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NFPA 70B and Your Electrical Maintenance Program

How to Shift from “Recommended Practices” to “Standards”

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What is NFPA 70B and Why Does it Matter?

NFPA 70B was first published in 1975 to outline recommended electrical maintenance practices and serve as a guideline for establishing and implementing an effective, safe, and reliable maintenance program. Since its inception, the NFPA 70B Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance has generally been just that—a recommendation. However, in January 2023, it became recognized as the NFPA 70B Standard for Electrical Equipment Maintenance. The transition means its contents are no longer recommendations but are now standards for electrical equipment maintenance.

This is a transformational change from the previous version with far-reaching impacts related to electrical equipment maintenance, regardless of facility type.

Understanding NFPA 70B, 70E, & NEC

NFPA 70B is one of three parts of a comprehensive approach to electrical maintenance and safety. The other two are:

NFPA 70E, the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, provides requirements for protecting workers from electrical hazards in the workplace. Primarily intended for those exposed to electrical hazards, it also requires an electrical safety program that must consider the condition of maintenance.

NFPA 70, the National Electrical Code® (NEC), requires the safe installation of
electrical wiring and equipment. The NEC ensures electrical systems and equipment are installed safely and reliably. It covers a wide range of topics related to electrical safety, including wiring methods, grounding, and overcurrent protection.

While NFPA 70B, NFPA 70E, and NEC focus on different aspects, these standards and regulations work together to form a comprehensive approach to ensure all electrical systems and equipment are installed, operated, and maintained safely.

(Image courtesy of NFPA,


The Transformer Owner’s Guide to NFPA 70B + 8 Frequently Asked Questions About NFPA 70B.

Go beyond annual liquid testing and take charge of your electric power reliability. Sign up for our email list and get access to both free guides. These resources will help you navigate NFPA 70B and stay informed about reliability standards, equipment testing, and compliance.

Learn the challenges and benefits of developing an electrical maintenance program, three applications for transformer owners from NFPA 70B, and get answers to the 8 most frequently asked questions. 

Staying Compliant with Electrical Maintenance Standards

Essential to the 2023 NFPA 70B updates is how facilities are now required to have an Electrical Maintenance Program (EMP). An EMP is a systematic approach to managing the maintenance and upkeep of electrical equipment and systems within an organization. It encompasses a set of policies, procedures, and practices to ensure the safety, reliability, and efficiency of electrical infrastructure. Critical aspects of an EMP include:

  • Equipment Assessment – performing and documenting an assessment of equipment condition based on physical condition, criticality, and operating environment. The survey and analysis of electrical equipment and systems will determine maintenance requirements, frequencies, and priorities.
  • Inspection, Testing, and Monitoring – inspecting, servicing, and testing plans with developed and documented maintenance procedures for all types of electrical equipment, including transformers, circuit breakers, and switchgear.
  • Frequency of Maintenance – When the manufacturer’s recommendations are not provided, maintenance shall be performed at the intervals specified in the new standard. Chapter 9 of NFPA 70B now provides mandatory scopes of work and maintenance intervals broken out by product type and based on an equipment condition assessment.
  • Documentation and Record-Keeping – a maintenance, equipment, and personnel documentation and records-retention policy. The maintenance documentation includes detailed records of all maintenance activities, including test results, repairs, and replacements, to ensure compliance and facilitate continuous improvement.
  • Training and Education – identification of personnel responsible for implementing each program element and required personnel training. Training programs should include an emphasis on ongoing education and certification.

An effective EMP helps organizations optimize the performance and reliability of their electrical systems, reduce the likelihood of unplanned downtime and costly repairs, enhance safety for personnel and property, and ensure compliance with regulatory standards and industry best practices.

Where to start with NFPA 70B for Transformer Owners

Working with transformer owners for over five decades has shown us that by addressing these five considerations, organizations can develop and implement effective electrical maintenance programs that not only comply with NFPA 70B standards but also enhance the reliability, safety, and longevity of their electrical equipment and systems.

  1. Shift from Reactive to Proactive Maintenance: Rather than waiting for equipment failures to occur, organizations should adopt a proactive approach to transformer maintenance, focusing on preventive measures to identify and address potential transformer issues before they escalate.
  2. Embrace Predictive Maintenance Technologies: Leveraging technologies such as online monitoring, IoT devices, and predictive analytics can enable organizations to monitor equipment health in real time, predict potential failures, and schedule maintenance proactively.
  3. Data-Driven Decision-Making: Utilize data collected from inspections, tests, and equipment monitoring to inform transformer maintenance decisions, identify trends, and optimize maintenance schedules and procedures.
  4. Continuous Improvement: Treat the development and implementation of an EMP as an iterative process, continuously reviewing and refining transformer maintenance procedures based on feedback, lessons learned, and evolving industry best practices.
  5. Collaboration with Expert Partners: Partnering with transformer service and reliability experts like SDMyers can provide organizations with access to specialized knowledge, resources, and support needed to develop and maintain an effective EMP compliant with NFPA 70B standards.

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Why Choose SDMyers

The standardization of NFPA 70B highlights the importance of safety and reliability across the industry in a way that reinforces the efforts we’ve been employing for nearly six decades. Using the standard as a roadmap combined with our transformer maintenance best practices and expertise will help facilities and organizations prepare for the future with maximum reliability and safety.

Globally Renowned Analytical Lab

The SDMyers analytical laboratory is the world’s largest dielectric liquid testing operation servicing electric power systems with the capability and capacity to provide effective, accurate test results quickly.

Data-Driven Approach

SDMyers leads the industry with data points, research, and proprietary engineered products to give you best-in-class testing and analysis. We even authored the must-have book on transformer maintenance.

MaxLife Philosophy

We help you plan today to be prepared for the next half century with our MaxLife philosophy for optimizing transformer lifecycle management and reliability.

Fleet Reliability

For commercial and industrial organizations with multiple facilities or locations, SDMyers is uniquely positioned to help you manage, maintain, and maximize reliability for your entire fleet of transformers.

On-Site Expertise

Backed by industry-leading software and the latest transformer testing equipment, SDMyers has a nationwide reach with 60+ mobile diagnostic technicians to keep your equipment running at spec and in compliance.

Legacy of Success

For more than 58 years, SDMyers has set its sights on helping organizations experience safe, reliable, and low-cost electric power systems.

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