I'm sitting here doing 2014 code update and I'm a bit surprised on some of the changed. I'm sure they are done with good intentions but the saying goes, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." It's being dummied down to a do it yourself manual and that is one thing the NEC was not.
For example, cords for temporary receptacles (590), like on construction sites have to be supported off the ground. For the most part, that's doable. However, I have been on several construction sites where that would not be practical like site development before the building is even started or on major roof projects. So would a contractor erect a support system or run longer extension cords?
Another one is plug connected electric car chargers. NEC does not regulate them because they are portable equipment. A glorified extension cord if you will.
When I started in the trade, I was impressed how the code was written, intention and how it is interpreted. I understand aligning the code with other codes and standards to be on the same sheet of music. Call me old fashion but code is a safety code for electrical installation that is structurally attached. They stepping out of their boundary and I'm not cool with that. If NFPA wants to have a say in matters outside the NEC, write another standard and promote it as such. Sure it's hard but using other standards will turn once respected standard into another capital hill full of self interests, instead of the greater good....
The '14 is soon (?) to be adopted here in NJ, and I admit being not complete on reading the changes. There is a 6 month period after adoption to the effective date. I've read into the end of Chapter 2 & picked thru others.
The 590.4(j) change you mention has some interesting commentary to the 'why'; and should result in some interesting 'compliance' attempts at some sites.
I see the reasoning, but reading the commentary in the changes book I have, the lack of GF protection on the feeder/branch circuit is mentioned. Would not requiring that the feeder/branch circuit have GF protection??
Think about the 'costs' to attempt support that may be compliant in the eyes of the AHJ, vs. the cost of a GF device. IMHO, the GF solution would be a better requirement.
FWIW, some of the ECs have been protecting the 'temps' with GF for years. Yes, it can be a PITA if the feeder GF trips, but if it helps being safer, why not?
The plug in charger is not hard wired to the structure of the building. It's like a portable fan has to be GFCI protected. The NEC does not cover portable equipment. Other codes and standards do. That was not the intention of the NEC
The new language says "Cable assemblies and flexible cords and cables installed as branch circuits or feeders shall not be installed on the floor or on the ground. Extension cords shall not be required to comply with 590.4(J)"
That doesn't sound that onerous.
Maybe it is just what I see but usually these things are just a temp power pole and a spider's web of extension cords plugged in until they get some walls up. In 1 & 2 family, they don't really need much power until they start the roof framing because everything here is masonry about 95% of the time. The masons tend to have gasoline powered tools. They set the service panel ASAP, install a GFCI receptacle and that is what people use. I am not sure I have ever seen a temporary branch circuit in residential.
I did see it in commercial but getting these cables up off the floor sounds like a good idea anyway.