As a result of the Baltimore County Council action on Bill 63-15 the attached changes are being made to the solar PV installations. These changes take effect for all Solar PV installations inspected on or after October 19.
Chief Electrical Inspector
Fax 410 853-1892
When writing for this issue of our News and Notes, I thought it would be a good idea to review some questions and issues discussed at the League’s recent Board of Directors Meeting.
The main question raised was, what happened to Senate Bill 616 the proposed legislation to change the electrical laws of Maryland.
Sad to say, the bill was withdrawn. Even after several meetings where concessions were made to help the proposed legislation become more agreeable to various groups of our industry, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) decided not to support the bill.
It seems that DLLR thought a 59-page bill was too complicated for those newly appointed to the department. They felt more time was needed so they could evaluate the effects the bill could have on DLLR operations if it should pass.
The proposed legislation would have established:
* Definitions for the different classifications of electrical workers;
* A statewide journeyperson license;
* A statewide, up-to-date edition of the NEC as the state’s electrical code to be used and enforced in all jurisdictions; and
* A strengthened, continuing education program statewide, so a skilled, well-trained workforce would be installing electrical services.
Since these concepts would advance the electrical industry and provide benefits and safety for the general public, the ELM Board of Directors decided to continue its efforts to pass this legislation. Therefore, ELM will work with DLLR, legislators and members of our industry to once again present a bill for consideration next year, which will better serve all those involved.
The League has also added its voice to keep the uniform, statewide building code in effect as it is now. We are opposed to individual jurisdictions trying to amend themselves out of its authority as is the case with Washington County. We think that special conditions can be handled by local amendments. However, these special rules must always assure the life safety and fire protection of the citizens and visitors in those jurisdictions.
Discussion at the Board of Directors meeting also centered on the subject of where will the next generation of electrical workers come from when the experienced mechanics and skilled workers of today retire or leave the industry. It seems most high schools and other institutions of learning have abandoned their vocation guidance and training courses. They are no longer pointing young people toward the crafts or trades as a way to achieve a great living standard. There seems to be a lack of interest by educators and young people to start a career or vocation where hands as well as brains must be used. It seems that they only look at a trade as “just a job.”
Maybe as leaders in the electrical industry, we should write the job description for our future electrical workers. Why not challenge the young people of today to join our craft, trade, industry? It could allow them to:
* Make a great living;
* Enroll in great trade schools at reasonable costs;
* Have job security (there will always be demand for a reliable and “good” electrician);
* Have the opportunity to use their brains and ingenuity in problem solving:
* Know there will always be room to learn about something new (think about wind and solar power technologies, and hybrid energy systems);
* Have the satisfaction of seeing positive results of all their efforts; and
* Play a key, daily role in protecting the public’s safety.
Yes, electrical service is a career, a vocation to be proud to be part of, and a field that’s worth talking up. We should participate in activities that foster interest in the electrical industry.
Let me know your opinions and other ideas on these topics. They are important to the future of our industry.
Legislative Committee Chairperson, Electric League of Maryland
Submitted by Gil Thompson
Seven reasons to adopt the 2014 NEC in all Maryland jurisdictions
I would like to comment on Jeff Sargent’s (Electrical Specialist for National Fire Protection Association) article in the November/December issue of the NFPA journal.
Mr. Sargent gave seven reasons why the edition of the 2014 National Electrical Code (or any latest edition of the NEC) should become the electrical code for all jurisdictions located in our state.
The most recent National Electrical Code standards will:
- Improve safety for the general public: Articles and sections on installations, new products, techniques for installers and safety personnel provide the latest shock and fire protection for the public.
- Maintain consistency: The most recent rules and regulations of the NEC are integrated uniformly with other safety codes such as Life Safety, Fire and Energy which then can be enforced on a standard basis statewide.
- Reduce general liability: Law suits are reduced when the latest safety standards are followed. When the latest safety standards are not being followed, lawyers for the stakeholders want to know why some jurisdictions are not requiring systems to meet the latest electrical rules and regulation.
