2020 NEC Continues the Tradition of Electrical Safety

2020 NEC Continues the Tradition of Electrical Safety

This piece was originally published in the May/June 2019 issue of electroindustry.

Don Iverson, Midwest Field Representative, NEMA

Late in the 19th century, America experienced a surge in technological inventions. Unfortunately, there also was a lack of standardization and safety for those innovations. In 1897, a group of like-minded people worked together to form an electrical safety Standard to address the expansion of electrical products. The result—the National Electrical Code® (NEC)—is now on its 55th edition.

Today, the electrical industry has seen another technological wave in the NEC. With that kind of expansion, Standards and codes must address potential electrical hazards.

The 2020 NEC process began in January, and revisions include plenty of public input and committee work. The results are that the electrical code is revealing how it will look as we approach the final steps. Here are some of the highlights from the process:

GROUND-FAULT PROTECTION

The change in 210.8(A) will require that all 125-volt through 250-volt receptacles use GFCI protection. The code panel also removed the 15- and 20-ampere limitations in previous editions to expand the requirement. This would require that manufacturers protect electric dryers and ranges.

SURGE PROTECTION

The modification of 230.67 will require a surge protective device (SPD) in all dwellings. The location of the SPD shall be an integral part of the service equipment or located immediately adjacent to it.

EMERGENCY DISCONNECTS FOR DWELLING UNITS

Code 230.85 will require an emergency disconnect at a readily accessible location outdoors at dwelling units. This new requirement addresses concerns from the fire prevention community for the safety of their first responders. ei

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