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Code Alert: Idaho, 09 March 2011



Idaho Begins Process of Adoption of the 2011 NEC

The State of Idaho has posted a draft of the proposed electrical rules that will adopt the 2011 National Electrical Code, plus proposed statewide amendments. At the January 6, 2011 meeting, the Idaho Electrical Board agreed to the proposed rules as submitted by the Electrical Bureau. The Electrical Board will review the draft rules and comments at the April 21 meeting and will make a final decision at the July 19 meeting, and the expected implementation date is July 1, 2012.

The most significant change proposed for the new electrical rules is incorporation of the expanded requirements for AFCI protection for most branch circuits in a dwelling. Idaho currently enforces the AFCI requirements as found in the 2005 NEC: for circuits serving outlets in bedrooms. The Bureau and the Board members are convinced that the AFCI technology is reliable and will increase electrical safety. A major influence in the Board’s decision regarding expansion of arc fault protection is information from the City of Pocatello, which has been enforcing the expanded requirement since 2009. There have been no complaints or reports of problems filed with the City regarding AFCI’s in that time.

There are few other proposed amendments to the Idaho code. The proposed new code is posted on the web site: http://dbs.idaho.gov/boards/EBboard/considerations.html. Comments on the proposed rules are being solicited. It is expected that the Bureau will receive a large number of comments and testimony, particularly regarding the AFCI expansion.

Submitted by Joe Andre: joe.andre@nema.org