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NEMA LSD 80

Installation Guidelines for Outdoor Luminaires - Grounding Considerations

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Organization: NEMA
Publication Date: 1 January 2018
Status: active
Page Count: 8
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Introduction Some outdoor luminaire installations are regulated by the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC)1 requirements. In general, utility operated facilities are required to comply with the NESC. In installations covered by the NESC, some luminaires have the neutral conductor terminal and equipment grounding terminal electrically connected with a jumper at the terminal block. Such luminaires are sometimes specified in roadway applications and in urban area lighting installations.

In order to understand this practice, one should consider that roadway and urban site lighting luminaires are typically pole or post mounted. Each post or pole may be compared to a building site. At a building site, neutral & ground are tied together only at the service entrance (e.g., service disconnecting means), likewise, at a lighting post or pole, the connection is made external or internal to the luminaire. Many times, the ground and neutral connection are made at the base of the pole, but since the NESC restricts access to luminaires, the practice of connecting neutral and ground at the luminaire terminals is also viable. When outdoor luminaires used core & coil type ballasts, the luminaire terminal connection did not create any reported issues. With the recent influx of electronics used in such luminaires (e.g., LEDs, electronic drivers, and controls) that are more sensitive to feed connections, new installation guidelines may be appropriate.

It should be noted that connection of the neutral conductor terminal and the equipment grounding terminal in a luminaire conflicts with National Electrical Code® (NEC)2 requirements and therefore is not addressed in Underwriters Laboratories (UL) product safety standards. Accordingly, product certification of luminaires wired in such a way is not allowed. This may result in the end user making modifications to the products.

This paper is intended to address this NESC application and recommends installation guidelines for outdoor luminaires.

1 NESC-National Electrical Safety Code® (NESC) from IEEE is also known as American National Standard C2. It is ANSI accredited and developed by a balance of the interests including members of the public, utility workers, regulatory agencies, and the various types of private and public utilities.

2 NEC-The National Electrical Code® (NEC) is also known as NFPA 70. It is published by The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). It is approved as an American National Standard and is developed by a balance of interests including consumers, users, installers/maintainers, labor, applied research, testing laboratories, enforcing authorities, manufacturers, insurance and special experts.

Document History

NEMA LSD 80
January 1, 2018
Installation Guidelines for Outdoor Luminaires - Grounding Considerations
Introduction Some outdoor luminaire installations are regulated by the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC)1 requirements. In general, utility operated facilities are required to comply with the...
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