Main service disonnect question

Came across this this morning and I am not sure how to report it mostly because I have not encountered it before.

The meter is a fairly recent installation. The panel below has no main disconnect within the panel, and the dual pole 50 Amp breaker above is labelled as the main disconnect and the connections are set up as such (from the meter, to the 50A, to the main lugs in the panel.

a) Is this set up kosher? I cannot immediately find any reason it would not be, but I also do not know the NEC inside and out.

b) Is the 50A breaker large enough? It doesn’t seem to be, but I am also looking for some source to cite to support that assessment.


Really can’t tell much from that picture, but the visible breaker does not appear to be a service disconnect as the feed comes from the panel on the left.

The entire set-up looks pretty Mickey Mouse.


Panelboards inside of cabinets that are mounted sideways present a defect related to the “ON” and “OFF” position where one row will be incorrect.

Suggest that this looks like a “bootlegged” job by someone who was unaware of the correct methods for this type of installation.

When a Meter Socket Enclosure is used like this one was, it too is required to be inspected, from the looks of this an inspection probably didn’t take place.

Thanks guys. The visible breaker is labeled as a main service disconnect, and is fed from a socket that connects directly to the side of the box surrounding the meter (hard to see). The feed I think you are referring to Jeff, is what I saw as the connection to the main lugs in the panel.

Evaluation was recommended.

Thank you both!

Actually it’s okay to have a separate main disconnect switch and distribution panel. But the main disconnect would need to be rated for service equipment, which appears to be questionable. Needs to be looked at more closely to see if it’s rated for that.

The 50A service capacity is probably totally inadequate for anything other than a small seasonal bungalow. An electrical service for a smaller house should be at least 100A (which is also the minimum service required by IRC E3502.1 or NEC 230.79.C for all houses). For larger homes or those with significant electrical equipment (e.g. stoves, dryers, HVAC systems) it should be 150A to 200A.

An electrical professional can perform a service capacity calculation to check if the service is inadequate (e.g. using NEC 220.31), but it may be a no-brainer depending on the type of house and typical electrical equipment.

P.S. Is that photo of the service equipment sideways? If not JT has a good point about the likelyhood of the panel breakers on one side (e.g. the top row) incorrectly having up as the “off” position.

JMO and 2-nickels … :wink:

I’m thinking the picture needs to be rotated because of the words “below” and “above” stated.