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April 9, 2009 A Penton Media Publication Vol. VII No. 7

Article 708 Critical Operations Power Systems

What's Wrong Here?

Code Q&A

Code Quiz

Code Committee Call-Up

Enroll In EC&M University's Online Arc Flash Courses


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    Top 2008 Code Changes
    Article 708 Critical Operations Power Systems
    By Mike Holt
    A new article addressing Critical Operations Power Systems was added to the 2008 NEC. The provisions of this article apply to the installation, operation, monitoring, control, and maintenance of premises wiring intended to supply, distribute, and control electricity to designated critical operations areas in the event of disruption to elements of the normal system.

    Critical operations power systems are those systems so classed by municipal, state, federal, or other codes, by any governmental agency having jurisdiction (AHJ), or by facility engineering documentation establishing the necessity for such a system. These systems include, but are not limited to, power systems, HVAC, fire alarms, security, communications, and signaling for designated critical operations areas.

    Critical operations power systems are generally installed in vital infrastructure facilities that, if destroyed or incapacitated, will disrupt national security, the economy, public health or safety; and where enhanced electrical infrastructure for continuity of operation is deemed necessary by governmental authority.

    Threats to facilities that may require transfer of operation to the critical systems include both naturally occurring hazards and human-caused events.

    Recent terrorist events and natural disasters, such the World Trade Center attack and Hurricane Katrina, highlighted the need to assess the adequacy of the National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements for electrical infrastructure protection and reliability.

    This new article was created by a task group that was established in response to Homeland Security activity and specifically directed to set rules on how to keep an emergency system operating for days. The task group was formed to review requirements in the NEC and other NFPA codes and standards covering emergency and standby power systems and sources and signaling systems.

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    Code Challenge
    What's Wrong Here?

    By Joe Tedesco

    Think you know how this installation violates the NEC?

    Visit EC&M's Web site to see the answer.

    Hint: Miswired motor

    Code Q&A
    By Mike Holt
    Q. The old panels in an industrial building do not have complete panel schedules. Does the Code require us to update them?

    Visit EC&M's Web site to see the answer.

    Code Quiz
    By Steven Owen
    When installing cabling in manholes, which are intended for personnel entry, with all of the cabling installed on one wall (opposite electrical equipment), what is the requirement for work space according to Part V of Art. 110?

    1. There is no requirement. Just use good judgment.
    2. With respect to the cabling work space, there must be a minimum depth of 30 in. as you approach the cables, a 36-in. width, and a 72-in. height from the cables to the roof of the manhole.
    3. Excluding any exception(s), there must be a clear space 30 in. wide and, in general, 72 in. of vertical clear space (height/headroom).
    4. Excluding any exception(s), there must be a clear space 36 in. wide and, in general, 72 in. of vertical clear space (height/headroom).

    Visit EC&M's Web site for the answer and explanation.

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    Code News Update
    Code Committee Call-Up
    Got some extra time on your hands? Looking to put some of your vast knowledge of the electrical field to use? NFPA is looking for new members for several of its committees, including the following:
    • Committee on Electrical Equipment Evaluation (seeking members in all interest categories).
    • Committee on Electrical Systems Maintenance (seeking members in all interest categories, except special experts). This committee is responsible for NFPA 73, Electrical Inspection Code for Existing Dwellings.
    Anyone interested in serving can download the application form at NFPA’s Web site.


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    Shows and Events
    Enroll In EC&M University's Online Arc Flash Courses
    Need Arc Flash prevention training and continuing education, but don't have a travel budget? That's no problem. EC&M University’s e-Training Center is the answer! Just link to these live, online training courses directly from your computer. Each course will be presented in a concise and easy-to-understand manner by an industry acknowledged expert.
    • Clarifying NFPA 70E and IEEE 1584 Requirements
      April 9, 2009
    • Impact of System and Operating Conditions on Arc Flash Energy Levels
      April 21, 2009
    • High Resistance Grounding and Arc Flash Accident Prevention
      May 7, 2009
    • Mitigation of Arc Flash Hazards Using Fuses
      May 12, 2009
    • Arc Flash Testing Updates
      June 16, 2009
    • Arc Flash Hazard Mitigation Case Studies
      June 25, 2009
    For more information, go to To register online, go to

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