National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Wednesday, October 25, 2023


Good morning, Charlie, we are wiring a new big box store and many of the product displays are spec’d to be wired with SO Cord via cord drop from a ceiling mounted box. Does the NEC® permit SO Cord to be used for hard wiring product display equipment? Thanks, Tom Caldwell


Hello Tom, the quick answer is maybe. The use of flexible cord is one of those areas of the Code that can be subjective at times. Wiring of the display cases as described in your question are not necessarily prohibited by any of the “Uses Not Permitted” in Section 400.12(A)(1)-(7). Depending on the specifics of the installation, the display cases may be permitted to be wired with flexible cord in accordance with Section 400.10(6) which applies to the connection of utilization equipment to facilitate frequent interchange. Keep in mind the AHJ will need to agree with this application so it may be beneficial to check with the AHJ beforehand.

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CHARLIE TROUT: Charles M. Trout, better known as Charlie, was a nationally known NEC® expert and author. He served on several NEC® technical committees and is past chairman of CMP-12. In 2006 Charlie was awarded the prestigious Coggeshall Award for outstanding contributions to the electrical contracting industry, codes and standards development, and technical training. Even though Charlie passed away in October of 2015, his work continues in spirit. NECA continues to maintain this question forum for its many subscribers in memory and recognition of all his significant contributions to making the NEC what it is today.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: Unless the question requests a response based on a specific edition, all answers are based on the latest edition of NFPA 70® National Electrical Code®.

This correspondence is not a formal interpretation of the NEC® and any responses expressed to the questions are opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of NECA, NFPA, the NEC Correlating Committee any Code-making panel or other electrical technical committee. In addition, this correspondence is neither intended, nor should it be relied upon, to provide professional consultation or services. 

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