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Cathodic protection systems

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Cathodic protection systems

Cathodic protection systems are complex and you need a consultant or fully trained person in the installation, operation and testing of these systems. For further information, contact the Australasian Corrosion Association.

Cathodic protection systems are often used with structures like building reinforcement, buried metallic pipeline and cables.

Cathodic protection devices protect structures and metalwork from corrosion. They put the metal to be protected by a cathode element in an electric current which encourages corrosion in a less critical or cheaper, anode material.

These systems are regulated by Part 13 of the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 (the Regulation).

Some cathodic protection systems are exempt from the Regulation. These include:

  • fishing equipment
  • systems installed on a floating mobile structure
  • some offshore structures or internal surface of an item covered by Australian Standard AS2832.4 Cathodic protection of metals – Internal surfaces.

Part 13, Division 2 of the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 also has provisions that cover:

  • the installation and design of cathodic protection systems
  • the operating requirements of cathodic protection systems
  • the testing requirements of cathodic protection systems
  • the registration of these systems.

Under the Regulation all cathodic protection systems capable of delivering a current greater of 0.25A must be registered.

These systems must be periodically tested and test results kept.

They must be operated within specified electrical limits.

Installation and design

Section 241 of the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 says you must give at least 60 days notice before installing a system.

The standard for cathodic protection, AS 2832 series (Cathodic protection of metals), must be adhered to in the system's design and installation.

Operating requirements stipulated in Section 175 of the Regulation are:

  • appropriate testing of system
  • issues of interference mitigation satisfied
  • operated within AS 2832 series
  • registered as required.

Section 243 of the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 has electrical limits of the voltage applied, the maximum current that can be used and changes in potential to ground.


Testing before starting operation

All cathodic protection systems must be tested, even those not required to be registered. Testing should be done within 90 days of starting operation.

Systems that must be registered must be tested within 90 days of lodging the application. The Electrical Safety Office may allow a longer period if you request.

All tests must include:

  • interference tests on all foreign structures for the system
  • maximum voltage checks on water based or marine environment systems.

Testing should be done on the maximum operating current values stated in the application.

It is the responsibility of the system's owner to:

  • arrange testing
  • provide all the facilities
  • pay all costs associated with testing.

Section 244 of the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 has more information on testing cathodic protection systems before operation.

Further testing during the operation of the system

Interference tests need to be repeated when:

  • requested by the Electrical Safety Office
  • the system or method of operation is changed
  • an anode forming part of the system is replaced.

Testing as part of regular maintenance

Cathodic protection systems must also be regularly tested as a part of their operation. This is required by the cathodic protection standard AS/NZS 2832 series as amended.

These tests include:

  • system operation checks
  • cathodic protection potential surveys
  • equipment maintenance checks
  • structure inspections.

The owner must give access to the system and provide facilities to further test the system if reasonably required by the Electrical Safety Office.

If the system is non compliant, the owner must pay all indirect and overhead costs the Electrical Safety Office made while testing.

More information is in Section 249 of the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013.

Recordkeeping requirements

Test records must be kept for ten years if:

  • the system is an impressed current cathodic system
  • the system is a sacrificial system that has a total anode mass of more than 25kg.

These records must available within 14 days if requested by Electrical Safety Office.

Cathodic protection system registrations

Section 243 of the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 states that all cathodic protection systems, capable of delivering a current greater of 0.25A must be registered.

There are some systems that are exempt. These include:

It is the owner's responsibility to ensure the system is:

  • not operated unless registered
  • operated according to the requirements of the cathodic protection standard
  • tested according to the testing requirements of the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013.

Registrations are valid for five years, unless cancelled during this time.

Re-registration before the expiry date uses the same forms and fee as a new registration.

You must advise the Office of Industrial Relations within 30 days if any of the following changes:

  • address of owner
  • if system has been removed or made inoperable.

Any changes to the operation of the registered cathodic protection system must be advised immediately and confirmed in writing within 14 days. A plan must be attached, showing how the system has changed.

How to register a cathodic protection system

  • Fill out application form (PDF, 143.94 KB) to register a registrable cathodic protection system.
  • Ensure the operating specifications and interference testing section of the declaration is signed.
  • Forward the application with the prescribed fee to the Electrical Safety Office.
Application type Fee*
Application for registration of cathodic protection system that is a registrable system332.40
Administration component of fee paid for an application under item 19 refundable under section 256 49.20
*Fee amounts as at 1 September 2020. GST does not apply to these fees.
Last updated
12 September 2019

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