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Updates to AS/NZS 3000 electrical standards, wiring rules and EV charging code

Updating electrical standards, creating a new code for charging electric vehicles and a close review of wiring rules are underway to ensure electrical installations manage the many safety risks the industry faces as demand on electricity grows in the commercial and residential sectors.

Standards Australia announced the Standards Committee, responsible for the AS/NZS 3000 Electrical Installations and Related Standards, had downsized and a new executive committee had been established to oversee the committee’s direction.

Standard AS/NZS 3000 sets out requirements for the design, construction and verification of electrical installations, including the selection and installation of electrical equipment forming part of such electrical installations. These requirements are intended to protect persons, livestock, and property from electric shock, fire and physical injury hazards that may arise from an electrical installation that is used with reasonable care and with due regard to the intended purpose of the electrical installation, states the Standard definition on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.


The executive committee comprises of seven members including two from New Zealand. Electrical inspector Peter Morfee has been appointed to the executive by Standards NZ as its representative, while inspector Alec Knewstubb has been voted on to the executive.

Experts said there had been little technical advance in the scope of AS/NZS 3000 for many years and the new executive committee had been established to "provide the leadership that has been lacking in terms of new technical issues and risk management that needs to be built into electrical standards in NZ and Australia".


Since the 2018 edition of AS/NZS 3000 was released, the focus of first and second amendments had been on correcting errors and interpretations, which has prevented the release of a new five-year edition as planned, said Standards Australia.


Mr Morfee, the technical advisor of WorkSafe’s energy safety operations said the new edition of AS/NZS 3000 was being targeted for 2028, with the intention of implementing a ten-year cycle from then on.  


The new executive committee was also tasked with reviewing the future development of wiring rules that provide technical safety for houses and buildings for the next 50 years.


Mr Morfee also joined the new EL-001 executive committee as New Zealand’s representative to ensure wiring standards produced by EL-001 serve the interests of Standards NZ. The committee will also explore how future electrical installations will accommodate the changes needed to manage the many safety risks the industry will encounter. He said it was “no longer acceptable” that things remained as they currently were.


“More houses are going to generate electricity and more houses are going to supply huge amounts of electricity to electric cars. These changes are arriving faster than EL-001 has been able to keep up with and is two or three years behind where it should be with standardised guidance.”


Meanwhile a new code for charging electric vehicles was also being developed.

Mr Morfee revealed a new Electrical Code of Practice (ECP) was being developed under the Electricity Act for Electric Vehicle (EV) charging. He said the current guidance document on EV charging by WorkSafe was not legislated, but the next update to document will be published as an ECP, which will make it legal in effect without the need to be cited in Regulations. The new ECP will replace the current guidance document Edition 2 and its addendum. 


Morfee said that this was the first ECP to be developed this century and it would follow the format of the seven ECPs cited in Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulations. 


He noted the benefit of an ECP was that it provided clarity and certainty for the industry, “and it can have the full backing of the law while any upgrades can be made promptly with the sign-off of the relevant minister”.


The upcoming Electrical Code of Practice (ECP) for Electric Vehicle (EV) charging may provide a new path for ensuring that any new updates to AS/NZS 3000 can be legalised in New Zealand if they are also published in the ECP format, which will then fall under the Electricity Act and bypass the need to be cited in Electricity Regulations.


Currently, AS/NZS 3000 and related standards need to be cited in the Regulations to be legally effective. However, the 2010 Electricity Regulations, which were originally designed to have annual updates to cite new editions of their standards and their amendments in the regulations schedule, have not been amended by the government since 2014.


Due to governmental inactivity over the past decade, there has been a logjam of citing standards and updates, including AS/NZS 3000, in the regulations. This meant that only the 2007 version of AS/NZS 3000 was legalised, as the current 2018 version hadn’t been cited in the regulations and therefore was not legal in effect in New Zealand. 


This issue raises the question of whether a new approach is required, such as an ECP which requires a sign-off from the relevant minister instead of government cabinet, so that the industry can work with the current versions of NZ standards that are legalised.


The AS/NZS 3000 executive committee comprised of seven members including two from New Zealand. Electrical inspector Peter Morfee was appointed to the executive by Standards NZ as its representative, while inspector Alec Knewstubb was voted on to the executive. The new executive committee met in Melbourne, Australia, in late 2023 to “sort out the future work program for EL-001 and how AS/NZS 3000 and its companion standards should be reviewed and revised going forward.


Source - ElectroLink Issue 158, 2023



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