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The titles National Electrical Code (NEC) and National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) may sound similar, but the two cover two very different elements. Each electrical code covers unique aspects of two entirely different electrical systems.  If your company specializes in either type of work, it would greatly benefit both you and your employees to have select (if not all) individuals trained. But which “Code” applies to what type of work?   Here is the difference between the two.

What is the NEC?

The NEC code covers the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment used in premises wiring.  This is the wiring that supplies electrical energy to industrial, commercial and residential buildings. This type of wiring supplies electricity to such equipment as lights, general use receptacles, swimming pools, motors, electrical appliances and other utilization equipment.  Subjects covered include general wiring rules and methods.  Calculations for anticipating branch and feeder circuit ampacity, necessary wire size and conduit or raceway size.  Requirements for grounding from a service or a separately derived system of generally up to 1,000 volts. The NEC (National Electrical Code ©) which is written by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a very technical document and may be difficult to understand which could result in non-code compliant or possibly even dangerous installations if not done properly.   The goal of the “National Electrical Code ©” is the safety of both people and property.

What is the NESC?

NESC (National Electrical Safety Code ©) authored by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) is directed toward the Generation, Transmission and Distribution of High Voltage Electricity.  This used to be known as the code that the utility companies used.  Now private companies with similar installations also install their equipment to the same standards.  Use of this code helps to ensure that the ever growing electrical grid is compatible and uniform throughout the utility interface with private industry.  Engineers who specify and design the transmission and distribution system need to comply with this code for functional installations that encompass clearance issues along with specific clearances for public safety with regard to the high voltage that this code addresses.  This code specifies good design and construction of electrical power distribution.   Issues such as ice and wind loading are anticipated for these types of systems.  Equipment addressed include items such as power poles, guying regulations, transformers, and communication lines as well.  Within the text of this particular code, NESC covers the rules for overhead and underground installations.  Requirements of metal pad-mounted switchgear and other equipment designed for electrical enclosures and how to be “effectively” grounded.  The main differences between NESC and NEC is the voltage.  The NESC covers higher voltage systems such as transmission lines and substations and other facilities with an extremely high voltage electrical output.

Why are the Distinctions Important?

When it comes to working with electricity, distinctions can be the difference between a safe environment and running into serious electrical problems. Both NEC and NESC address safe electrical installations and maintenance but the two systems are entirely different.  Although similar in nature and the two systems use terms and definitions that are nearly identical for work conducted under each coding standards. However, while NEC focuses mostly on systems running up to 1,000 volts, NESC is generally seen as equipment using a substantially higher voltage.

Designing high voltage distribution systems that require installation, maintenance and repair as a result of storm damage and in most cases must be worked energized necessitate special training and work methods.

What Are the Benefits of Training Workers on These Different Standards?

The more training your employees have the more work and jobs your business can take on. Often times, in order to take specific jobs, the employees working must hold specific certifications. This is why a home electrician is not automatically licensed to work on commercial facilities. The individual must first obtain additional training, licensing and certifications in order to move into the commercial sector. By having your employees trained with both NESC and NEC, you instantly increase the amount of work your company both takes on and provides.

With employees holding these two different certifications, it makes it more attractive to interested clients who need such a certification to have specific work done. This brings in more business and boosts your bottom line. However, your business is not the only entity that receives an advantage for employees with these code certifications working for you. The employees who receive the training and education in the different code certifications also gain valuable assets. For starters, it makes these employees far more valuable to you.

The two code titles sound similar, as there is only one letter separating the two from one another. However, NEC and NESC are two very different codes, so understanding the two is essential in being able to identify the job requirements of each. By having employees trained in the varying codes, it increases the amount of work your company can take on, boosts your bottom line and, at the same time, makes your trained employees that much more desirable as workers. If your company provides services in connection with electrical systems, obtaining certifications in these two different codes can go a long way in helping your business. If you would like to learn more about NEC and NESC training, be sure to connect with a helpful NTT staff member today!

What is the Difference Between the NEC and the NESC?

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