AHJ war on line-side taps, solutions?

We have two AHJ's in our area that are "shutting down" line-side taps in non-solar-ready service panels.

We do allow line side taps installed within CA Electric Code compliance. In this instance, it is unknown if the electrical equipment manufacturer or listing agency allows the use of the specific piercing tap connectors or Polaris within the panel enclosure without voiding the original listing. I did not see any indication on the panel label/specs stating such. The request was to obtain written verification from the manufacturer or listing agency or equal.
This requirement of let's say "Eaton" to give us a letter stating we can tap inside a panel, Eaton won't write a letter.

This looks like they are saying we can do a tap, only on "Solar Ready", without putting that in writing.

I understand there are "Solar Ready" panels that can handle up to 70A, but we have an approved permit with the tap listed and are trying to connect 95A.

After the fact, the inspector is giving us this requirement. He is citing:

We do allow line side taps installed within CA Electric Code compliance.

Cited reference:
2016 CA Electric Code Article 110.3(B)
How are we going to tap 95A to a 200A Eaton panel and still make this work under 110.3(B)?

or are we stuck with increasing load side panel to reach the 120% rule?

Thoughts on this?

Michael
 

jaggedben

Senior Member
If you're talking about tapping factory installed conductors in a meter main then I completely agree with the AHJ.

If you're talking about tapping field installed wires between a separate meter and a service panel, then I can see the AHJ's point if you are doing the tap inside the panel. Although I've done it numerous times, and I think that's really persnickety of them, I don't know what to say to it.

If you can add a junction box between the meter and the main panel in order to do your tap then in my opinion the AHJ would have nothing at all to say against that.
 

jim dungar

Moderator
Staff member
The OP statement from the AHJ appears to be in regards to the connection method not the current rating of the bussing.

The use of field installed conductor taps and splices is beyond the scope of the manufacturers equipment listing. I would be surprised if you got anything, from one, except a reference to NEC fill requirements.
 

pv_n00b

Senior Member
Yes, those are the conductors, but in the customer section of the panel.
Well then, the AHJ is right, can't tap those since they are part of the panel assembly. Meter mains have always been a problem because of this. This is not a solar-ready panel issue. If the meter was separate from the distribution panel you could tap the field installed conductors connecting them together. Usually in the distribution section but if the AHJ complained you could just add a tap box.
 

tortuga

Senior Member
Yes, those are the conductors, but in the customer section of the panel.
Can you use a separate meter and panel set up? Thats your most economical option. Then I think your fine. Or you can get that panel field evaluated / labeled, wich last time I did that it cost around 4k. It was for switchgear though.
http://ladbs.org/docs/default-source/publications/misc-publications/list-of-recognized-electrical-testing-laboratories-for-field-testing-of-electrical-equipment.pdf
 

electrofelon

Senior Member
There is no issue using a separate J-box to make the tap, if that is what you are proposing. Another way to do it is use a class 320 meter socket as it has two sets of load lugs (or the option of). The class 320 is probably a bit more expensive than a J-box or wireway, but is a clean way to do it.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
There is no issue using a separate J-box to make the tap, if that is what you are proposing. Another way to do it is use a class 320 meter socket as it has two sets of load lugs (or the option of). The class 320 is probably a bit more expensive than a J-box or wireway, but is a clean way to do it.
This is the way I like to see them done on our system.
 

Carultch

Senior Member
There is no issue using a separate J-box to make the tap, if that is what you are proposing. Another way to do it is use a class 320 meter socket as it has two sets of load lugs (or the option of). The class 320 is probably a bit more expensive than a J-box or wireway, but is a clean way to do it.
The issue you often encounter, is when you use 3rd party connectors inside the service meter socket. Such as insulation piercing connectors, insulated tap connectors (e.g. Polaris), or split bolts. Utilities often do not allow this, as they don't want to take responsibility for Polaris's/Burndy's connector inside a socket dedicated to their metering. The same reasoning also applies, if factory-installed wiring is part of a meter/main combination product, as shown in Post #4.

Therefore, unless you know policy information to the contrary, plan on a separate enclosure for making any taps with a 3rd party connector. Dedicate the service meter socket only to what the socket-maker manufactures, your wire, your raceway termination fittings, and the meter globe. The same concept also applies, if it is a CT cabinet for utility metering.

