Prepping for the 2023 National Electrical Code (NEC) Update

Written by Kacie Goff

In June of 2021, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) published the first draft of the  2023 NFPA 70 National Electrical Code® (NEC®). A public comment period was open through the duration of the summer, and the NFPA is now tasked with integrating everything they heard. Ultimately, the development of the 2023 NEC is well underway, so it’s time for electricians to start preparing.

Yes, it will probably be a while under this iteration of the code is the national standard. As of now, only 14 states have made the 2020 NEC their standard (although 10 more states are currently in the process of adopting it). What’s worse, some states are still operating under the 2008 NEC (looking at you, Kansas and Indiana). Still, though, whether your state is a quick adopter or tends to lag behind, the latest NEC shapes the industry. It’s well worth knowing the big changes so you can prepare for them in advance.

So without further ado, let’s look at what electricians should know about the 2023 NEC — so far. 

New article proposals

Right now, there are 12 new articles proposed for the next NEC. Some of them are very much a sign of our times. Proposed Article 512 talks about cannabis oil equipment, for example, and proposed Article 231 lays out the interconnection of alternative energy systems and service equipment. All told, the 2023 NEC should do a good job of addressing relatively new electrical considerations. 

The other proposed articles are:

  • Article 245: Overcurrent Protection for Systems Rated Over 1000 Volts AC, 1500 Volts DC
  • Article 305: Requirements for Wiring Methods and Materials for Systems Rated Over 1000 Volts AC, 1500 Volts DC, Nominal
  • Article 315: Medium Voltage Conductors, Cables, Cable Joints, and Cable Terminations
  • Article 335: Instrumentation Tray Cable: Type ITC
  • Article 369: Insulated Bus Pipe (IBP)/Tubular Covered Conductors (TCC)
  • Article 371: Flexible Bus Systems
  • Article 395: Outdoor Overhead Conductors Over 1000 Volts
  • Article 722: Cables for Power-Limited Circuits
  • Article 724: Class 1 Circuits
  • Article 726: Class 4 (CL4) Power System

If you want to get more info about any of these potential updates, you can check out this overview from IAEI Magazine, which gets published by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI). 

Article adjustments

Beyond proposing the above new articles, the latest NEC makes some changes to existing articles. Some got deleted or moved, while others had their titles changed to more accurately reflect the requirements laid out in the article. 

Electrical Contractor Magazine did a pretty good job of summarizing all of the adjustments, even the minor ones, in this piece

Staying up to date on the latest NEC

For some electrical contractors, these NEC changes won’t influence their day-to-day work too much. But if you’re going to be impacted by any of the adjustments, you can make life easier by easing into those changes now. 

Fortunately, your state-required continuing education (CE) should give you a good opportunity to stay informed. Whenever you need electrical CE and your state’s requirements allow, taking NEC-focused courses can keep you in the know about all of the latest requirements and industry standards.