Proposed Administrative Rules
Chapter 73. Electricians
Proposal Filed: July 12, 2021 – Published in the Texas Register: July 23, 2021
Deadline for Public Comment: August 23, 2021
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The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Department) proposes amendments to an existing rule at 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 73, §73.100, regarding the Electricians Program. These proposed changes are referred to as the “proposed rule.”
EXPLANATION OF AND JUSTIFICATION FOR THE RULE
The rules under 16 TAC Chapter 73 implement Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1305, Electricians.
Pursuant to Occupations Code, Chapter 1305, §1305.101(a)(2), the Commission is required to adopt the National Electrical Code (NEC) every three years “as the electrical code for the state.” The Commission has adopted the 2020 NEC in its entirety by rule at 16 TAC, Chapter 73, §73.100, Technical Requirements. Section 90.4 of the 2020 NEC authorizes the Department to waive specific code requirements when doing so will not have a negative impact on safety.
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. The approaching summer heat poses a serious threat to Texas residents whose air-conditioning systems have failed or are malfunctioning. Adopting the proposed rule would help keep Texas residents safe by ensuring installed air-conditioning systems are not subject to failure due to equipment incompatibility. Additionally, the Department’s technical experts have confirmed that adopting the proposed rule would not have a negative impact on safety.
The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation (Commission), the Department’s governing body, adopted this rule on an emergency basis at its May 18, 2021, meeting. The rule became effective on May 20, 2021, and will remain in effect for 120 days unless renewed pursuant to Section 2001.034 of the Government Code. The text of the emergency rule is identical to that of the proposed rule.
The proposed rule was presented to and discussed by the Electrical Safety and Licensing Advisory Board at its meeting on July 2, 2021. The Advisory Board did not make any changes to the proposed rule. The Advisory Board voted and recommended that the proposed rule be published in the Texas Register for public comment.
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 NEC is not required until January 1, 2023. It is widely expected that manufacturers of both electrical and air conditioning equipment will have resolved the compatibility issues by this date, at which point the danger to Texas residents will subside.
FISCAL IMPACT ON STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Tony Couvillon, Policy Research and Budget Analyst, has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed rule is in effect, enforcing or administering the proposed rule does not have foreseeable implications relating to costs or revenues of state or local governments.
LOCAL EMPLOYMENT IMPACT STATEMENT
As Mr. Couvillon has determined that the proposed rule will not affect the local economy, the agency is not required to prepare a local employment impact statement under Government Code §2001.022.
Mr. Couvillon also has determined that for each year of the first five-year period the proposed rule is in effect, the public benefits will be increased safety for the public and reduced costs to consumers for service calls related to inoperable equipment.
PROBABLE ECONOMIC COSTS TO PERSONS REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH PROPOSAL
Mr. Couvillon has determined that for each year of the first five-year period the proposed rule is in effect, there are no anticipated economic costs to persons who are required to comply with the proposed rule.
FISCAL IMPACT ON SMALL BUSINESSES, MICRO-BUSINESSES, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES
There will be no adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities as a result of the proposed rule. Since the agency has determined that the proposed rule will have no adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities, preparation of an Economic Impact Statement and a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, as detailed under Texas Government Code §2006.002, are not required.
ONE-FOR-ONE REQUIREMENT FOR RULES WITH A FISCAL IMPACT
The proposed rule does not have a fiscal note that imposes a cost on regulated persons, including another state agency, a special district, or a local government. Therefore, the agency is not required to take any further action under Government Code §2001.0045.
GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT STATEMENT
Pursuant to Government Code §2001.0221, the agency provides the following Government Growth Impact Statement for the proposed rule. For each year of the first five years the proposed rule will be in effect, the agency has determined the following:
- The proposed rule does not create or eliminate a government program.
- Implementation of the proposed rule does not require the creation of new employee positions or the elimination of existing employee positions.
- Implementation of the proposed rule does not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency.
- The proposed rule does not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency.
- The proposed rule does not create a new regulation.
- The proposed rule expands, limits, or repeals an existing regulation. The proposed rule removes the applicability of Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC and thus limits an existing regulation.
- The proposed rule does not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to the rules’ applicability.
- The proposed rule does not positively or adversely affect this state's economy.
TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT
The Department has determined that no private real property interests are affected by the proposed rule and the proposed rule does not restrict, limit, or impose a burden on an owner’s rights to his or her private real property that would otherwise exist in the absence of government action. As a result, the proposed rule does not constitute a taking or require a takings impact assessment under Government Code §2007.043.
Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted electronically on the Department’s website at https://ga.tdlr.texas.gov:1443/form/gcerules; by facsimile to (512) 475-3032; or by mail to Monica Nuñez, Legal Assistant, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, P.O. Box 12157, Austin, Texas 78711. The deadline for comments is 30 days after publication in the Texas Register.
The proposed rule is proposed under Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 1305, which authorize the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation, the Department’s governing body, to adopt rules as necessary to implement these chapters and any other law establishing a program regulated by the Department.
The statutory provisions affected by the proposed rule are those set forth in Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 1305. No other statutes, articles, or codes are affected by the proposed rule.
- 73.100. Technical requirements.
(a) Effective November 1, 2020, the department adopts the 2020 National Electrical Code as approved by the National Fire Protection Association, Inc. on August 25, 2019.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), compliance with Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 National Electrical Code is not required until January 1, 2023.
REVIEW BY AGENCY COUNSEL
The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency’s legal authority to adopt.
Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State, on July 12, 2021.
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation