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Inspector Perspective – May 2021

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Q: Explanation of the new language 230.71b 2020 NEC VS 2017


2017 Code Language:

230.71 Maximum Number of Disconnects.

(A) General. The service disconnecting means for each service permitted by 230.2, or for each set of service-entrance conductors permitted by 230.40, Exception No. 1, 3, 4, or 5, shall consist of not more than six switches or sets of circuit breakers, or a combination of not more than six switches and sets of circuit breakers, mounted in a single enclosure, in a group of separate enclosures, or in or on a switchboard or in switchgear. There shall be not more than six sets of disconnects per service grouped in any one location.

For the purpose of this section, disconnecting means installed as part of listed equipment and used solely for the following shall not be considered a service disconnecting means:

(1) Power monitoring equipment

(2) Surge-protective device(s)

(3) Control circuit of the ground-fault protection system

(4) Power-operable service disconnecting means

(B) Single-Pole Units. Two or three single-pole switches or breakers, capable of individual operation, shall be permitted on multiwire circuits, one pole for each ungrounded conductor, as one multipole disconnect, provided they are equipped with identified handle ties or a master handle to disconnect all conductors of the service with no more than six operations of the hand.

Informational Note: See 408.36, Exception No. 1 and Exception No. 3, for service equipment in certain panelboards, and see 430.95 for service equipment in motor control centers.

2020 Code Language:

230.71 Maximum Number of Disconnects. Each service shall have only one disconnecting means unless the requirements of 230.71(B) are met.

230.71(A) General. For the purpose of this section, disconnecting means installed as part of listed equipment and used solely for the following shall not be considered a service disconnecting means:

(1) Power monitoring equipment

(2) Surge-protective device(s)

(3) Control circuit of the ground-fault protection system

(4) Power-operable service disconnecting means

230.71(B) Two to Six Service Disconnecting Means. Two to six service disconnects shall be permitted for each service permitted by 230.2 or for each set of service-entrance conductors permitted by 230.40, Exception No. 1, 3, 4, or 5. The two to six service disconnecting means shall be permitted to consist of a combination of any of the following:

(1) Separate enclosures with a main service disconnecting means in each enclosure

(2) Panelboards with a main service disconnecting means in each panelboard enclosure

(3) Switchboard(s) where there is only one service disconnect in each separate vertical section where there are barriers separating each vertical section

(4) Service disconnects in switchgear or metering centers where each disconnect is located in a separate compartment

Informational Note No. 1: Metering centers are addressed in UL 67, Standard for Panelboards.

Informational Note No. 2: Examples of separate enclosures with a main service disconnecting means in each enclosure include but are not limited to motor control centers, fused disconnects, circuit breaker enclosures, and transfer switches that are suitable for use as service equipment.

A: Grandfather for existing installations– For new service installations only. 

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