Information Bulletin: High voltage installations
This bulletin provides guidance on the application of rules for high voltage installations. The requirements of the utility and/or local municipal authorities having jurisdiction may vary. Installers should consult with both the utility and local authorities having jurisdiction before starting work to determine their requirements.
This bulletin provides guidance on the interpretation and application of high voltage installations operating, or designed to operate, in excess of 750V but not greater than the voltages permitted by Section 36 of the BC Electrical Code.
Utilities exempted from regulation by Electrical Safety Regulation (ESR) Section 3 are not bound by this directive. This includes any work done on behalf of the utility, when the contract is directly with the utility, and the work is within the scope of the exemption in ESR (3).
Technical Safety BC works with various utilities to coordinate detailed documentation for the utility, authority having jurisdiction, as well as the equipment owner.
Designers should consult the applicable sections of the BC Electrical Code, including section 36, C22.3 NO. 1-15 - Overhead systems, C22.3 NO. 7-15 - Underground systems and other related standards for privately owned system design. When other related standards are used, a copy of the standard or portion of the standard, with publisher’s permission, may be requested by the inspection department to assist in the assessment.
Designers should also consult with local municipal authorities for any additional civil, building, or plumbing requirements.
Designers should not be using Utility Standards for the design of privately owned equipment as they are not part of BC Electrical Code. Variances are required when the construction of the system deviates from the BC Electrical Code.
High voltage installations or alterations require a permit.
An installation permit is obtained by a licensed electrical contractor with a Class A FSR or LI FSR certification. The Field Safety Representative (FSR) named on the permit is responsible for all aspects of the installation, including plans and specifications, testing and commissioning reports as well as FSR inspection worksheets for service connections.
High voltage installations require an operating permit per directive D-E3 070801 7, Electrical Operating Permit Requirements. It is recommended that the operating permit be in place at the time of the service connection to assist with the utility coordinating ownership, the transfer of documentation to the owner and transfer of Field Safety Representative’s responsibilities
Owners of high voltage equipment are advised to consult with the local utility for any requirements beyond their regulatory obligations.
Maintenance, including additions and modifications are permitted under the operating permit. Details of what is permitted under the operating permit are found in the operating permit directive.
Additional information on operating permits are detailed in IB-EL 2015-03.
Owners of high voltage equipment are advised to consult CAN/CSA Z463 – Maintenance of Electrical Systems for guidance on maintenance of high voltage and other electrical equipment.
Acceptance of high voltage equipment
Equipment and assemblies:
Section 21 of the Electrical Safety regulation requires that electrical equipment and assemblies be approved before they are used, offered for sale, sold, displayed, or disposed of.
In addition to certification programs for equipment and assemblies, high voltage equipment rated up to 46kV is included in the scope of the CAN/CSA SPE-1000, Model Code for Electrical Equipment and the Special Inspection Program. Suppliers, installers, and equipment owners should consult with the Standards Council of Canada’s accredited inspection bodies to obtain approvals. Refer to B-E3 071019 3 for more information about certification marks accepted in BC.
Equipment rated over 46 kV and its components:
Unapproved high voltage equipment intended to operate over 46 kV (along with its high voltage components such as conductors, cables, insulators) declared to be suitable for intended use by a qualified professional may be acceptable if:
- a variance is applied for and accepted;
- plans and specifications are submitted with this equipment and components identified;
- the equipment is of a design that can be installed according the BC Electrical Code;
- the equipment is designed, built, and tested to the applicable CAN or CSA standard(s), where such a standard exists;
- the equipment is labelled in accordance with rule 2-100, except for the approval mark required in 2-100(l);,
- specifications for the equipment have been submitted with the variance application, and
- in case of an operating permit, installation of such equipment be entered in the log book.
Service Connection Inspection Documentation (Inspection Worksheet): Prior to a high voltage service connection request to the utility, a declaration of compliance and inspection request including the inspection worksheet should be submitted to the utility and the authority having jurisdiction.
Plans, specifications, and test reports
Plans and specifications are required for high voltage installations. Plans and specifications submitted to the authority having jurisdiction should be reviewed by a qualified professional in the electrical discipline.
Plans and specifications must be submitted to the appropriate authority having jurisdiction with the installation permit application prior to the commencement of regulated work.
Any modifications to the original plans and specifications should be documented (such as ‘as built’ drawings). Once the installation is complete, the documents must be kept current and retained by the equipment owner as stated on the terms and conditions of the operating permit.
Information provided in the plans and specifications must include, but not be limited to, the following:
- A one-line diagram of the installation from the utility or other source of supply connection to the main low voltage distribution point, including connections to any alternate power sources;
- Transformer ratings, ratios, and impedances;
- Conductor types and sizes;
- Location of the service disconnecting means and/or the service box;
- Location of any utility-owned equipment located on the load side of customer-owned equipment
- Switch, fuse and circuit breaker ratings;
- Grounding system details including location of station grounds;
- List of all manufacturer’s technical representatives who performed regulated work or testing on the equipment;
- List of all contractors who performed repairs, testing or commissioning on the equipment and their qualifications; and
- Any variance(s) issued for the use of unapproved components, as outlined above.
Existing equipment owners holding operating permits are required to maintain a set of plans and specifications showing where the system deviated from the BC Electrical Code, including variances issued to support the present conditions where the equipment is installed.
Testing, commissioning, and coordination studies as required must be completed before the energization of equipment. Testing and commissioning reports required for ongoing maintenance and operation of equipment must be recorded in the log book of the operating permit.
The best practice is to construct overhead lines to the CSA C22.3 No. 1 -15 standard, as well as any applicable BC Electrical Code requirements. Information Bulletin B-E3 090312 1 Revision 01 Overhead Lines Guideline provides information that may assist in the design and construction of overhead lines.
Private high voltage overhead lines are required to have a disconnecting means with overcurrent protection in accordance with rule 36-204, at the point of connection to the utility.
Private high voltage installations connected to the utility must be acceptable to the utility.
Variances must be applied for through the authority having jurisdiction for acceptance with the plans and specifications.
All variances are subject to review and acceptance by the authority having jurisdiction. All variances must be accepted by authorities having jurisdiction prior to final declaration. Additional testing or detail construction standards may be requested by the inspection department to support the variance application.
Provincial Safety Manager
Safety Standards Act
Electrical Safety Regulation
Safety Standards General Regulation
Safety Standards Act Repeal and Transitional Provisions Regulations