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Program News and Updates

Commission Adopts Rules

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted amendments to an existing rule at 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 73, §73.100, regarding the Electricians program.  The adopted rule amends §73.100 by stating that compliance with Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC is not required until January 1, 2023.

The adoption justification was published in the November 12, 2021, issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 7781).  The updated rule chapter will be made available upon its effective date of November 17, 2021.

Continuing Education Requirements

HB 1560, the Sunset legislation for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, repealed Occupations Code §1305.168 from the Electricians statute, and transferred authority regarding the continuing education requirements to TDLR’s enabling statute, Chapter 51 of the Texas Occupations Code.

Please note that no changes were made, and Electrician program licensees are still required to obtain continuing education (CE) credits as specified in the program rules.

Proposed Administrative Rules

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation proposes amendments to an existing rule for the Electricians program rule at 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 73, §73.100. The proposed rule amends §73.100 by placing the existing rule text into new subsection (a) and adding new subsection (b) to state that compliance with Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC) is not required until January 1, 2023.

Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC requires certain outdoor outlets to have ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) protection. An incompatibility between most GFCI products on the market and certain types of air-conditioning and heating equipment has resulted in that equipment failing by persistently tripping circuit breakers. It is expected that manufacturers of both electrical and air conditioning equipment will have resolved the compatibility issues by January 1, 2023.

The proposed rule was published in the July 23, 2021, issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 4424). The Department will accept comments on the proposal until August 23, 2021.

The Department encourages anyone interested in the Electricians Program to review the rule proposal online. Comments may be submitted electronically on the Department’s website.

On The Level - July 2021 Edition

Articles in the July 2021 edition of TDLR On The Level include:

  • Commission Adopts 2020 National Electrical Code, Delays Implementation of section 210.8(F)
  • IHB Says a Fond Farewell to Donna Lipke
  • Summary of ASHRAE Guidelines for Post-COVID Building HVAC Operations
  • Recent License Revocations

On The Level is a periodic newsletter that provides news and information about TDLR’s building-related programs. Please see the On the Level page for archives of past editions.

ARC Flash Newsletter #23 - May 2021

The TDLR Arc Flash is here to keep licensed electricians, city officials, and consumers throughout Texas informed about TDLR's Electrician Licensing program and our efforts to enforce the laws and rules associated with the Texas Electrical Safety and Licensing Act.

Read The Latest ARC Flash Newsletter

Commission Votes to Delay Effective Date of 2020 NEC Requirement

On Tuesday, May 18, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation held an emergency meeting in response to an imminent threat to public health and safety. It has been found that compliance with Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC) can interfere with the proper functioning of certain types of air conditioning and heating systems. With summer heat approaching in Texas, failed or malfunctioning air-conditioning systems can pose a danger to public health and safety.

To help alleviate this threat, the Commission voted to amend rules in the Electricians and Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors programs to delay the effective date of Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC until January 1, 2023.

“There’s a large and growing concern from air conditioning and refrigeration stakeholders, supported by anecdotal and empirical evidence, that adding GFCI protection to air conditioning and heat pump equipment that uses DC Inverter technology can cause repeated tripping of the circuit protection, making the systems effectively inoperable,” said William Weatherly, TDLR Program Chief and Chief Inspector for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. “To protect public health and safety, agency staff took quick action to have this issue reviewed by the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation.”

Specifically, the rules amended were 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 73, §73.100 in the Electricians program rules, and 16 TAC, Chapter 75, §75.100 in the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors rules.

The amendments are effective May 20, 2021 and expire in 120 days, unless renewed by the Commission. TDLR has begun working on non-emergency rulemaking to implement this change on a permanent basis.

What does Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC do?

Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC requires that certain outdoor outlets for dwellings supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts to ground or less, 50 amperes or less, have ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) protection. The emergency rules adopted by the Commission would remove this requirement until January 1, 2023.

Why is this change being made?

There have been widespread reports of certain types of air conditioning units connected to a GFCI device not being compatible with the GFCI protection, which causes the GFCI device to trip. This incompatibility poses a substantial risk to the health and safety of all Texans who rely on air conditioning, especially during the summer months.

What does this change mean for electricians and air conditioning and refrigeration contractors?

