My water heater main electrical on/off switch is inside the rear panel to the heater and can be easily reached by removing the outside vent panel. However, we never turn it off. If we wanted to turn it off [electricly] we would use the breaker in the main breaker box in the hallway. No need to turn off the switch outside.
The gas switch is in the bathroom and easy to flip on/off to use either as a primary source of heat, or to assist the electrical elements.
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