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Electrical Currents Newsletter September 2021

Highlights of this month’s newsletter include:

  • Temporary allowance for virtual basic trainee classes continue
  • Temporary allowance continues for trainees to work while completing classroom training
  • Fees for after-hours inspections
  • When must a trainee submit experience hours to the department

Source: Electrical Currents Newsletter September 2021

Wayne Molesworth, Chief Electrical Inspector

Vol. 24  No. 9 September 2021

Safety Tip of the Month

Fire season is here!

Be aware of your surroundings

Avoid parking in tall grass; your exhaust may start a fire.

Be sure safety chains on trailer hitches are short and do not drag on the ground causing sparks.

Be prepared; carry a fire extinguisher, shovel, and a bucket in case you have to help put out a fire.

Question of the Month

You are installing EMT with listed rain tight compression couplings and XHHW–2 conductors on the roof of an office building to supply power to an HVAC heat pump. Is an equipment grounding conductor required to be provided within the raceway?

See correct answer on Page 2

Temporary Allowance for Virtual Basic Trainee Classes Continue

In June 2020 we announced temporary allowances so approved classroom training providers could provide their classes through internet-based instruction platforms.

Here is a recap of the guidelines that are still in effect.

  1. Trainees and instructors must continuously interact in real time by live audio and video during the entire period of instruction and by live video during competency examinations.
  2. Providers must:
  3. a) Allow department oversight by sending an invitation to for every internet trainee class. Invitations must include: a hyperlink to join the class, any passwords, L&I issued course approval number, class agenda (name of class and instructor, date of class, starting time, ending time, breaks, etc.) b) Limit class size to fifteen students or less
  4. c) Verify student identity using government issued photo identification.

We do not know when this  temporary allowance will  end. It likely will end after normal classroom education can safely resume. We will obtain advice from the Electrical Board and industry stakeholders before we announce an end date. We will provide plenty of advanced notice of that date in this newsletter..

Temporary Allowance Continues for Trainees to Work While Completing Classroom Training

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge the ability of trainees to complete the required classroom education to renew their certificates. Temporary measures remain in place to increase availability of education during this time.

The temporary allowance allows trainees to work while in expired status for 90 days after their expiration date while completing their required classroom training.

If required training is not completed within the additional time allowed, trainees cannot lawfully work in the electrical trade and their hours of experience cannot be counted. The trainee will need a properly renewed (active) training certificate. This temporary allowance does not remove the fees for a late renewal or add time to the deadline for turning in affidavits of experience.

Trainees – Do not wait until the last minute to complete educational requirements! You can find class providers on the list of approved basic trainee classes at the Basic Classroom Instruction & Continuing Education page of our website.

This document may contain hyperlinks to internet web pages. To access this PDF document online, go to:   

Electrical Section Internet Address: – Select Licensing & Permits, then Electrical

Page 1 of 2


Fees for After-Hours Inspections

Occasionally, a customer requires an inspection outside the normal business hours of 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Such inspections must be pre-arranged with the  electrical inspection supervisor near you or Virtual Electrical Inspection supervisor if you are using that service. For inspections outside of normal business hours, fees apply in addition to regular permit fees. If an after-hours inspection is pre-arranged 24 or more hours (before noon of the previous working day) in advance, the fee for the inspection will be the portal-to-portal hourly rate specified in WAC 29646B-906(11) in addition to the regular permit fee.

For Inspections where the department has not been given at least 24 hours’ notice, the fee will be the portal-to-portal fee plus the after-hours surcharge of WAC 296-46B-906(5)(f) (currently $125.40), plus the regular permit fee. These fees are not available online and must be paid at a service location or as a fee due issued by an inspector.

The exception to this rule is for temporary stage or concert inspections only, which will be the greater of the permit fee from WAC 296-46B-906(3), or the portal-to-portal hourly fee; in addition to the short-notice surcharge if applicable.

When Must a Trainee Submit Experience Hours to the Department?

If not registered in a department-approved apprenticeship, affidavits of experience are eligible for consideration if received by the department no more than 180 days from the expiration date of the associated training certificate. The expiration date closest to the period claimed on the affidavit is the date used to determine eligibility.

Time is not your friend when it comes to justifying hours and types of experience – employers go out of business, supervising electricians, and administrators move on. Too often, trainees end up with no one to vouch for their experience or records to support it. The law addresses this problem. RCW 19.28.161(2) requires training certificates to be renewed every two years. At the time of renewal, the holder of a training certificate is required by law to provide the department with an accurate list of the holder’s employers for the previous two-year period and the number of hours worked for each employer.

Find out more about all this and our easy to use one page affidavit here:

Ugly Picture of the Month:

If viewing this document online, click on the picture to open a larger image. After a fire in the living room, started by the fireplace, a restoration company asked an electrical contractor to check out this service. With no main breaker and a NEMA 1 enclosure outdoors it is a wonder that there were not problems before. Luckily the electrical contractor did not have the service energized, but rather replaced it and repaired the damaged circuits.


Answer to Question of the Month:

WAC 296-46B-358(2) says, “Where electrical metallic tubing is installed in wet locations, an equipment grounding conductor must be provided within the raceway sized per NEC 250.122.

This document may contain hyperlinks to internet web pages. To access this PDF document online, go to:

Electrical Section Internet Address: – Select Licensing & Permits, then Electrical

This document is available in alternative formats to accommodate persons with disabilities. For assistance, call 1-800-547-8367. (TDD/TTY users, please call 360-902-5797.) Labor & Industries is an Equal Opportunity employer.

Vol. 24   No. 9  September 2021                                                  Page 2 of 2

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