Given that 320A meter bases are already compatible with brand-specific 2-wire lugs by the product listing, making your connection here, is much more likely to be allowed. Not guaranteed, but much more likely. Either the meter socket is built with the lug installed, or built with a mounting stud to attach your choice of lug from the socket manufacturer. From the utility's point of view, it should be no different than having two separate 200A service disconnects, each fed from the same 320A meter base.
 
The issue you often encounter, is when you use 3rd party connectors inside the service meter socket. Such as insulation piercing connectors, insulated tap connectors (e.g. Polaris), or split bolts. Utilities often do not allow this, as they don't want to take responsibility for Polaris's/Burndy's connector inside a socket dedicated to their metering. The same reasoning also applies, if factory-installed wiring is part of a meter/main combination product, as shown in Post #4.

Therefore, unless you know policy information to the contrary, plan on a separate enclosure for making any taps with a 3rd party connector. Dedicate the service meter socket only to what the socket-maker manufactures, your wire, your raceway termination fittings, and the meter globe. The same concept also applies, if it is a CT cabinet for utility metering.

Given that 320A meter bases are already compatible with brand-specific 2-wire lugs by the product listing, making your connection here, is much more likely to be allowed. Not guaranteed, but much more likely. Either the meter socket is built with the lug installed, or built with a mounting stud to attach your choice of lug from the socket manufacturer. From the utility's point of view, it should be no different than having two separate 200A service disconnects, each fed from the same 320A meter base.
Thanks,

An AHJ inspector noted that those lug connections are inside the utility side, so no go.
 

jaggedben

Senior Member
I don't.....can U elaborate?

~RJ~
A 'solar ready' residential meter main usually has a busbar rating higher than the main breaker, or sometimes an extra service disconnect intended for the PV. This allows higher PV backfeeds and/or avoids contentious nitpicking on code rules. (Also they are not centerfed, although that's now pretty moot.) I think most common is a 200A main breaker and 225A busbar. The higher rated busbar allows for 70A of backfeed instead of 40A with the same 200A main breaker.
 

mmaulik

Member
Meter/Main panels are almost impossible to do line side taps in. If you have a seperate Meter base and panel you can buy (if it is a milbank meter base) tap lugs for the bottom of the meter. You slide the set screw part out and replace it with one that is made to tap up to 100 amp. But beware.. Milbank makes TWO.. one is UL listed, one is NON UL listed
 

electrofelon

Senior Member
Thanks,

An AHJ inspector noted that those lug connections are inside the utility side, so no go.
Yeah, we see the same thing - no PV connections in their boxes.
In theory it shouldnt matter whether we are talking PV or not. I see no reason why a PV "line side tap" should be treated any differently than second set of conductors and service disconnect installed per 230.40 exceptions #2 or #3, since it is the same thing in many cases. Basically I am saying the same thing as Carultch said in post #11 - I think its more about "third party" connectors or "field made" connections. Basically utilities typically want things very uniform and consistent. I had an installation get nixed by a POCO inspector once for using a myers hub on meter socket. They wanted the factory KO used. But of course there are POCOs out there who have a non logical prohibition against supply side connections, and in these cases I have always been curious if you could call it a load side connection to one set of service conductors installed per 230.40 exception #2 and if they would let that go.
 

romex jockey

Senior Member
Meter/Main panels are almost impossible to do line side taps in. If you have a seperate Meter base and panel you can buy (if it is a milbank meter base) tap lugs for the bottom of the meter. You slide the set screw part out and replace it with one that is made to tap up to 100 amp. But beware.. Milbank makes TWO.. one is UL listed, one is NON UL listed
these....? :unsure:


~RJ~
 

ggunn

PE (Electrical), NABCEP certified
In theory it shouldnt matter whether we are talking PV or not. I see no reason why a PV "line side tap" should be treated any differently than second set of conductors and service disconnect installed per 230.40 exceptions #2 or #3, since it is the same thing in many cases.
No argument; PV is what I do and what I am familiar with. I did not mean to imply that it was somehow different than a load connection.
 
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