NEC in the Facility

Commonly misunderstood/misapplied terms, part 9

Commonly misunderstood/misapplied terms, part 9.

  • Service point. This isn't the service entrance but upstream of it. This is the point where utility wiring connects to premises wiring.
  • Service drop. The word "drop" is a good clue this pertains to overhead conductors. These conductors are between the utility supply and the service point. This term doesn't refer to underground conductors serving a similar function.
  • Service lateral. This is the underground equivalent of the service drop. These conductors run underground from the utility supply to the service point.
  • Service entrance conductors. These differ from "service conductors" and, like those, are overhead or underground (with that designation appended as appropriate). The overhead ones run from the service drop (or overhead service conductors) to the supply-side terminals of the service equipment. The underground ones also run to the terminals of the service equipment but connect to the service lateral.
  • Service equipment. Often erroneously referred to as the "service entrance" due to its location, this is the equipment immediately on the load side of the service conductors. It consists of panels, breakers, fuses, switches, and related accessories.
The supply-side sequence can be defined as follows: utility wiring, drop/lateral, service point, service conductors, service entrance conductors, service entrance, and service equipment. The service equipment then supplies power to load-side equipment.
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