Powering Strong Communities

The National Electrical Safety Code and Public Power

How public power can participate in revising the National Electrical Safety Code.

The National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) is a consensus-based standard that sets the ground rules and guidelines associated with the installation, operation and maintenance of electric supply, communication lines and associated equipment necessary to safeguard utility workers and the general public. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is responsible for overseeing, maintaining, and publishing the NESC. The NESC affects every aspect of an electric utility system (design, construction, operation and maintenance); therefore, input from public power systems of all sizes is necessary to ensure that the requirements adhere to public power safety standards and are economically feasible. The American Public Power Association is proud to serve as the conduit for our members to participate in and provide input into the revision process.

NESC Revision Cycle

The NESC is revised on a 5-year cycle. During the first year, proposed changes to the NESC are submitted to IEEE. Subcommittees review the change proposals (CPs) and vote on all the CPs, which then get consolidated into the Pre-Print version that is made available to the public in year two. In year three, the public submits comments (CMs) to IEEE in support of or against the CPs contained in the Pre-Print. Year three is also when the subcommittees meet to discuss the comments and take a final vote on the CPs. CPs may be accepted, accepted as modified, or rejected. Only the CPs that are accepted or accepted as modified are incorporated into the revised NESC. During year four, IEEE submits the revised NESC to ANSI for recognition as national standard. IEEE then publishes the revised NESC on August 1 of the fifth year, and the new code goes into effect the following February 1, giving utilities six months to adapt before it goes into effect. The following chart summarizes the NESC 2028 Revision Schedule.  

Date Action/Activity
February 1, 2024 Change proposal period opens
May 15, 2024 Change proposals (CPs) due to IEEE
August – October 2024 NESC subcommittees (SCs) meet to consider CPs and SC recommendations
July 1, 2025 IEEE publishes the pre-print, open comment period begins
March 24, 2026 Comments (CMs) due to IEEE
August – October 2026 SCs reconsider recommendations, amendments and prepare final report
January 15, 2027 Proposed NESC C2 submitted to NESC for letter ballot and ANSI for public review
May 14, 2027 NESC approved revision submitted to ANSI for recognition as an ANSI standard
August 1, 2027 IEEE Publishes the NESC C2-2028
February 1, 2028 NESC C2-2028 effective date (for localities that automatically adopt the latest revision)

For more information, including links to the resources referenced above, visit the IEEE Standards Association NESC webpage.

Public Power Standards Representatives Taskforce

The Public Power Standards Representatives Taskforce consists of engineering and operations personnel who support the efforts of the NESC revisions. Representatives from small, medium, and large public power utilities are encouraged to participate in the revision cycle process. Taskforce members develop CPs and CMs and evaluate CPs and CMs submitted by others to the NESC during the 5-year revision cycle. The taskforce is organized into teams that align with the NESC subcommittees. The taskforce meets virtually, enabling all who want to participate to do so. If you would like to be a part of the PPSRT, please contact our team at [email protected].

NESC Subcommittees

Various subcommittees are responsible for revising specific parts and/or sections of the NESC, as shown below.

1 Purpose, Scope, Application, Definition & References Sections 1, 2 & 3
2 Grounding Methods Section 9
3 Electric Supply Stations   Part 1 – Sections 10-19
4 Overhead Lines – Clearances  Part 2 – Sections 20-23
5 Overhead Lines – Strengths & Loading   Part 2 – Sections 24-28
7 Underground Lines Part 3 – Sections 30-39
8 Work Rules Part 4 – Sections 40-43
9* Electric Supply Substations* TBD*

*SC9 is a new subcommittee and its exact title and areas of responsibility have yet to be determined.  For more information on the value, purpose or benefits of the NESC see The Definitive Safety Standard for the National Electrical Grid and Communications Systems – The National Electrical Safety Code published by IEEE.

Key Dates

The following is a list of key events for the PPRT, as well as deadlines in the NESC process.

2024 – First Year

CP Preparation

  • March 13, 2024 – APPA Member Virtual Meeting (view presentation slides – members only)
  • April 2, 2024 – PPSRT Kickoff Virtual Meeting (view presentation slides – members only)
  • April 19, 2024 – APPA member CPs due
  • April 30, 2024 – PPSRT Virtual Meeting (2 Hours) – CP Discussion
  • May 10, 2024 – Finalize APPA IEEE/NESC CP Submittals
  • May 14, 2024 – APPA CPs Submitted to IEEE (members only)

Subcommittee Meeting Preparation

  • May 30, 2024 - APPA Member Virtual Meeting, (NESC 2028 - First Milestone & Next Steps) (view presentation slides - members only)
  • June 6, 2024 – PPSRT Virtual Meeting (2 Hours) – Review CP submittals by others
  • June 20, 2024 – PPSRT Virtual Meeting (2 Hours) – Review CP submittals by others
  • July 11, 2024 – PPSRT Virtual Meeting (2 Hours) – Evaluate CPs submitted by others
  • July 25, 2024 – PPSRT Virtual Meeting (2 Hours) – “CP by others - Talking points” for IEEE/NESC SC Meetings
  • August 8, 2024 – Develop “CP By Others - Talking Points” for IEEE/NESC SC Meetings
  • TBD – Electric Public Sector Classification Collaboration Discussion
  • August 13, 2024 (tentative) – APPA Member Virtual Meeting (NESC 2028 - Second Milestone & NESC SC meetings) (email [email protected] to request to join)

Post Subcommittee Meeting Activity

  • TBD – IEEE/NESC Subcommittee meetings
  • November 8, 2024 – PPSRT Virtual Meeting (2 Hours) – Post SC IEEE/NESC Meeting Debriefing Call
  • November 22, 2024 – APPA Member Virtual Meeting (2 Hours) – IEEE/NESC Post-Meeting Discussion