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What is defined as "Power Switching?"

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  1. SecondGen's Avatar
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    What is defined as "Power Switching?"

    Does racking out circuit breakers fall under the definition of "power switching?" My company has been on multiple jobs for various customers who are responsible for power switching, yet they expect us to rack out breakers connected to hot bus for testing.

    It has always been my understanding that the process of power switching included racking out any associated circuit breakers for lockout/tagout or testing. Does anyone here have a different definition?

    Seems like most customers take it literally to mean throwing a switch or operating a circuit breaker and that's it. Is there anything written in a standard that defines "power switching?"

    NETA defines ready-to-test condition as equipment being in an isolated state. Maybe we should update our customer requirements to include this definition rather than the generic term "power switching."

    I need to review 70B and E to see what they say. What do you guys typically do in these situations?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SecondGen View Post
    Does racking out circuit breakers fall under the definition of "power switching?" My company has been on multiple jobs for various customers who are responsible for power switching, yet they expect us to rack out breakers connected to hot bus for testing.

    It has always been my understanding that the process of power switching included racking out any associated circuit breakers for lockout/tagout or testing. Does anyone here have a different definition?

    Seems like most customers take it literally to mean throwing a switch or operating a circuit breaker and that's it. Is there anything written in a standard that defines "power switching?"

    NETA defines ready-to-test condition as equipment being in an isolated state. Maybe we should update our customer requirements to include this definition rather than the generic term "power switching."

    I need to review 70B and E to see what they say. What do you guys typically do in these situations?
    From NFPA 70E:
    Disconnecting (or Isolating) Switch (Disconnector, Isolator): A mechanical switching device used for isolating a circuit or equipment from a source of power.

    Our company has taken that definition to mean any equipment that has power applied to it, must be de-energized completely prior to performing work, otherwise a switching authorization is needed to be signed by all parties. That definition includes racking out of breakers since power is still applied to the breaker EQUIPMENT. Either the power source upstream must be de-energized, or breaker racked out to fully withdrawn position with appropriate arc-flash mitigation methods.

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    Power Switching

    I am unsure of the concrete definition, but my company will not perform testing / service on any breaker unless it is racked out. End user is always responsible for placing the equipment in a safe location for testing for us.

    However, many NETA companies I have worked with will rack the breaker in or out after power has been proven to be removed by the onsite staff / utility provider. We are not a NETA company, we are a breaker repair / testing company.

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