- Allow new technology and methods: New methods and technology can be used for renovations or for new construction. Some new products and methods for providing electrical services will have national recognition for approval and the latest testing. These rules are not found or mentioned in older editions of the NEC. For example, a new article of the NEC covers low-voltage, power-distribution systems for drop ceilings.
- Helps avoid negative cost impacts: Manufacturers can save everyone money by making products that only need to comply with the requirements of a single edition of the code. Consider the latest rules on arc flash, arc current interrupters, GFCIs, tamper-resistant receptacles, etc.
- Promotes economic development: Design, research and new installation practices allow manufacturers to continue to development innovative products which helps to reduce installation costs. This helps stimulate the economy and encourage building processes, thus assuring job growth and job security.
- Keeps professional training updated: An informed and well-trained workforce is essential for an ever-changing industry such as ours. Training personnel to the latest code standards does away with costly, sometimes double or triple standards, when earlier editions must be taught, but then the worker must be brought up to the latest standards being enforced in some jurisdictions.
It’s no doubt that the latest edition of the NEC makes for better, stronger, and more efficient electrical installations.
At the last Maryland Uniform Electrical Licensing Examination Committee (MUELEC) meeting, this very item was brought up and all electrical boards present (18) agreed that we should have a standard, statewide electrical code enforced by all inspection authorities in every jurisdiction.
There are changes to the electrical law that have been sent out and this would be one of the important amendments to our electrical law.
Also at that meeting, it was agreed that every electrical administrative board, including the State Board, will be giving the Master’s test (and hopefully, if the new law is passed, journeymen tests as well) and will be examined on the 2014 edition of the NEC. A new uniform test book was given to everyone along with a CD based on questions from the 2014 NEC. It does not matter what edition local jurisdictions are enforcing, but it will bring all who are taking examinations that will hold local or statewide licenses to be examined uniformly on the 2014 edition of the NEC.
Senator Katherine Klausmeier and Delegate Pat McDonough have been given copies of the amendments. Also, the amendments were given out at the MUELEC meeting, and hopefully we will be able to get a sponsor for the proposed changes to Title 6 – The Electrical Law for Maryland. Maybe it can be introduced during the 2015 legislative session.
If this is possible, we will inform all our members and everyone belonging to Maryland Electric Legislative Group (MELG) so that nothing will come as a surprise to our industry, and everyone will be aware of what the new law will contain.
Legislative Chair, Electric League of Maryland, Inc.
The Task Force Commissioned to Review Maryland’s electrical law recommends the following:
- The state electrical board add and issue journey and apprentice level licensing to the existing law and phase out any local requirements over a five year period.
- That there also be a five year period to phase out all so called “limited” electrical licenses at the local level; current local licenses would be allowed to remain, diminish through attribution and then be subject to “sunset” after a five year period, requiring all to become master electricians in that time frame.
- In addition to the existing requirement for 10 hours of continuing education for masters, the task force also recommends that 10 hours of CE approved by the state Board be added for journey persons.
- Also recommends the consolidation of all continuing education to be at the state level, the net effect of reducing the need for electricians at all levels to track new standard local CE requirements.
- Code standardization is also recommended: a single state wide standard electrical code will be adopted by the state with some local (more stringent) amendments approved by the state electrical board where necessary.
- All inspection agencies would then be required to use this statewide standard insuring that all new electrical installations are current or up to date.
- Replacing one of the vacant consumer member positions with a code inspector to help facilitate the transition to a statewide code and to bring an added level of expertise of code compliance to the Board.
- A review of reciprocal licensing and disciplinary guidelines using other occupational and professional licensing boards will be adopted to establish uniform standards and operating procedures.
- Conversion to a special fund model for the electrical board to give a level of flexibility to establish an adequate personnel structure and manage the assets of the board.
Submitted by Gil Thompson – January 2014
ELM needs master electricians and electrical engineers as instructors for the 2014 NEC courses. NEC courses are held weekdays, Saturdays and evenings based on instructor availability. Winter/Spring classes are held January through May. Fall/Winter classes are held September through December.
Most courses are Mike Holt programs complete with PowerPoint presentations.
Students include electricians, engineers and other professionals in the electrical industry.
Please contact Kate or Lindsey at the ELM office for more information or to apply.
P: (443) 478-9935 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org