Utility Disconnect above flood level

I have a situation where we installed a fused disconnect next to a meter location where we intended to do a line side tap. We found out that the meter is below flood level (allowed by variance). However, our utility disconnect cannot be below the flood level. The flood level is 7 feet above the ground surface, which would put the utility disconnect higher than allowed by NEC 404.8. The utility company requires that the utility PV disconnect be co-located with this meter location, and it is certainly more convenient for us.

In other words, we are between a rock and a hard place.

Anyone have a solution?


  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Utility Disconnect above flood level

    Mount the switch up high, with a pull rope/lever on it, like the power co disconnects on a power pole?
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
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  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Utility Disconnect above flood level

    if they allowed a variance for the meter they should allow a variance for the disconnect. under what reason was the variance for the meter allowed? submit for variance under the same reason and also site their variance for the meter makes it impossible for you to comply with the disconnect requirements without extending the variance to include the disconnect.
  • newenergy
    newenergy Solar Expert Posts: 291 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Utility Disconnect above flood level

    If they are reasonable Niel is right. If the flood covers up the meter, it won't matter whether it covers the disconnect or not.
  • Photowhit
    Photowhit Solar Expert Posts: 6,002 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Utility Disconnect above flood level

    Expecting common sense? Scary!

    George Casson a friend in Tallahasse, wanted to placed a simple sign for his cottage business of doing picture framing, little 2' square hardly see it from the road. but he was in a residentail area and was asked to take it down, only a small sign on the door was allowed.

    The nicely jigsawed finger he cut out of a 4x8 sheet of plywood was sculpture and hence protected, also easily seen from the road. George has passed now but we need that spirit!
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • GreenerPower
    GreenerPower Solar Expert Posts: 264 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Utility Disconnect above flood level

    If could not swing a variance for the disconnect, I would use an extender like Mike suggested or build a small "service" platform, say 4' up, to meet the NEC height requirement or the inverter mounted closeby perhaps to meet the exception.
  • tallgirl
    tallgirl Solar Expert Posts: 413 ✭✭
    Re: Utility Disconnect above flood level

    I'd use a shunt trip breaker as an automated main service disconnect, then do whatever was easiest to get past the inspectors. Use a sump-pump switch in a piece of PVC to activate the breaker. See if the AHJ will approve that.

    The amount of post-flood damage I saw while gutting buildings in New Orleans was amazing. People left their power on when they evacuated -- had there been a means to disconnect power when the water reached the slab, a fair amount of electricity-related damage could have been avoided.

    There had been a FEMA document which =required= the main service disconnect be above the flood plain. I went looking for it a while ago and could no longer find it. I think the theory is that in the event of flooding, someone still might want to operate the disconnect -- part of the problem with repowering parts of New Orleans was the number of trashed services that were still "on".

    So, I'm on the side of "don't get a variance, just build a 4' or so deck with steps so the disconnect meets code."