Did the campground industry association save RV park owners millions of dollars by nixing electrical upgrade?

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By Mike Sokol

Dear Readers,
I received dozens of emails about the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) announcement last week concerning the National Electrical Code (NEC) rolling back the 2020 required ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection on 30- and 50-amp pedestal outlets as was originally planned. Read the full story HERE.

According to the news report this was due to ARVC fighting off the NEC’s attempt to saddle campgrounds with millions of dollars spent in retrofitting all pedestals with GFCI breakers. So how and why did this happen, and is it a safety thing or just a way to save money?

Well, I was right in the middle of it so I can tell you how and why it happened, and why it’s actually a good thing from a safety standpoint, not just a money-saving thing for campgrounds who don’t want to spend the bucks.

I wrote about all the technical issues of this last August, which you can read HERE.

Note that there was a temporary rollback of the 30- and 50-amp GFCI requirements in August, but now this has been solidified so there will be NO 30- and 50-amp GFCIs required in campground pedestals within the 2020 code.

So, is this a safety thing or a money thing? Well, since I’m the guy who wrote the paper that persuaded the NFPA to roll back the 30/50-amp GFCI requirement, I’m happy to report that while this reversal did indeed save the campground industry millions of dollars, it’s actually much safer to not include GFCI breakers on feeder circuits (which is what your 30- and 50-amp shore power cord is plugged into). And GFCI protection is still included on the 20-amp branch circuit, both on the pedestal and in your RV wherever you’re close to wet things like sinks, or outside where you can come in contact with the earth.

So this is a win/win situation, I think. You can still get safe connections at campgrounds (read my earlier article linked above as to why), and the campgrounds don’t have to spend millions of dollars on unnecessary GFCI updates that would have created confusion and random tripping of thousands of pedestal circuit breakers. You may notice that I got no credit for any of this, but those who were there saw my white paper which was distributed to the NEC committee and its merits discussed before their final decision was made.

Let’s play safe out there….

Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.

For information on how to support RVelectricity and No~Shock~Zone articles, seminars and videos, please click the I Like Mike Campaign.

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Jeff Reck
6 months ago

Thank you for your advocacy on this issue!

Mary James
6 months ago

Thank you

Tony Sauer
6 months ago

Our 2004 Itasca, with30 amp service, almost always trips GFCI breakers, so I’m very glad you helped stop the movement to have them installed on 30 and 50 plugs in campgrounds. We ran across an Idaho state park that had a 30 amp GFCI breaker and we couldn’t use it. I’ve since acquired a 50 to 30 amp adapter in case we run across this again. Interestingly, at home I have a 30 year old CFCI receptacle that doesn’t trip when I plug the motorhome into it. I’m not sure if it’s bad or just old technology that lets a few more volts feed back before tripping. Anyway, I’m leaving it alone.

HGoff
6 months ago

even if it were adopted in the 2020 code, wouldn’t existing campground be grandfathered in? Most codes allow existing facilities that are code compliant when put in service to remain as-is.