In the service panel, is a separate 6ga. wire required to be run from the panel to the meter or ground rod or is the neutral conductor from the meter can to the panel sufficient as a ground when the meter is connected to the ground rod?
I am not a licensed electrician but my bet is that the panel requires a seperate dedicated ground and not reliant on the service ground.
Good question but the challenge in understanding how it works is the understanding the correct terminology. The word “ground” alone doesn’t tell us much. In a service you would have a grounded conductor or neutral, a main bonding jumper which connects the neutral to the metal parts of the service enclosure and a grounding electrode conductor (GEC) which connects the neutral to the grounding electrode system (GES).
On the line side of the service disconnect, meaning the part of the system that’s before the service panel main OCPD all of the metal parts are bonded to the neutral conductor. That includes the metallic service raceways, the meter enclosure and the metallic service enclosure. Because of this between the meter and the service you would not have a separate EGC. In fact you wouldn’t want a separate EGC run with the service entrance conductors from the meter enclosure to the service panel because it would be in parallel with the neutral.
Robert, thank you for elaborating on this. Is it better practice for the GEC to be bonded at the meter box or the service panel main OCPD? The GEC from the GES is bonded at the service panel in most panels that I see. On a home inspection yesterday, I could not observe that the GEC was bonded to the neutral in the meter box because the box has a seal on it. The neutral conductor was bonded to the ground and neutral buses though in the service panel.
Many utilities do not allow the ground to be in the meter socket.
The NEC requires that the connection point of the GEC to the neutral must be accessible and given that many utilities lock their meter enclosures this can create a problem. As Jim stated many utilities outright do not allow the connection in the meter enclosure so the connection is made elsewhere, around here we have that prohibition so 99% of the time it’s connected in the service panel or service disconnect.
The NEC allows the connection to be anywhere from the service point to the location of the service disconnect which would include the meter enclosure if the connection were accessible after installation and permitted by the POCO. Personally I like the ides of coming out of the meter enclosure and going straight down to the ground rods.