Information Bulletin: High voltage installations



Reference number
IB-EL 2016-02

The following Information Bulletin provides guidance on the application of rules pertaining to the 2015 BC Electrical Code Regulation. The requirements of local municipal authorities having jurisdiction may vary. Installers should consult with local authorities having jurisdiction, prior to undertaking work, to determine their requirements.

Topic: High voltage installations


  1. This bulletin provides guidance on the interpretation and application of high-voltage installations operating, or designed to operate, in excess of 750V.
  2. Utilities exempted from regulation by Electrical Safety Regulations Section 3 are not bound by this directive. This includes any work done on behalf of the Utility, when the contract is direct with the Utility, and the work is within the scope of the exemption in ESR (3).


  1. New high-voltage construction requires an installation permit obtained by a licensed contractor with an unrestricted ‘A’ FSR or restricted Lineman ‘LI’ FSR.
  2. High-voltage installations require an operating permit per Directive D-E3 070801 7 REV.01 (Electrical Operating Permit Requirements) prior to energization.
  3. If approved by variance, an operating permit with a ‘B’ class FSR is acceptable to operate the high- voltage equipment if that installation is a minor portion of the installation covered by the permit. In this case, maintenance or alteration of high-voltage equipment must be done by a licensed ‘A’ contractor under a separate permit.
  4. Installations that have a Utility take-over agreement do not require an operating permit.

Plans, specifications, and service reports

  1. Any plans and specifications required to be submitted must be approved by a Professional Engineer in good standing with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC.
  2. Plans and specifications may not be required to be submitted for installations being built under an approved variance for Utility take-over.
  3. As per Bulletin IB-EL 2016-05 (Section 2—General Rules), the following plans and specifications must be submitted with the permit application to the authority having jurisdiction:
    1. A one-line diagram of the installation from the utility connection to the main low voltage distribution point, including connections to any alternate power sources;
    2. Transformer ratings and ratios;
    3. Conductor types and sizes;
    4. Switch, fuse and circuit breaker ratings;
    5. Fault current levels available at the utility connection and at any low voltage distribution point; as well as any fuse co-ordination documents;
    6. Relay and tripping device settings; and
    7. Grounding system details including station grounds.
    8. Declarations from a Professional Engineer for the suitability of equipment, as outlined below.
  4. Any revisions to specifications or plans such as “as builts” must be submitted along with the final declaration. Other documents such as commissioning reports, service reports, ground resistance tests, equipment acceptance reports must also be submitted.

Acceptance of high-voltage equipment

  1. High-voltage equipment is now included in the scope of the CAN/CSA SPE-1000, Model Code for Electrical Equipment and the Special Inspection Program for the approval of equipment is available.
  2. In the case of components such as conductors, cables, insulators, etc., high voltage equipment may be accepted under a variance if it is declared to be suitable for the intended use by a Professional Engineer in good standing with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC if:
    1. the equipment is of a design that can be installed according the BC Electrical Code
    2. the equipment is designed, built, and tested to the applicable CAN or CSA standard(s), where such a standard exists;
    3. the equipment is labelled in accordance with Rule 2-100, except for the approval mark required in 2-100(l); and,
    4. specifications for the equipment have been submitted with the permit application.
  3. For components accepted for service through a declaration by a Professional Engineer and installed at a specific location under an installation or operating permit, an approval label may not be required if a variance has been obtained per Safety Standards Act s. 32.
  4. Consumer high-voltage service entrance and protective equipment connected to the Utility system must be acceptable to the Utility.

Overhead lines

  1. Overhead lines are normally constructed to CEC Part III rules, 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, whether operating at high or low voltage.
  2. 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.
  3. Private high-voltage installations connected to the Utility must be acceptable to the Utility.

Utility take-over

  1. Privately-built installations intended for Utility take-over may be exempted from some requirements of the BC Electrical Code, including submission of plans, specifications, and service reports, if, prior to construction,
    1. an installation permit exists, and
    2. a variance has been granted. The variance request must include a copy of the Take-over Agreement, approved by the Utility, including the effective date for take-over, and any conditions for take-over.
  2. Privately-built installations intended for Utility take-over shall be acceptable to the Utility.



Ulrich Janisch

Provincial Safety Manager, Electrical




Safety Standards Act Electrical Safety Regulation

Safety Standards General Regulation

Safety Standards Act Repeal and Transitional Provisions Regulations