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In the year 2020


Sawhorse 123
Oct 19, 2009
There should be a song along those lines??



Article 230.85 of the 2020 NEC which was effective in late August, 2019 requires an emergency disconnect for all 1 and 2 family dwelling units. Below is a discussion of this new rule:

The 2020 change:
Language now exists in Article 230.85 for emergency disconnects on the exterior of one- and two-family dwelling units so that first responders may quickly disconnect power to a structure. Language in Article 445.18 also addresses emergency generator shutdown.
The rationale for change:
Aside from fire dangers, first responders often must account for electrical hazards during emergencies. Fires are chaotic, with firefighters rushing to ventilate buildings on rooftops, breaking through windows and opening walls in seconds. With that, there’s a real danger of coming in contact with energized conductors and equipment.
Typically, first responders look to turn the power off before entering a blaze, but many homes’ panelboards are in basements. Terminating power at the transformer, which could be atop a pole, is not something any untrained person should attempt. This change mandates placing emergency disconnects near the service entrance equipment outside of a structure.
What might the future hold?
Concerns were raised during requirement debates that safety disconnects allow anyone to terminate the power to a home. The NEC’s response was to allow the installation of disconnect locks to thwart unauthorized power access. While the locks will not impede firefighters or other first responders and may provide a level of comfort to the homeowner, contractors will still have to explain the expense of safety disconnects, especially in locations where it’s not common practice to add outdoor service panelboards. When bidding on new jobs, technicians should stress the importance of safety to justify costs to consumers.


Jul 23, 2011
Louisville Kentucky
While I understand the purpose of this for 1st responder safety it brings up some interesting questions. With the disconnect just disconnect the residence from the grid or will it also disconnect power from a backup generator and/or solar panels? I can see the disconnect ice getting very involved and expensive if it has to disconnect all sources.


Oct 16, 2009
Palm Beach County Florida
As far as the concern of having the main disconnect outside the home, accessible to anyone to shut power down, I see no issue at all. I would say that 95% of the millions of homes in south Florida are set up like this with combo packs on the outside and the main panel set up as a sub somewhere in the house or garage. When it comes to the generator, more than likely the ATS is service rated and is the service disconnect anyway, if not, the service equipment should be labeled and a disconnect should be obvious.


Oct 17, 2009
Northern CO
We have had an amendment for many years that required a disco on the exterior, when we adopt the 2020 this summer, we can now get rid of the amendment.