TDLR ARC Flash

Sixteenth edition of the TDLR FLASH - Newsletter of the Texas Electrical Safety and Licensing Program June 2017 (also download 128KB PDF)

Welcome to the TDLR ARC FLASH

Our newsletter is intended to keep city officials, electricians, and consumers throughout Texas informed of the Texas Electrical Safety and Licensing Act and TDLR’s efforts to enforce the associated requirements. To receive news and regular updates on the state electrical program, please sign up on our email notification list at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/TXDLR/subscriber/new

2017 NEC Code

The 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC) is upon us and the Texas Electrical Safety and Licensing Act requires the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) to adopt the revised NEC as the electrical code for the state of Texas. The 2017 NEC will be the "minimum standard" for all electrical work (covered by the Act) in Texas when adopted September 1, 2017. Chapter 1305.201 of the Act provides municipalities the authority to make local amendments to the 2017 NEC when adopted; however, any proposal to amend these standards should be done in accordance with NEC 90.4 which stipulates that " the authority having jurisdiction may waive specific requirements in this Code or permit alternative methods where it is assured that equivalent objectives can be achieved by establishing and maintaining effective safety" . Please make note of this new requirement in article 555 of the 2017 NEC which is expected to become effective September 1, 2017 (example provided below).

555.24 Signage. Permanent safety signs shall be installed to give notice of electrical shock hazard risks to persons using or swimming near a boat dock or marina and shall comply with all the following:

1) The signage shall comply with 110.21(B)(1) and be of sufficient durability to withstand the environment.

2) The signs shall be clearly visible from all approaches to a marina or boatyard facility.

3) The signs shall state “WARNING — POTENTIAL SHOCK HAZARD — ELECTRICAL CURRENTS

Texas Summers - Electrical Safety Around Water

The end of May marks the end of Electrical Safety Month, but signals that our hot Texas summers are just around the corner. Summer fun in the heat usually includes people enjoying their favorite pools, ponds, lakes, and beaches. Please remember…electrical safety is of the utmost importance when we have electrical power within 20 feet of a body of water. Well-trained electricians will always put SAFETY FIRST and reference the requirements of the 2017 NEC, Articles 553, 555, 680 and 682 - then apply the special requirements for that type of water body. If you are considering having electrical work performed at your favorite summer retreat, it is VERY IMPORTANT to hire licensed electricians who have been properly trained on installing electrical equipment near water. New pool electrical installations can only be done by licensed electrical contractors and electricians. Pool electrical maintenance can be done by a licensed electrical contractor OR residential appliance installer. With summer coming, let’s plan on having fun, but prepare ahead of time to ensure all is safe when it comes to electricity and water.

Also, please consider these key safety points:

  • Prior to using an outdoor receptacle, check to make sure the receptacle is protected with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and that the GFCI is working properly. You can do this by pushing the test button on the receptacle or on the overcurrent device (breaker) inside the electrical panel. If it is not performing properly, TDLR recommends calling a Texas Licensed Electrical Contractor for services needed.
  • Any electrical wiring that is within 20 feet of a swimming pool should have protection from a ground fault circuit interrupter. THIS INCLUDES UNDERWATER LUMINAIRES (POOL LIGHTS)!
  • Make sure overhead electrical lines do not pass over the pool. In fact, it’s best to keep your pool at least 25 feet away from power lines in all directions.
  • Allow at least 18 feet of clearance between overhead power lines and a diving board, deck, platform, slide, or observation area. Never build an in-ground pool or set up an above ground pool over underground electric cables.
  • Pools and pool decking should be installed at least 5 feet away from all underground utility lines.
  • Except for specially designed lighting fixtures, don’t put electrical fixtures or receptacles within 5 feet of a pool.
  • Be sure to comply with any local building codes that may provide more stringent guidelines than the ones that have been listed.

For you and your family’s safety TDLR recommends you:

  • Visit the TDLR Website at www.tdlr.texas.gov to find out if an electrician is licensed to perform electrical work in Texas. A license is only issued to those professionals who have satisfied requirements of state law and rules. Electricians aspiring to be more than just apprentices must satisfy electrical work experience requirements and successfully complete a Department approved examination.
  • Contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor and have their licensed electricians check your home’s electrical wiring/distribution system to reduce the likelihood of electrocution and fires.
  • Leave Electrical Work to the Professionals and do not attempt to fix suspected wiring problems yourself. Electrical shocks – even mild ones – are an indication of an electrical hazard. Shut off the circuit and have the electrical system checked by a licensed electrician.
  • File a Complaint if you find a person is offering to perform or performing electrical services without a license. You may file a complaint online at the TDLR web site and help us make Texas a safer place.
  • Check for Licenses when having electrical work performed on your residence and/or pool, make sure to ask to see the Texas Electrical Contractor License (TECL), or the Residential Appliance Installer Contractor License (TICL), plus the appropriate license(s) that the persons performing the work should have and hold on them.

For electrical safety information and fun activities for the little ones you can go to http://www.sparky.org/ Electrical safety education for a child is important…teach them early!

Arc” (pronounced A-R-K), the Texas Electrical Safety Armadillo wants to remind everyone, while he likes to dig a lot, people need to take precautions before they dig because power lines can often be found underground. “Call 8-1-1 Before You Dig” To help protect against personal injury, including loss of life, costly property damage, expensive repairs and legal/civil penalties, TDLR encourages our licensees to follow guidance provided by the Railroad Commission of Texas through their Pipeline Damage Prevention Program PLEASE READ http://www.rrc.texas.gov/media/30021/educational-letter.pdf

UL warns Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs), building owners, installers and consumers over the growing number of reports of improperly installed and uncertified retrofit lighting kits that may pose a fire or shock hazard.

Link to Public Notice: http://ul.com/newsroom/publicnotices/ul-warns-of-potential-hazards-from-improper-installation-of-lighting-retrofit-kits/

Electrical Safety and Licensing Advisory Board

The Electrical Safety and Licensing Advisory Board will meet on July 7, 2017 in Austin. The agenda will be posted online when it is complete. All past meetings are archived and available on TDLR's YouTube page.

Monthly Licensing Sweeps

Licensing Sweeps are intended to curtail unlicensed activity by establishing a TDLR presence, educating the public on the state electrical licensing requirements, and verifying that electrical work is being performed by licensed electricians in accordance with state law and rules. If you would like to coordinate for a License Sweep in your area, please contact Jerry Daniel at jerry.daniel@tdlr.texas.gov or (512) 799-1489.

TDLR Electrician Program Compliance Staff Other Activities

  • 01/21/16 - IPSSA APSP Austin Chapter Meeting in San Antonio, TX.
  • 02/03/16 - Presented to the Dallas Independent Designers Association meeting from Austin, TX.
  • 02/16-18/16 - Exam development in Austin, TX.
  • 02/17/16 - NERA teleconference meeting from Austin, TX.
  • 02/22-25/16 - Presented at BPI in Houston, TX.
  • 03/24/16 - Eaton Experience Training Center in Houston, TX.
  • 04/18/16 - ELC program strategic planning in Austin, TX.
  • 05/23-26/16 - Presented at BPI in Arlington, TX.
  • 06/24/16 - Go PV/Solar training for inspectors and first responders in Austin, TX.
  • 07/14/16 - Presented at TIVA @ Eaton Experience Training Center in Houston, TX
  • 08/08-10/16 - NERA annual meeting in Duluth MN.
  • 08/30-31/16 - Exam development in Austin, TX.
  • 09/01/16 - Exam development in Austin, TX.
  • 09/12/16 - State Fire Marshal meeting and inspection of Edinburg CISD schools LED retro fit.
  • 10/17-19/16 - Presented at BPI in Austin, TX.
  • 10/27/16 - NECA meeting in Corpus Christi, TX.
  • 11/15-17/16 - Exam development in Austin, TX.
  • 11/28/16 - Attorney General meeting of Edinburg CISD schools LED retro fit.
  • 12/05/16 - ELC Taskforce Meeting.
  • 12/06/16 - IEC meeting in San Antonio, TX.
  • 01/26/17 - Austin Energy PV/Solar meeting in Austin, TX.
  • 01/30-31/17 - Exam development in Austin, TX.
  • 02/01-02/17 - Exam development in Austin, TX.
  • 02/20-22/17 - Presented at BPI in Houston, TX.
  • 02/21/17 - NERA teleconference meeting from Houston, TX.
  • 04/24/17 - NCTCOG 2017 NEC code amendments meeting in Arlington, TX.
  • 05/02-04 - Exam development in Austin, TX
  • 05/22-25/17 - Presenting at BPI in Arlington, TX.

Town Hall Meetings – Coming Soon to a Town Near You!

Compliance Division staff will be holding informal “town hall” meetings to touch base with local area contractors, inspectors, and any other interested persons. We hope these meetings will allow us to 1) put some faces to our names; 2) find out about electrical safety issues/concerns that may be specific to your area; 3) establish working partnerships with the local jurisdictions; 4) answer any “hot topic” questions regarding state electrical requirements, and 5) provide additional education on the law and rules. If you would like to invite us to hold a “town hall” meeting in your area, please contact Larry Reichle at larry.reichle@tdlr.texas.gov or (512) 779-2857.

2017 NEC Training for AHJ Electrical Inspectors

NFPA and TDLR will be facilitating one day of free training on the 2017 NEC to all electrical inspectors that work for an Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) on July 18, 2017 in Irving, TX. and July 20, 2017 in Austin, TX. We will also be facilitating one of these trainings in the Houston area – sometime in the fall. Look for the notice from the TDLR list server in the next few weeks. You must complete the application and send it in before the closing date on the application to reserve your seat. This is a great opportunity for free training on the 2017 NEC presented by NFPA’s, Jeff Sargent.

Concerns from the Texas Electrical Industry

We are still hearing concerns from members of the Texas electrical industry that some electrical contractors as well as some electricians may not be abiding by state requirements. All electricians must remember:

  • To display their contractor # and company name on both sides of all vehicles used in conducting electrical work and to include “TDLR” contact information on all of their invoices/proposals, as well as their TECL #.
  • To “perform or offer to perform electrical work” you must hold the appropriate TECL license.
  • To use "listed" electrical equipment per Article 110.3(B) of the NEC unless the local authority having jurisdiction has amendments that would supersede these requirements.
  • To keep their electrical license current - an expired license is the same as being unlicensed and you cannot offer to perform or perform electrical work with an expired license.
  • A TECL is not valid if there is no Master Electrician assigned to the license and one cannot offer to perform or perform electrical work until a valid Master Electrician is assigned to the TECL.
Did You Know ...

All non-exempt electrical work must be performed by licensed electricians working through licensed electrical contractors – even if the work is outside of city limits. See Administrative Rule 73.70(a) http://www.tdlr.texas.gov/electricians/elecrules030108.pdf

Additional Contact Information:

For general questions about the electrical program you may contact TDLR at (512) 463-6599 or toll-free (in Texas) (800) 803-9202. For the hearing impaired, Relay Texas - TDD is available at (800) 735-2989.

For Questions about the State Electrical Program : electricians@tdlr.texas.gov

To File a Complaint or Report a Violation go to: http://www.tdlr.texas.gov/Complaints/

Closing the Circuit

Your participation/input is critical. If you have any questions, concerns, comments, or observations, please contact us – we want to hear from you.

You may reach Jerry Daniel at (512) 799-1489 or e-mail him at: jerry.daniel@tdlr.texas.gov

You may reach Larry Reichle at (512) 779-2857 or e-mail him at: larry.reichle@tdlr.texas.gov

Please feel free to take this information and PASS IT ON!

TDLR Compliance Division

Jerry Daniel – Chief Electrical Inspector

Larry Reichle – Deputy Chief Electrical Inspector