Surge Protection on MSB’s and DB’s

Impulsive transients from lightning present a significant risk to electronic equipment. Lightning doesn’t even need to strike powerlines for it to get in. It can be induced and capacitively coupled into wiring and powerlines. One of the benefits of the MEN system is that a path to ground is provided for any transients in the neutral conductor.
Unfortunately, surge protection is needed for the active conductors to help ensure the continued operation of electrical and electronic equipment.

There are numerous pieces of essential safety equipment in the home or other types of premises that have sensitive electronics as part of their design. Smoke/fire alarms, some residual current devices, and arc fault detection devices, to name a few.
Should the wiring rules committee be considering the mandatory application of surge protection to main switchboards (MSB’s) and distribution boards (DBs)? Possibly….
Most rules are introduced into the Wiring Rules after lethal incidents. Perhaps it would be nice to be on the front foot for this issue but unnecessary rules can also place a financial burden on those installing MSBs and DBs. However, the cost of surge protection for new installations would be a very small percentage of the whole installation cost. For single phase electrical installations, the cost might come in around $100 for a basic surge diverter (metal oxide varistor). That doesn’t seem excessive!
This is being talked about in the USA. Perhaps we should be talking about it in Australia and surrounds.

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