Board of State Examiners of Electricians Meetings

MSCA’s legislative agents attend the Board of State Examiners of Electricians meetings,
including the subcommittee reviewing the thermostat issue, and report the following summaries.

February 26, 2018 Meeting at 1000 Washington Street, Boston MA
Systems Interpretations (thermostats)
MSCA member ADT requested that MSCA submit a question to the board regarding whether someone holding a C/D license is allowed to install thermostats and program these new devices, protocols, and communications platforms which are an integral part of systems work.

MSCA had a strong showing at the meeting including Wells Sampson from American Alarm, David Wescott from Instant Alarm, Ernie Parent from ACP Security, Deb White from Wayne Alarm, Holly Borgmann and Tom Lee from ADT, and Dan Goodman from Building 36 /, who designed the innovative smart thermostat which allows for a simple and foolproof upgrade designed to be easy enough for a homeowner. There was a lively conversation on both sides of the issue.

In support, Board members discussed that the laws and CMRs have not kept up with the technology that members work with now. In many cases, this kind of work is being completed by heating companies done without permits or inspections. C and D licensees are already educated for this type of work.

Some on the board recognized that the wires connected to the thermostat were low voltage, though connected to higher voltage wires in the heating system. In their opinion, therefore, only an A/B licensee should be completing the work. A large part of the discussion centered around what kind of “system” this thermostat would tie into. It does become an integral part of the security system that a C/D licensee works on anyway, but also it is part of a heating system which does not fall under the scope of work of a C/D licensee.

Action: A subcommittee was appointed comprised of representatives from a variety of interests in the matter. The systems contractors will be represented by MSCA member and Electrical Board member George Condon, and the subcommittee will be chaired by the public board member, Ellen Dorian. The first meeting date is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday March 20th at 9:30 am in room 1C, but most likely will take place in March.

Education Subcommittee Inquiry
An individual with a C/D license had been teaching C/D code, and was looking for renewal on his authority to teach. According to the CMRs, can this individual teach, or is it supposed to be only a journeyman teaching any code? The CMR refers to “electricians” teaching continuing education, but there was concern about whether that included C/D licensees.
Action: Counsel is going to review and interpret the CMR for the next Board meeting, taking into the decades old precedent of C/D providers approved by the Electrical Board teaching C/D license renewal classes and also classroom training required for licensure.

March 26, 2018 Meeting at MA Firefighting Academy, 1 State Road, Stow MA
Wire Inspectors Issuing Permits
A question will come before the Board from the Board of Fire Prevention Regulations regarding whether a wire inspector in a city or town could deny a permit solely if the licensee was not present at the time of inspection. The question will be discussed in March.

CMR Subcommittee Report
The subcommittee has been reviewing and revising education and work experience expiration clauses in the regulations based on continued legal challenges in adhering to them as well as past statements of members indicating a desire to change them. Note: MSCA is doing everything possible to facilitate more C/D license holders entering the trade due to the severe chronic shortage, so MSCA supports extending the time limits for credit for classroom education.

April 23, 2018 Meeting at 1000 Washington Street, Boston MA
Criminal Justice Bill Impact
Counsel is hoping for clarification over the next few months as this new law goes into effect.
The recent crime bill requires that a board/commission tells candidates for licensure what crimes would make them ineligible to obtain a license. DPL is trying to be proactive and get clarification from the administration on the intent of this language. Counsel is hoping for clarification, or a list of disqualifying crimes, over the next few months as this new law goes into effect.

New Subcommittee: Planning and Research
Attempt compile laws and regulations in other states to find best practices. MGLs are outdated and need updating. Members: Kathleen Guinee (Chair), John Bagni, Paul Malagrifa

CMR Subcommittee
Likely updating the full board on one regulation change proposal in June.

May 21, 2018 at Westfield Technical Academy, Westfield MA
Electrical Unit will to be 100% eLicensing (paperless) by June 1, 2018

Exam Update
Board will work to review exam questions and make changes. They’re pulling together a group of experts to fully review and recommend updates.

CMR Subcommittee
A proposal for an updated CMR will be announced at the June meeting.

Education Subcommittee
No meeting until June.
Interpretations Subcommittee
Proposals will be announced at the June meeting.

