What are European electrical standards?

European electrical standards are only a small segment of the vast number of European Standards, or EN, that exist to keep citizens safe from harm. European electrical standards are created and approved by one of the three European Standards Organizations: CEN, CENELEC, or ESTI. To put it simply, everyone knows there are different plugs and different voltages when they travel from country to country. However, foreigners might not grasp the full picture of variances between North America and Europe when it comes to electrical standards. Some of those differences include:

  • Power generation
  • Power distribution
  • Previously mentioned voltage and power outlets

The goal of procuring and following electrical standards is the same across the board which is to ensure the safety of workers and the public, create compatible products, and create them to be consistent. Having these electrical standards reflected in business protocol, how something is designed, or within the installment process is incredibly important when it comes to compatibility and safety, whether that be with other countries or just within that country itself. Unlike the IEC that work to align standards internationally, EN standards are specific to the nation concerning electrical components, installation, and management of equipment. The European electrical standards created and put into action by CEN, CENELEC, and ESTI include:

  • EN 50000 – 59999: This set contains over forty different electrical standards and their subsections solely specific to CEN and the other two ESOs.
  • EN 60000 – 69999: This set contains a little more than five standards plus all their subsections. These are the ESO’s version of existing IEC standards.

The difference in European electrical standards can either be a blessing or a curse depending on the employee’s knowledge when working overseas. If they are unfamiliar with the standards confusion may ensue, but if they happen to be familiar with the information, they become more desirable to employers.


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