IEC Updates Standards and Procedures

IEC Updates Standards and Procedures

This piece was originally published in the June 2017 issue of electroindustry.

Ken Gettman, Director, International Standards, NEMA

Recent revisions to the International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) directives include procedural changes for project management. Notably, the time allotted for different stages of standards development has been shortened. Approval majorities and translations also are being addressed. The IEC implemented a means for individuals to submit comments during the development and maintenance of the standards, with the intention of involving additional stakeholders, but relatively few comments were submitted.

The IEC and CENELEC (the European Union’s body for electrotechnical standardization) implemented an updated agreement that does not affect NEMA membership. Meanwhile, the IEC suspended participation by Libya, based on non-payment of dues. It also expanded involvement with the Gulf Standards Organization and South Asia Regional Standards Organization.

Emphasis and activities for systems including low-voltage direct current (LVDC), smart cities, non-conventional distribution networks and microgrids, and cybersecurity continues to grow.

The Advisory Committee on Safety’s designation of group safety function in IEC 62477-1 Safety requirements for power electronic converter systems and equipment makes this document the base standard for products such as uninterruptible power sources, adjustable-speed drives, and renewable energy systems. Others may be added to the list of devices that should use it as a reference. This essentially supersedes the work done by the product committee, although permission is given to incorporate specific details unique to the product.

IEC Systems Evaluation Group 4 established a low-voltage direct current (LVDC) systems committee to coordinate standardization within the IEC. It appears that the driving forces behind these efforts are users in countries and regions without reliable or existing electrical grid infrastructure, as well as some international suppliers. One of the key steps in the roadmap for LVDC expansion is standardization for and market availability of protective devices, such as direct current residual circuit devices (called ground-fault circuit interrupters in the United States).

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