadcenters.

    They only thing that may need to be done is connect to a grounding electrode - though most POCO will already have a rod at any structure they provided.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by midamericairon View Post
    ...
    The power companies argument is, by having the main breaker panel neutral and ground bonded it is creating a parallel path to ground. I tend to agree with them on this issue.
    Quote Originally Posted by roger View Post
    ...
    Sounds like your POCO has a good understanding of the way things work, be thankful, many don't.
    +1

    A parallel grounded [neutral] conductor pathway on noncurrent-carrying metal parts on the POCO-side of the main disconnecting means has long been considered as permitted and not objectionable current. Those that feel it is install nonmetallic raceway between enclosures. I've not seen nor heard of any AHJ that requires it, though.

    FWIW, the main bonding jumper is always located in the main disconnecting means enclosure(s) regardless of being bonded elsewhere on the POCO side. Bonding elsewhere on the consumer side is, in almost all cases, a Code violation.
    I will have achieved my life's goal if I die with a smile on my face.

  10. #10
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    I believe you can bond neutral to ground at following location
    1. Service conductors
    2. Meter panel
    3. At the service disconnect

    Mike has Video on this on YT.

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