Beginning May 20, 2021, neither electrical contractors nor air conditioning and refrigeration contractors will be required to comply with the requirement of Section 210.8(F) of GFCI protection for certain outdoor outlets until January 1, 2023.

A code-compliant installation, with emphasis on a proper bonding of the equipment to the equipment grounding conductor and to the electrical grounding system, will ensure electrical safety for fault conditions, even when terminated to a normal overcurrent protection device.

2020 National Electrical Code Became Effective November 1, 2020

The Texas Electrical Safety and Licensing Act requires the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) to adopt the revised National Electrical Code (NEC) as the electrical code for the state of Texas. On June 30, 2020, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation, which oversees TDLR, adopted amendments to Chapter 73.100 of the Electricians administrative rules and established the 2020 NEC as the "minimum standard" for all electrical work in Texas covered by the Act.

Chapter 1305.201 of the Act provides municipalities the authority to make local amendments to the 2020 NEC; 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."

Any non-exempt electrical work started on or after November 1, 2020 must be installed in accordance with the 2020 NEC. For purposes of clarification, the “start” of electrical work is the day the electrician begins installing electrical materials or equipment within the residential or commercial building structure. Inside the corporate limits of a municipality, electricians must abide by city permitting requirements and adhere to any local code amendments.

Beginning November 1, 2020, all examinations for state electrical licenses will be based on the 2020 NEC. The state electrical exams are available through PSI, who has contracted with TDLR to develop, maintain, and administer the state electrician licensing examinations. It is important for license candidates to review the Candidate Information Bulletin (CIB) which contains detailed information regarding the examinations and is vital to understanding the process.

Questions? Contact TDLR at cs.electricians@tdlr.texas.gov or call 800-803-9202.

COVID-19: Continuing Education Waived

TDLR continuing education requirements are waived for all individual licenses expiring in March, April, and May 2020. Licensees still need to submit their renewal applications, pay the required fees, and TDLR will check their criminal histories, but they will not need to complete any TDLR-required continuing education this licensing cycle. (§51.405, Occupations Code)

Note: TDLR is not authorized to waive continuing education requirements imposed by a certifying or credentialing entity other than TDLR. If a certifying entity requires continuing education to maintain certification, and certification is required for Texas licensure, then that continuing education must be completed. If the certifying entity waives continuing education or allows it to be completed on a delayed basis due to COVID-19, then you may follow the certifying entity’s policy.

Please check the TDLR COVID-19 webpage for the most up-to-date information.

Conducting Residential Electrical Inspections

Learn more about conducting electrical inspections in this white paper issued by the National Fire Protection Association. Read More (PDF)

Residential Appliance Installers Authorized Scope of Work and Service – Pool-Related Electrical Devices

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) hereby provides additional scope of work and service guidance to political subdivisions, residential appliance installer license (RAIL) holders, and related stakeholders regarding pool and spa work settings.  Holders of a RAIL license may:

  • Install, uninstall, or replace pool-related electrical devices including underwater lights, ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), pumps, motors, heaters, automation systems, and related equipment on the “load-side” of the control-center while maintaining National Electrical Code compliance. However, if the system requires a new or upgraded “line-circuit,” only a licensed electrical contractor with a designated master electrician may offer to perform that work.
  • Install or add pool-related electrical devices to an existing pool that do not require an increase in amperage or access to a main breaker panel. For example, a RAIL holder may install salt systems, a time clock or similar automation equipment, a variable speed motor, or ultraviolet or ozone equipment.
  • Install, uninstall, or replace pool-related electrical devices that use direct or alternating current. 

In addition, a residential appliance dealer or manufacturer, or a person authorized by a dealer or manufacturer, may perform maintenance and repair of a pool-related electrical device. However, maintenance and repair may be performed using only components of the same type and ampacity as the original components.[1]

The above services and work scope, if performed by a RAIL holder as outlined, would be in accordance with TDLR requirements and may be deemed eligible for applicable governmental, vendor, or manufacturer rebates sought by consumers. 

[1] See Texas Occupations Code § 1305.003(a)(22).


Advisory Board Meetings

September 8, 2021

The Electrical Safety and Licensing Advisory Board met September 8, 2021 via videoconference. The agenda and staff reports are available online. The meeting was archived and is available on TDLR's YouTube channel.