By Howard Herndon – Electrical Professional Consulting
The new NEC requirements prohibiting or restricting remanufactured equipment appeared in multiple locations in the second draft of the proposed 2020 NEC edition. This will have a major impact on the electrical and electromechanical reconditioning industries as well as end users, operators and contractors who maintain and repair this equipment. Prohibiting reconditioning of electrical equipment will not solve performance issues of the equipment or electrical safety. This is the type of resolution from days past, when if I wanted new brakes on my car, I went back to the dealer. When my car got old enough the dealer would say, “sorry you need to buy a
new car, these parts are no longer available”. In today’s world we have multiple locations we can
purchase our brake parts from, places such as NAPA, Pep Boys, AutoZone, etc. The reason we have those choices is because there are laws that state you have the right to purchase the parts from whom ever you choose and repair it yourself. The current electrical standards are really clear that the owner of the equipment is responsible for maintenance and the condition of the equipment. The decision to used reconditioned equipment should be up to the owner and not legislated by the NEC.
The idea that safe equipment is only an issue for reconditioned equipment is not true. I have personally seen new breakers installed in new equipment fail testing. In fact, in 2014 we investigated a new circuit breaker located in the main service that caused a major arc-flash in Reno, Nevada because not all the poles of the 3-pole breaker opened to clear a fault; instead the breaker caused a major arc-flash in the switchboard.
More needs to be done to educate the owners, operators, engineers and contractors concerning their responsibility for the equipment and the dangers of not maintaining the equipment. Safety and reliability of the equipment can be achieved by utilizing existing ANSI electrical standards such as NFPA 70E, NFPA 70B, NETA MTS, EASA-AR-100, and PEARL* EERS for maintenance, testing and repair of the equipment. Purchasing parts and reconditioned equipment from reputable dealers that utilize appropriate industry testing standards to verify proper operation of the equipment is also essential. As well as taking great care and pride in their work, they provide documentation of the performance and condition of the equipment to the user. Educating the industry about these standards and the right way to evaluate equipment is the best way to resolve this perceived safety issue.
*PEARL (Professional Electrical Apparatus Reconditioning League) is an industry trade association
consisting of manufacturers and resellers of reconditioned equipment and companies that support this
industry. PEARL member companies supply end users with quality equipment that has been tested in
accordance with the ANSI EERS (PEARL-Electrical Equipment Reconditioning Standard) Standard.