Electrocution lawyer discusses the important differences between the NEC and NESC
Both the National Electrical Code and the National Electrical Safety Code were created to promote electrical safety and protect the public as well as the specialists that ensure we have the power we need to run our homes and businesses.
But the NEC and NESC codes are different and serve different purposes. The former deals with electrical systems within homes and business whereas the latter focuses on large electrical power systems that supply power to those homes and businesses.
An easy, rule-of-thumb way to think about how the NEC and NESC work together is that the National Electric Safety Code covers the electrical system and utility wiring that supplies power to the “service point” in a building (e.g., usually considered to be the building’s utility meter) and the National Electrical Code covers the electrical wiring that starts at the service point and continues within and throughout the building.
Below I will discuss in greater detail the differences between the NEC and NESC.
What is the National Electrical Code (NEC)?
The National Electrical Code (NEC) is a set of safety rules that applies to the installation and maintenance of electrical wiring systems within people’s homes and within businesses and commercial buildings. It addresses issues that include wiring, protection, methods, material, equipment and special considerations for “special occupancies.”
What does the National Electrical Code do?
Drafted and published by the National Fire Protection Association, it promotes electrical safety “best practices” for electricians, craftsmen and the public when handling and/or coming into contact with nonutility electrical equipment such as in-building electrical wiring. As the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers has described it, the National Electrical Code applies to “essentially the ‘load’ side of the end-to-end electrical infrastructure.”
Is the National Electrical Code legally binding?
The National Electric Code is not a federal- or state-enacted law per se, but it is typically adopted by states and municipalities. Once adopted, these safety standards are enforced by local building inspectors and electrical inspectors. Additionally, an electrical apprenticeship involves many years of learning these electrical safety rules before an electrician can earn his or her license.
What is the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC)?
The National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) is a U.S. safety standard for the proper and safe installation, operation and maintenance of electric power utilities, their substations and power lines (both overhead and underground lines). It is intended to protect both utility workers and the public.
What does the National Electrical Safety Code do?
Drafted and published by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), they set minimum safety standards for power companies and electric utility companies (both public and private), governing such issues as when utilities must inspect their power lines, how those power lines are maintained and when utilities need to trim trees near power lines to prevent downed power lines from causing electrocution or electric shock injuries.
Is the National Electrical Safety Code legally binding?
The National Electrical Safety Code is a voluntary standard, but it is frequently adopted as law by state legislatures, municipalities, and public utility commissions.
In those instances where it has been adopted as law, failure of a utility to comply with the National Electrical Safety Code can result in a finding of negligence as a matter of law where the utility’s noncompliance caused an accident resulting in electrocution or serious electric shock injury.
Compliance with the National Electrical Safety Code is generally regulated by a governmental authority such as a state public service commission or public utility commission.