2 Service panels?

Inspected a home yesterday. Built 1968. There were 2 service panels by the meter. Each separately fed other distribution panels both outside and inside the house. They were fed from a gutter above the panels.

Can you have 2 service panels?


Was each service fed by it’s own meter?

no. single family home. single service drop to single meter. each service panel fed to distribution panels.

each service panel fed two distribution panels.

As long as the services are grouped it sounds fine if within load capacity.


So you have one service and multiple service disconnects which is permitted up to 6.

Thats the way I am understanding it.
Does each service panel get its own grounding electrode system?
Does each panel get bonded separately?
What if the wiring has been accidently connected together inside the house? There has been wiring added in the house (built 1968). I discovered new work boxes and NM cable while looking for a bonding conductor in the original armored cable.

Same question as posted in emergency forum by this person.

I posted originally in the electrical forum. Then realized I might not get an answer quickly enough so I posed the question in the emergency forum. I need to finish a report.
So now I have two conversations going on. In the electrical forum I am still discussing one service supplying 2 separate service panels.
In the emergency forum, I was told that I may have a problem with the conductors feeding the panels being spliced in the gutter above them. So I am continuing that discussion. Sorry for the confusion. I hope I haven’t breached etiquette.


Thank you. I understand I could have up to six panels in that case.

If the GEC is run to the wireway then that connection is all that you need. The GEC can be connected anywhere from the service point to the service disconnecting means.

Having said that there are many visible violations in your photo from multiple double taps, and missing bushing to what appears to be NM cable in a raceway in a wet location.

It is common to have splices or taps in a gutter.

Thank you. I found numerous (about 25) problems in the panels, including the ones you mention. When you say bushings, I presume you mean grounding bushings at the entrance to each panel?

Thank you. I appreciate your corroboration.

There was no GEC. There was no grounding electrode system.

BTW, you say you could run the GEC to the wireway. What exactly are you calling the wireway?Don’t you have to bond the GEC to the grounded conductor?

Did you open the wireway/gutter to see if the GEC was run there? I see a small conduit (looks like 1/2" EMT) in the upper right of the photo.

The neutral (or grounded conductor) must be bonded in each service disconnect, I can’t tell from your photo whether or not it’s bonded in each location.

Also raceways that contain conductors #4 and larger require insulating bushings.


I did look in the gutter. I did not see a GEC.
The service neutral in each service panel was not bonded to anything, as far as I could tell. There was no jumper. There was no GEC. There was no EGC that I could find (armored cable without an apparent bonding conductor).

But there must have been some kind of bond. The cheapo receptacle tester showed almost all the receptacles were grounded.

There were neutrals connected to grounding conductors of added (newer NM) circuits in one interior distribution panel and in one exterior distribution panel. The 3 wire 240-volt circuits at that distribution panel had their 3rd wire bonded to the neutral. And the enclosures were bonded to the neutral at both interior panels.

Trying to understand this setup has really challenged my electrical inspection skill. Thank you for taking time to post.

That is why your tester showed that the receptacles were grounded because they are, just not correctly. The service disconnects are at the gutter and the interior panels are sub-panels and must have the EGC’s and neutrals separated unless they’re in separate structures and meet some other conditions.




I understand that. I wrote up the lack of separation at the distribution panels. I also wrote up the lack of a low impedence EGC because the armored cable lacked an interior bonding strip and advised that the buyer has a 2 wire system that is not grounded, and should either go bacck to 2-prong receptacles, employ GFCI protection, or add new grounded circuits where needed (desired).

I’m still wondering about the 2 service panels. They are connected together mechanically via the metal enclosure to the gutter, etc. The service neutrals are connected via the splice in the gutter. Would you choose one of the 2 fuse panels to be the “Service” panel, and add the grounding electrode system to it and do all your bonding in that panel? Would the other fuse panel then become a distribution panel? Or would each fuse panel have to have its own grounding electrode system and bonding? At this point the service neutrals are not bonded to a GEC or either of the fuse panels or the gutter, and there is no apparent electrode. I hope I am making myself clear here.