NEC Article 708 Critical Operations Power Systems (COPS)


The latest release of NEC/NFPA 70 edition 2020 (NEC 2020) has placed a greater emphasis on increasing personnel safety by mandating the use of Surge Protective Devices (SPDs).

From 2014 to 2020, the number articles now requiring SPDs has increased significantly for applications ranging from Modular Data Centers, Fire Pumps, Elevators, Critical Power Systems, Dwellings (Dormatories, Homes, Hospitals, Hotels), etc. This article will focus on Critical Power Systems and how they are defined by NFPA 70 Article 708.

What are Critical Operations Power Systems (COPS)

As stated by Article 708, Critical Operations Power Systems can be classed by municipal, state, federal, or other codes by any governmental agency having jurisdiction or by facility engineering documentation establishing the necessity for such a system. These systems include but are not limited to power systems, HVAC, fire alarm, security, communications, and signaling for designated critical operations areas.

Article 708.2 further defines how the end user can identify if the system is a COPS.

CategoryArticle 708.2 Definitions
Critical Operations Power Systems (COPS)"Power systems for facilities or parts of facilities that require continuous operation for the reasons of public safety, emergency management, national security, or business continuity.”
Designated Critical Operations Areas (DCOA)"Areas within a facility or site designated as requiring critical operations power."
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)"An electronic system that provides monitoring and controls for the operation of the critical operations power system. This can include the fire alarm system, security system, control of the HVAC, the start/stop/monitoring of the power supplies and electrical distribution system, annunciation and communications equipment to emergency personnel, facility occupants, and remote operators."

Selecting an SPD for COPS

With the definitions given by NEC/NFPA 70, Critical Operations Power Systems can be identified as any system that requires continuous operation for business continuity. CITEL has a range of UL listed, NEC compliant, Surge Protective Devices (SPDs). This means selecting a surge protector is easier than it has ever been. There are only a few choices available for SPDs that are UL Listed for any of the most commonly used surge standards including UL1449 5th Edition, UL497B, and UL497E.

Recommended SPD for COPS

LocationEquipmentSystemSurge Protector Model#Link
Service EntranceMain Service Panelboard277/480Vac MDS750E-277Y MDS750E-480D
Branch PanelEquipment Panelboard480Vac${ITEM_LINK#2178948}<-No Item, #2178948 M50-480D-A${ITEM_LINK#2178948}<-No Item, #2178948 M50-A
Local EquipmentControl Panel480Vac Power Input DS74US-480D DS74US-480D
Local EquipmentPower Supply120-240Vac Power Input DS72US-230S/G DS72US-120S/G
Local EquipmentPower Supply24Vdc Power Output DS220S-24DC DS220S-24DC
Local EquipmentNetwork SwitchEthernet Cat 6A MJ8-C6A MJ8-C6A
Local EquipmentCommunication SignalsRS-485 DLA-12D3 DLA-24D3 v.2
Building Rooftop/Cell TowerRadioWireless P8AX09-6G-N/FF P8AX09-6G-N-FF