Planning and Research Subcommittee
No meeting until June

May 15 Interpretations Subcommittee at 1000 Washington Street, Boston MA
Subcommittee Conclusions
1. The word “systems” has multiple uses in the law and regulations. There are inconsistencies present. The Interpretations Subcommittee asks that the CMR Subcommittee reviews the use of the word in the regulations so that there can be greater consistency.

2. There are too many varying “systems” that make it impossible to propose a blanket guideline on all low voltage wired or wireless systems. The subcommittee needs more direction from the full board. Should they wait for specific questions as they arise on an ongoing basis? The courts generally seem to prefer a strict interpretation of the laws as written. The Interpretations Subcommittee asks the Research Committee to review the descriptions of scope in other states.

3. Specifically on thermostats, the subcommittee makes a recommendation for the following advisory:

Thermostats are devices which control heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment by utilizing a thermometer that triggers electrical switches which activate or deactivate the equipment to maintain temperature at a specified level. As such, these devices are governed by the licensure requirements of M.G.L. C. 141, 1A. They are not stand-alone, rather they are component parts of an HVAC System. HVAC Systems have many components requiring overcurrent protection due to design and construction. Accordingly, HVAC systems cannot be construed as inherently power limited systems as defined in M.G.L. C. 141, 1. Due to this limitation, the only individuals able to legally install thermostats in Massachusetts are licensed journeyman electricians. However, in light of their extensive qualifications, the Board reserves the right not to impose disciplinary action against a systems technician who, without altering the wires or other settings, removes a thermostat installed by a journeyman electrician and replaces it with a “smart” thermostat which can wirelessly communicate with a security or fire warning system installed by the systems technician, especially in light of the fact that said security or fire warning systems must be installed per a valid permit pursuant to M.G.L. c. 143, 3L and 237 CMR 18.01(4).

However, in light of licensed systems technician’s extensive qualifications, the Board will allow a licensed Systems Technician, without altering the wiring or other settings, to remove a thermostat installed by a journeyman electrician and preplace it with a “smart” thermostat which can wirelessly connect with a security or fire warning system installed by the licensed Systems Technician. Thermostat replacements, as well as any security or fire warning system being installed, shall be subject to the permitting requirements
of M.G.L. c. 143 3L and 237 CMR 18.01(4).

June 26, 2018 at 1000 Washington Street, Boston MA
Electrical Unit is 100% eLicensing (paperless) as of June 1, 2018, though they are still collecting email addresses from all license holders and populating the system. The website has been updated for renewal and reciprocity licenses Still in the process of removing .pdf files from website for Certified Statements, Wall Certificates, Reinstatements, Corporate Applications and Duplicate Licenses. Starting September 2018 there will be email blasts from the BSEE to all license holders with 1. Reminder to link license(s) 2. Reminder to ensure that their CE certs have been uploaded by their providers 3. Reminder that renewal cycle starts March 1, 2019. Email reminders will be sent to renew license(s) 4. Email notifications for other important board information and notices

Exam Pass Rates by School
The BSEE is beginning monthly reports for the Board on pass/fail rates by school. They want to start collecting data to see if there are a disproportionate amounts of failure at certain locations.

Inspectors of Wire Database Update
The BSEE is updating list of all Inspectors of Wire in the commonwealth to populate a data base with all municipal contact information. All IOW licenses will be designated as such. IOW must submit all additional 6 hour continuing education certificates to board for renewal. Board will develop better communication with IOW. In September 2018 Executive Director Alfonso will meet with IAEI Organizations and MEIA Organizations to determine best ways to bring them information from the board.

CMR Subcommittee
Proposal submitted and approved to start full regulatory update process.

This proposal would amend 237 CMR 13 for all licenses amending the work credit that can be accepted from 6 years prior to licensure application to 20 years prior to licensure application. A public hearing and full DPL review will occur before changes are final.

Education Subcommittee
Meeting June 12th – full recap delayed until next meeting when Chair is at full meeting.

Interpretations Subcommittee
Counsel for the Board was involved in a different project in the building on that day, so the vote on the proposal was tabled until the July meeting.

Planning and Research Committee Subcommittee
Meeting June 19th, 2018 – beginning to compile relevant laws and regulations.

Exam Revision Update
Panel of Subject Matter Experts organized. All members in team have signed a confidentiality agreements. The first meeting will be June 27th in person. This is a closed meeting. NH Board reviews exam questions at the beginning of new code cycle for changes. No members from the NH Board are on the exam review panel.