Electricity is so deeply entrenched in our lives that we take it for granted…until there’s a power outage. Whether on a small or large scale, power outages may have dire social and economic consequences: no lights in homes, offices, public places; disruption of public transportation services; temporary factory shutdown, to name but a few. In recent years, major power outages have been able to paralyze whole regions or countries in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Can this happen again? Probably, but there are ways of ensuring that energy generation, transmission and distribution occurs in the safest, most reliable and efficient way possible.
Long-standing leading role
Governments, industries and utilities have several tools at their disposal to ensure the optimum operation of their electrical networks. Among these, international standardization and conformity assessment play a major role at all stages of development, from design and manufacture of the equipment to its deployment.
Since the very beginning, the IEC has been at the forefront of standardization in the field of electrical energy generation, transmission and distribution. The first half of the 20th century saw the establishment of several TCs (Technical Committees) that have produced International Standards for electric cables, power transformers, electrical accessories, fuses and other categories of product.
As technologies have evolved, more committees have been added to cover all aspects of energy generation, transmission and distribution, including renewable energies, the Smart Grid, smart cities and buildings, e-mobility and energy efficiency. The millions of electrical and electronics devices used in homes, offices and factories, healthcare facilities and public areas have also had an effect.
Global markets: International Standards more relevant than ever
The emergence of globalization and the firm establishment of today’s global markets set the seal on the demise of national monopolies on electricity. End-users can generally choose between several suppliers, while many utilities have expanded and now operate in several countries. It is therefore essential that all players in the energy sector have a common denominator, a universal language that helps avoid disruption in their services. Using IEC International Standards to build and expand power grids and upgrade them for the “smart (r)evolution” makes even more sense today and ensures compatibility and connectivity of networks within a country and across borders.
Building electrical networks, installations, systems and equipment to International Standards is one thing. Making certain that they are of the highest quality and reliability so that they perform well and are safe is another.
This is where IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, comes into play. In its almost 30 years of existence – it was set up in 1985 – IECEE has established an unsurpassed worldwide reputation for the testing and certification of electrical and electronic equipment.
The IECEE CB Scheme provides the assurance that tested and certified electrical equipment – and its components – meets the strictest levels of safety, functionality and performance in compliance with the relevant IEC International Standards.