Indiana last week became the latest state to adopt the 2017 National Electric Code (NEC) as a reference standard to be used in the state’s Uniform Building Code, leaving Illinois, Kansas as the only two states still using a nine-year old version electrical building safety standard. Nevada and Washington, D.C. use the NEC issued in 2007.
Updated every three years, the NEC sets the foundation for electrical safety in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The 2017 NEC codifies the current comprehensive regulations for electrical wiring, overcurrent protection, grounding and installation of equipment. The 2020 NEC code will be released shortly.
“In the last 40 years, NEC code requirements have reduced home electrocutions by 83 percent,” notes Brett Brenner, president of the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). “The NEC sets the minimum standards for safe electrical installation to ensure that local residents are adequately protected against fire and electrical hazards.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the 2017 NEC is in effect in 30 states, the 2014 NEC is in effect in 14 states, the 2011 NEC is in effect in one state, the 2008 NEC is in effect in three states and no statewide adoption in three states as of September 2019.
“If states do not adopt the latest version of the NEC in a timely fashion, they are threatening the lives and homes of their residents,” continues Brenner. “These strict codes make sure that the latest life-saving standards are used.”
Common reasons for states failing to stay up to date on the latest versions of the NEC are political pressure on state legislators, scrutiny of regulatory activities by jurisdiction, and less independence for appointed experts within the jurisdictions who are involved in code adoption activities. Many states consider the cost without considering all of the benefits of having an updated system.
ESFI strongly encourages states and jurisdictions to adopt the most recent codes and standards to protect residents with the latest advancements in safety technology.
Representatives from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the National Electrical Manufacturer's Association (NEMA) are available to work with jurisdictions to support the adoption of the most current NEC edition. Contact a representative near you: