On January 7, 2023, new Regulations for Operation of Consumer Electrical Installations (ROCEI) have been put into effect in Russia. Previous ROCEI version was accepted far back in 2003. Since then, the power engineering industry has evidenced significant reforms and technical advances. Moreover, the approach to regulation in engineering has dramatically changed in the country. Therefore, it has been proved that new Regulations were really needed.
The document was dramatically reduced, by approx. 6 times. In particular, Chapters 2.7 ("Grounding Arrangements) and 2.8 ("Surge Protection", describing, among other issues, lightning protection systems) were deleted compared to the 2003 ROCEI version. But this does not mean that now, consumers are free to do everything. In some aspects, the Regulations were even expanded.
ROCEI-2023 did not cover any natural persons who owned electrical installations up to 1,000 V. The new Regulations do not cover only those owners of low-voltage electrical installations who operate them for their own personal or household needs. It is clear why they did it like this. On the one hand, a new category of economic entities has appeared - natural persons who pay tax for professional activities (the so-called self-employed). On the other hand, it happens increasingly more often when powerful electrical equipment is used in residential premises to conduct business. These may be, e.g. some modern plants or devices that have professional functions but can still be accommodated in a typical apartment. However, their power parameters are close to the professional equipment that requires special workshops.
In ROCEI-2023, Chapter 2.8 contained a reference to the EIC, which are not mandatory now. New ROCEI refer to the Rules for Technical Operations of Electric Stations and Grids in the Russian Federation (RTOESG), with their Chapter XLII describing the arrangement of surge protection. The lightning protection is mentioned in item 615, although it does not contain any criteria of correctness of its arrangement (previously, ROCEI stated that the lightning protection should be made in accordance with the EIC). RTOESG contain only a requirement on the presence of detailed documentation on lightning protection and pulse surge protection at the power facility.
Instead of Chapter 2.7, ROCEI-2023 contain, again, the reference to RTOESG. Previous RTOESG contained item 5.10.1: "Grounding arrangements should conform to electrical safety requirements for people and electrical installation protection as well as operating modes". New RTOESG that came into force in March 2023 do not contain such reference. The issues of arrangement and operations of grounding systems are described in Chapter XLI thereof that only consists of two items. Item 612 describes the rules for arrangement of connections between the equipment and the grounding electrodes. Item 613 specifies that grounding conductors should be protected from corrosion. They also state: "Corrosion condition of the grounding electrodes of substations and HVPL supports should be checked as per the schedule approved by a technical manager." RTOESG do not state any particular check frequency anymore. But they do not state what a technical manager should be specifically guided by when they compile the check schedule.
New ROCEI require: "The consumer should arrange and perform technical inspectionss of electrical installations and the equipment contained therein according to the Rules for Technical Inspection of Equipment, Buildings, and Power Facilities as approved by Order No. 465 of the Ministry of Energy of Russia on May 14, 2019. Checks are made after the end of the regulatory service life of the device. The user should compile an inspection schedule for five years ahead and convene a special commission. The list of equipment to be inspected does not contain the lightning protection system although it contains grounding irrespective of the electrical installations operating voltage.
If we formally follow the current ROCEI, a self-employed person who owns the electrical installation shall arrange its technical inspection after the end of regulatory service life of grounding.
Introduction of new ROCEI have not led to a simplification of a system of regulatory documents. Instead of a thick book that contains the particular information, we have received a thin booklet containing references to other bulky documents. The situation has become even more complicated when new RTOESG have came into effect in March 2023. In fact, ROCEI do not rate the lightning protection system parameters any more, and the requirements to support of grounding arrangement characteristics have been dramatically reduced. The reverse side of the issue is the increased importance of proper designing of the lightning protection and grounding systems and, which is the most important, document execution upon their commissioning. This is because now, anyone who uses the electrical installation for more than personal or household needs, must perform technical inspection of grounding of their electrical installations rather than only organizations.