Disconnect at the exterior

I am not sure where I got the idea that there is supposed to be a means of disconnecting the electrical service at the exterior, but I can not find anything to verify this.
Most of the panels are located at the exterior of the houses around here, so it is typicallly not an issue.
I thought the fire department wanted to be able to disconnect the electricity at the exterior.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.

No requirement for an exterior disconnect.

There is a requirement for a disconnect in the service entrance panel (no matter where it is located) unless 6 or less breakers are there (you don’t need a main breaker if 6 or less hand movements can turn off all the power).

I almost never see a disconnect outside as that means someone like kids could be shutting you off at night.

Department can do what many do to work on the inside ,which is pull the meter head.

Many of our newer homes and multi family developments have the disconnect on the exterior.

i.e. this picture shows the exact situation for a 4 unit townhome.

Must admit I do not understand why someone would want to have to go outset to reset the thing.

One of the primary reason for the disconnect is because the panel inside is too far from the exterior. The NEC requires the length of unfused cable or conductors to be kept as short as practical. A distance is not clearly spelled out. It is up the the AHJ. Some areas only allow 5-6 feet of cable before the panel.

FD SOPS probably vary, but pulling a meter under load can be deadly. Safer to wait for the POCO to cut the feed at the ople or transformer.

We see them everywhere here because is a requirement of the AHJ (in the city at least). They cite fire department requirements as mentioned above. Note also that pulling the meter under load can be hazardous and for larger services, the meter may be reading only a set of CTs and PTs so will not disconnect the service conductors.

Thanks for the replies. I don’t know where I got the idea that it is required, but when I tried to double check in my code books I couldn’t find anything. I’ll have to double check with the AHJ (or a local electrician) to see if it could be a local thing.

That’s where I see them most.

Yes, but Single Family homes have them too.

As a matter of fact, my house has the SE disconnect outside, below the meter.

Firstly, I get this asked alot on the “ROAD” and as Jim so nicely stated, the real concern is the amount of “unprotected” conductor that canbe run on the inside of the building 230.70(A)(1)]. Also since the nature of the “condo” experience is that you have individual units that get panels and since as stated earlier you can’t meet the minimum safety standards on a conductor running wildly through the building with no protection. So they install a grouped set of disconnection means outside and then conductors on the load side of the disconnect are now feeders and they can be run through the building since they have protection on them.

Now I wont go into groupings and allowances on exterior run SE conductors if all outside and so on…just remember the above and you should be fine. Also remember that in some local jurisdictions they have a standard policy on the point of entry of service conductors where they say they are aware it can be outside or inside the nearest point but we want it outside, their rules their requirements are required to be followed in a given locality. Many take the following standard in many ways:

**230.70 General. **Means shall be provided to disconnect all
conductors in a building or other structure from the service entrance

**(A) Location. **The service disconnecting means shall be
installed in accordance with 230.70(A)(1), (A)(2), and

**(1) Readily Accessible Location. **The service disconnecting
means shall be installed at a readily accessible location
either outside of a building or structure or inside nearest the
point of entrance of the service conductors.