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ACM: pre-2018 low-voltage grids, too, must meet stricter safety requirements

Distribution system operators (DSOs) must ensure that all low-voltage grids meet the stricter safety requirements within five years. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in 2018 already tightened the safety requirements for new low-voltage grids, but those requirements did not apply to grids that had been designed prior to 2018. With an amendment to the Grid Code, ACM now ensures that these pre-2018 grids, too, must comply with the stricter requirements.

Low-voltage grids are 230-volt grids to which households and other small-scale users are connected. In addition, lampposts and traffic light installations are also connected to these low-voltage grids. System operators must take additional measures to prevent unsafe voltages on these types of installations. This means that power is automatically interrupted if more than 50 Volt is detected following a short circuit. A maximum voltage of 25 Volt applies to locations where people often walk barefoot such as parks, playgrounds, and recreational areas.

Manon Leijten, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: “System operators obviously already have to ensure their grids are safe, and we see that they do so wonderfully. Fortunately, incidents on low-voltage grids are rare. With these amendments to the rules, we ensure that the stricter rules will also apply to existing grids. This means that pre-2018 grids and post-2018 grids will be subject to the same set of safety requirements.”

ACM has laid down the stricter safety requirements in the draft decision regarding amendments to the safety code for existing low-voltage grids. All low-voltage grids must meet the stricter safety requirements within five years after the decision comes into effect. Through the trade association of system operators Netbeheer Nederland (NBNL), system operators have indicated that they wish to abide by the five-year deadline.

See also:

06-05-2022 Draft decision regarding safety code for existing low-voltage grids (in Dutch)
27-02-2018 Clear safety standards for new low-voltage grids 
27-02-2018 Decision regarding safety code for new low-voltage grids (in Dutch)