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Use of the NESC in the Petro-Chemical Industry

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  • Last Updated August 4, 2021

Use of the NESC in the Petro-Chemical Industry

A review of the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) is presented with emphasis placed on high-voltage transmission, distribution and utilization of electrical power. Electric power system requirements are discussed for the installation of electric supply station and distribution systems which are in compliance with the code.

Common violations of the safety code are presented, with an explanation on each violation. The explanation will be followed by a brief discussion on the possible remedies for the violation.

Finally, aspects of the code will be presented with recommendations given for the design, operation and maintenance of safe electrical systems in compliance with the current edition of the NESC. Failure in any one of these areas may result in an unsafe system which could result in a serious injury or death to an employee or the general public.

The decade of the seventies brought many changes to the petro-chemical industry. Oil prices skyrocketed from an artificially low value of three dollars a barrel to well into the thirty-dollar range. Strict environmental laws and policies were implemented, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed by Congress.

The rise in fuel prices, the increased environmental concern, and additional safety requirements placed a heavier burden on the electrical utility industry than it did on the petrochemical industry. The electrical industry was faced with harsh political reactions each time it requested a rate increase. In order to minimize the need for rate increases, many utility companies began increasing rates to industrial customers. One such subtle rate increase was to make secondary service much more expensive than primary electrical service. By charging the higher rates for secondary service, the utility was able to offset costs associated with increased capital, labor and maintenance expenditures. Many industrial customers succumb to the higher costs of electrical service and continued purchasing electricity at a secondary service rate.

However, other industrial users reviewed the rate differential between primary and secondary service. Of these users, the vast majority found the primary service rate to be quite attractive, with very short pay-back periods for the additional capital expenditure. The petro-chemical industry is probably the leader among electrical users to convert to the primary service.

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Use of the National Electrical Safety Code in the Petro-Chemical Industry