The 2023 National Electric Code Has Arrived!

By: Amy Bonilla | Oct 25, 2022

The day we have all been waiting for is here: the 2023 National Electrical Code (NEC) is published and available! 

The NEC, also known as NFPA 70, can be purchased online from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) website. The site also offers free online access to the NEC Code and access to online subscriptions through NFPA Link®. 

NEC History 

As you know, the NEC has been around for over one hundred years, making the use of electricity safer over time. The very first edition was published in 1897 and was just 58 pages long. That edition makes for some interesting reading. Wire insulation requirements stated:  

Rubber Covered – the insulating covering must be solid, at least three-sixty-fourths of an inch in thickness and covered with a substantial braid. It must not readily carry fire, must show an insulating resistance of one megohm per mile after two weeks’ submersion in water at seventy degrees Fahrenheit and three days’ submersion in lime water, and after three minutes’ electrification with 550 volts. 

Since that time, a new edition of the NEC has been published every three years with the most recent editions being the 2017, 2020, and now, 2023.  

Most jurisdictions within the United States adopt the NEC in some way. Some states are currently utilizing the 2020 NEC, some are utilizing the 2017 NEC, and a couple are still using the 2008 edition. Although no state has adopted the 2023 NEC yet, the first state adoptions will likely occur in January of 2023. Jurisdictions may wait to adopt a newer code or may make amendments to a code to adopt it. At any given time, there may be five editions of the NEC being used across all states and counties.  

NEC Process 

Every three years, the new Code is published. There is a lot that goes into a new edition. Anyone can make suggestions to improve the Code. Public input is gathered from contractors, engineers, electricians, inspectors, and others working in the industry. Then, a total of 18 Code-Making Panels and Committees meet to discuss revisions and vote on changes. As the process continues, a first draft is released followed by a second draft, both are open for input by the public. There are often changes that occur close to publication, and sometimes after. The NEC is always improving and accepting input. 

NEC Structure 

The 2023 NEC consists of an introduction, nine chapters, and Annexes A-K. The chapters contain requirements for installations, while the annexes are explanatory and hold supplemental information.  

Here’s the breakdown:  

Chapter 1: General 

Chapter 2: Wiring and Protection 

Chapter 3: Wiring Methods and Materials 

Chapter 4: Equipment for General Use 

Chapter 5: Special Occupancies 

Chapter 6: Special Equipment 

Chapter 7: Special Conditions 

Chapter 8: Communications Systems 

Chapter 9: Tables 

Annex A: Product Safety Standards 

Annex B: Application Information for Ampacity Calculation 

Annex C: Conduit, Tubing, and Cable Tray Fill Tables for Conductors and Fixture Wires of the Same Size 

Annex D: Examples 

Annex E: Types of Construction 

Annex F: Availability and Reliability of Critical Operations Power Systems; and Development and Implementation of Functional Performance Tests (FPTs) for Critical Operations Power Systems 

Annex G: Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) 

Annex H: Administration and Enforcement 

Annex I: Recommended Tightening Torque Tables from UL Standard 

Annex J: ADA Standards for Accessible Design 

Annex K: Use of Medical Electrical Equipment in Dwellings and Residential Board-and-Care Occupancies

What’s New? 

There are many important Code changes that occurred during this revision cycle, and we will be covering them in our 2023 NEC Changes courses. Stay tuned, next month we’ll highlight some of the top changes coming from the 2023 NEC!

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