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I found this buried flexible cord under this metal tree grill outside of a downtown office building. It was accessible to anyone walking down the street. My guess is it will be used at some point during the holidays for powering strings of lights. It doesn't take a genius to realize this type of cord is not designed to be used in this manner.
Article 400 covers the requirements for flexible cords and cables. As noted in 400.8 (Uses Not Permitted), "Unless specifically permitted in 400.7, flexible cords and cables shall not be used for the following:
- As a substitute for the fixed wiring of a structure.
- Where run through holes in walls, structural ceilings, suspended ceilings, dropped ceilings, or floors.
- Where run through doorways, windows, or similar openings.
- Where attached to building surfaces
Exception to (4): Flexible cord and cable shall be permitted to be attached to building surfaces in accordance with the provisions of 368.56(B).
- Where concealed by walls, floors, or ceilings or located above suspended or dropped ceilings.
- Where installed in raceways, except as otherwise permitted in this Code.
- Where subject to physical damage"