Review is underway for the next significant update to the National Electrical Code (NEC), and surge protection is a key part of the code.
NEC is one of the most significant sets of rules and requirements for network engineers and equipment installers, providing key standards for safety. The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) issued the most recent set of standards in 2017, and the 2020 update is a long-term process that currently is in the review stage.
Regarding surge protection specifically, a handful of revisions altered the first draft of 2020 NEC, leading to its current iteration. A new section (Section 230.67) requires a certified/listed Type 1 or Type 2 SPD for all services for dwelling units—located within or immediately adjacent to the service equipment.
This requirement recognizes the growing need for reliable surge protection to safeguard sensitive, mission-critical electronic equipment, minimizing the potential for damage and downtime—as well as the greater exposure to surges, transients and other power threats inherent to today’s distributed power architectures.
Structurally, rules for surge arrestors and SPDs now appear in Article 242 of 2020 NEC, titled “Overvoltage Protection,” combined from Articles 280 and 285 of 2017 NEC.
Status and Schedule
NFPA posted the second draft of 2020 NEC in early April, with public input and comment slated to conclude in May. The NFPA Technical Meeting, held at the NFPA Conference and Expo in San Antonio June 17-20, provides a final opportunity for discussion. NFPA will issue 2020 NEC in August.
Other areas covered in 2020 NEC include power over Ethernet, solar installations, electrical vehicle charging, and much more.