Public comment period for National Electrical Code ends today

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Today is the deadline for public comment on the National Electrical Code, which is also known as NFPA 70.

The broad definition of NFPA 70 is that it is the “benchmark for safe electrical design, installation and inspection to protect people and property from electrical hazards,” the National Fire Protection Association says.

The current NEC has milliamp limits for marinas that many members of the marine industry believe are not realistic. The hot-button issue for electricity at a marine facility is electric shock drowning because the accidents draw so much attention, but industry members say the code needs to be changed because it’s unrealistic.

“It’s a bigger deal than electric shock drowning,” said Peter Schrappen, vice president and director of government affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association. “It’s the fact that our industry was handed a set of standards that is totally unrealistic for us to meet around stray current.”

Even though the NEC is considered a national standard, it’s up to individual states to comply and to carry out inspections at marinas and boatyards. Schrappen said Washington state and Alaska have not adopted the current standards.

Anyone who wants to give input on the next revision to the NEC can fill out an NFPA Public Input Form and submit it to the association by 5 p.m. today. The input that people provide today will influence the 2020 NEC.