Electrical panels question

Hey guys, I’m at a loss here.

We are inspecting a 5000 sqf house that apparently has 3 service equipments. However, I have 4 wires coming from the meter on the left panel, then 5 on panels 2 and 3.
The neutrals and grounds are bonded to each other and their metal enclosures as if these are service equipments panels and not subs.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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Based on the looks you have 3 200 amp service panels. None are wired from the others. The trough outside feeds into each panel.

Panels #2 &#3 have an extra single conductor that’s likely a GEC. There likely should only be three conductors between the wireway and the panels with the exception of the GEC.

Looks similar to the one I had a couple weeks ago. An electrician went out for me and its three 200 amp services… First time I had seen this as well

Is it possible that the purpose of the “extra” conductor is to bond the GEC system?

Each panel needs to be bonded to the GEC. You may have one conductor in and out of panels 1 & 2 and ending at 3.

The 3 panels combined make up “the service equipment.” Bonding of the egc’s and neutrals at each panel is required at “the service equipment.” None of these would be considered a “sub panel.”

Your “service disconnect” consists of three breakers/switches - one in each panel.


I have a 5,000 sq ft house and we only have 200 amp service. Why split it into 3 panels with three different disconnects? Why not one 320 amp panel? Or even 400 amp?

Cost is one reason. Two hundred amp panels are cheap, especially compared to a 400. Also they might have only needed breaker space, not ampacity.

also easier to sub meter or split down the line.

UGH…the dreaded “lets run all the NM Cables in one raceway” disease…

What we do know is that it is (3) 200A Service Enclosures with Service Disconnection Means. Since this is a residence we are to assume (since we are assuming a lot already) that it should be 120/240 volt, Single Phase System. Anything else regarding the looping of a bonding conductor or what have you is speculation…not enough images of the RIGHT locations for me to comment otherwise.

If the final picture shows the GEC going out to the Electrode…I would have said do that in the common location outside (wireway) and utilize the “grounded” conductor for your bonding but again we can only speculate on what is behind the “Closed Door”…

And if we assume that is the GEC leaving the enclosures…then they is it running from pane to panel…?..is it in a metal raceway and is the GEC connected at both ends to the raceway per 250.64(E)…again speculation.

Quote on what you know and see…I can’t speculate on what I can’t see are my suggestions.

Thanks guys for the input!

Anything is pssoible but as Paul said without further information it’s just guess. Typcially all metal on the line side of the service disconnect is bonded to the system neutral so you would end up with only three conductors (Line-Neutral-Line) from the meter to the panel (think SEU cable). Since this is a raceway system it is possible that they also ran a GEC in the raceway but that would be a fourth conductor, since two of these raceways contain five conductors something seems odd.

Robert, email me fastreply@nachi.org please. I need your shipping address.