Standby and emergency power systems provide power to ensure that life safety systems and critical equipment can operate during a power outage. However, any type of generator that supplies backup power is labeled inaccurately as an emergency generator. The National Electrical Code (NEC) defines the categories that apply to generator power sources as emergency, legally required standby, optional standby, and critical operations power systems (COPS) systems.
The differences among these systems are significant. In addition to the specific code requirements, design engineers as well as authorities having jurisdiction must know the effects these classifications have on how generators are applied within an electrical distribution system.
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