ETCI – A long history of achievement

Keane Harley and Tony O'Doherty

The Electro-Technical Council of Ireland has recently ceased to operate. It was an organisation that paved the way for electrical standardisation and safety across Ireland for many years. The NSAI have now taken over the function of establishing and maintaining electrical standards across the industry. We take a look at the history of the ETCI and their long list of achievements.

The driving force behind ETCI’s establishment was Tony O’Doherty (IIRS) and the late Keane Harley (ESB). It was formally constituted in 1972. The council was officially recognised by the department of industry and commerce as the national body responsible for the harmonisation of standards in the electrotechnical field. Not long after this, they published the 1st edition of the “National Rules for Electrical Installations” (ET101).

In 1974 the ETCI became the Irish National Committee of the International Electrotechnical Commission. By 1977, ETCI had developed 10 technical committees across the whole spectrum of the industry.

During the 1980s they produced several publications of note including “The Safe Use of Electricity in the Home” and “Code of Practice for the Design, Selection and Erection of Low-Voltage Switchgear”. They also produced “A Guide to the Selection of Electrical Equipment for use in Explosive Atmospheres.

In 1983 Dr Ron Kirkham was appointed Vice-Chairman of CENELEC and two years later he became President.

The 2th edition of ET101 was published in 1991. The Register of Electrical Contractors was also established in this year. The 34th CENELEC General Assembly was held in Dublin in 1994. The ETCI celebrated 25 years at a reception in Dublin Castle in 1998. That same year they started work for the 3rd edition of ET101

Membership of the ETCI council was now mainly made up of voluntary representatives from several bodies such as the AECI, ACEI, AEW, CIBSE, Dublin City Council, Dublin Institute of Technology, Eircom, ESB, EMDA, Engineers Ireland, Health and Safety Authority, IET, IEEF, NISO, RTE and the TEEU.

The next decade brought the launch of the 3rd edition as well as many other ET publications and the “Good Practice Guide on the Management of Electrical Safety at work”. In 2004 with the help of ESBN the first electronic certification system for electrical installations was launched. 2008 saw the 4th edition of ET101 published.

Throughout the last four decades, ETCI has provided Ireland with world class systems, guides, and National Rules. They have created a comprehensive and robust Standards system infrastructure on which the NSAI Electro-Technical Committee and its experts can build on for the future.