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Changes to the 2023 National Electrical Code

Mark Cook is an electrical education specialist and master electrician at Faith Technologies. He has been in the electrical industry since 1978 and owned an electrical contracting business from 1994 to 2015 in Arizona until his recent employment with Faith Technologies as a technical training consultant. He now provides CEU classes and exam prep class, as well as Arc Flash training, for Faith. He can be reached at [email protected].

I just received my new 2023 edition of the National Electrical Code. This one is near and dear to me having helped with new requirements as a new appointee on Code Making Panel No. 2. What an honor! With this month’s column, I want to point out some of the more significant changes you can expect if and when this edition is adopted within your area or in locations where your projects may be.

The first change is a major reorganization of Article 100, Definitions. This Article was reserved for terms that apply to more than one Article in the rest of the Code book. However, ***.2 was reserved for definitions that only apply to terms within that Article. For example, Part Winding Motor was found in Article 430.2 which contained that definition. Now all terms with definitions are located alphabetically, in Article 100.

A 10-amp branch circuit is being introduced to help with providing proper overcurrent protection of LED Lighting circuits and other special cases when a 15-amp branch circuit is too high to provide adequate protection. This circuit is not permitted to have receptacles, garage door openers, fixed appliances, or laundry equipment. Additionally, the 2023 NEC will permit copper-clad aluminum (CCA) to supply all 10-amp and greater branch circuits regardless of occupancies. 240.4(D)(3) requires the new 10-amp circuit to be sized at not more than 8 amperes for a continuously rated loads. This new branch circuit requires the 10-amp overcurrent device to be included in Table 240.6(A) as a standard size overcurrent device. It also requires the circuit breaker and other devices to be listed for use on these metals. The rules found in section 110.14 must be consistent with these installations.

NEMA issued a bulletin in September of 2021 (#122) which pointed out that this was permitted in the 2020 NEC. It provides more information with regards to the use and application of CCA. When 10-amp CCA are installed in dwellings where AFCI is required then it must be provided for. The Table 210.24, Summary of Branch Circuit Requirements, found in previous editions of the Code now contains one table for copper and another table for aluminum and CCA. Additional information on the use of aluminum and copper-clad aluminum (CCA) can be found online.

A few new Articles were introduced that pertain to new technologies, materials and applications. Thirteen new Articles to be exact.

The rules that apply to circuits over 1000 volts ac or 1500 volts dc can now be found in the following new Articles:

  • Article 235, Branch Circuits
  • Article 245, Overcurrent Protection
  • Article 305, General Requirements
  • Article 315, MV Cables and Conductors
  • Article 395, Outdoor Overhead Conductors
  • Article 495, Equipment

New materials include:

  • Article 335, Instrumentation Tray Cable Type ITC
  • Article 369, Insulated Bus Pipe (IBP) / Tubular Covered Cables (TCC)
  • Article 371, Flexible Bus Systems

The requirements for electrical installations employing the use of equipment for cannabis oil and cannabis oil systems using flammable materials can be found in Article 512

Other new Articles are as follows:

  • Article 722, Cables for Power-Limited Circuits and Fault-Managed Power Circuits
  • Article 724, Class 1 and Class 2 Power-Limited, Remote-Control Circuits
  • Article 726, Class 4 Fault-Managed Power Systems

Articles 510 and 712 were deleted or relocated in other parts of the 2023 NEC. Article 510 was what many called the shortest Article in the Code. It contained just a Scope, 510.1 and General Requirements, 510.2, which applied to all the following Articles (511-517) as it relates to hazardous or classified locations within these special occupancies. Article 712 covered requirements for DC Microgrids which is now relocated to ten or more Articles which cover the specific application of the Microgrid and the distributed energy resources (DER’s).

This first Code Corner column for the new year of 2023 should whet your appetite for more changes moving forward. The 2023 NEC is full of some significant changes that will be sure to raise some questions or catch many of us off guard. I hope to bring many of these to the forefront so you can be better prepared for the changes as they affect your future installations.

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