Part 5 IEC Standards Description and Discussion

Published by

  • John D. Kueck and Brendan J. Kirby, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Philip N. Overholt, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Lawrence C. Markel, Sentech, Inc.

Published in Measurement Practices for Reliability and Power Quality: A Toolkit of Reliability Measurement Practices, 2004

Prepared by Oak Ridge National Laboratory Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-6285 managed by UT-BATTELLE, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725


The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) (www.iec.ch) is an organization based on a structure of national committees that appoint experts to IEC working groups to develop standards and other documents (e.g., recommended practices, guidelines). There are about 100 such working groups. The working group documents are reviewed and approved by the participating national committees on a one-country, one-vote basis.

Among the documents issued by IEC working groups are international standards, technical specifications, technical reports, and industry technical agreements. International standards issued by IEC are publications resulting from international consensus or approval. IEC technical specifications are similar to standards but have not yet obtained the required consensus, or they cover practices which the working group feels are premature to standardize. IEC technical reports contain data from surveys or delineate the “state of the art” in a technical area. The IEC has also adopted a procedure for industry technical agreements (ITAs), which are platforms for reaching technical agreements among key industry organizations in time-critical market sectors. ITAs are intended to be used by industry in high-tech areas where international consensus standards are not needed immediately. IEC technical committees developing power quality-related standards are

  • SC37A—Low-voltage surge protective devices
  • SC77A—EMC–Low-frequency phenomena
  • TC64—Electrical installations
  • TC81—Lightning protection

The IEC’s strength is that its standards result from multinational input and are the result of international consensus. However, IEC standards are often different from, and sometimes incompatible with, U.S. standards developed by ANSI, IEEE, the National Fire Protection Association, or other U.S. code-making bodies. Table 1 shows the correspondence between IEC and some other power quality standards.

Table 1. Correspondence Between IEEE, ANSI, and IEC power quality standards

DisturbanceIEEEIEC
Harmonic environmentNoneIEC 1000-2-1/2
Compatibility limitsIEEE 519IEC 1000-3-2/4 (555)
Harmonic measurementNoneIEC-1000-4-7/13/15
Harmonic practicesIEEE 519AIEC-1000-5-5
Component heatingANSI/IEEE C57.110IEC 1000-3-6
Under-sag-environmentIEEE 1250IEC 38, 1000-2-4
Compatibility limitsIEEE P1346IEC 1000-3-3/5 (555)
Sag measurement None IEC 1000-4-1/11
Sag mitigationIEEE 446, 1100, 1159IEC 1000-5-X
Fuse blowing/upsetsANSI C84.1IEC 1000-2-5
Oversurge environmentANSI/IEEE C62.41IEC 1000-3-7
Compatibility levelsNoneIEC 3000-3-X
Surge measurementANSI/IEEE C62.45IEC 1000-4-1/2/4/5/12
Surge protectionC62 series, 1100IEC 1000-5-X
Insulation breakdownBy productIEC 664
Source: EPRI–Power Electronics Application Center

Published by PQTBlog

Electrical Engineer

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