NEW JERSEY REGISTER
Proposed New Rule: N.J.A.C. 13:31-4.3
Authorized By: New Jersey Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors, Barbara A. Cook, Executive Director.
Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:5A-6 and 45:5A-18. Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement. Proposal Number: PRN 2003-434.
Submit comments by December 19, 2003 to:
Barbara A. Cook, Executive Director
New Jersey Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors
124 Halsey Street
PO Box 45006
Newark, New Jersey 07101
The agency proposal follows:
Pursuant to its general rulemaking authority set forth at N.J.S.A. 45:5A-6, the New Jersey Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors (the Board) is proposing a new rule at N.J.A.C. 13:31-4.3, to provide guidance to members of the regulated community and to the general public concerning certain activities which may be performed without a license. The Electrical Contractor Licensing Act (the Act), P.L. 1962, c.162, N.J.S.A. 45:5A-1 et seq., at N.J.S.A. 45:5A-18(c) provides that testing, servicing or repairing of electrical equipment or apparatus shall not be included within the definition of electrical contracting and, therefore, may be performed without the securing of a business permit. The Board is proposing the new rule in order to eliminate confusion regarding the activities that may be performed under the exemption set forth at N.J.S.A. 45:5A-18(c). Specifically, the Board is aware that unlicensed individuals are currently replacing ballasts, believing that such conduct falls within the statutory exemption for repairing electrical equipment or apparatus. The replacement of ballasts, which are components of electric- discharge lamps that are used to provide the starting voltage or to stabilize the current in such lamps, however, fall outside the scope of ordinary servicing or repairing of electrical equipment contemplated by the Act. The replacement of ballasts is an inherently dangerous activity for persons not properly trained in electrical contracting because such activity requires the disconnection of live electrical wires. Ballast replacements performed by unlicensed persons have resulted in serious injuries and, in some instances death, to such persons in the past. Therefore, in order to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the general public, the Board is proposing the new rule in order to clarify that the replacement of ballasts is not included within the statutory exemption authorizing unlicensed individuals to test, service or repair electrical equipment or apparatus. Such work, therefore, must be performed by a licensed electrical contractor.
Subsection (a) of proposed new rule N.J.A.C. 13:31-4.3 provides definitions for the terms that are used throughout the new rule. The Board has defined "electrical equipment and apparatus" to mean utilization equipment (that is, equipment that utilizes electric energy for electronic, electromechanical, chemical, heating or lighting purposes), other than electric signs, that are connected to a branch circuit (that is, the circuit conductor between the final overcurrent device protecting the circuit and the outlet). Definitions for the terms "branch circuit" and "utilization equipment" are taken from the most recent edition of the National Electrical Code, and the definition of "ballast" is taken from the Illuminating Engineering Society Lighting Handbook, in order to ensure consistency in how the terms are used in the industry. In addition, the Board has defined the phrase "servicing or repairing" to mean restoring or improving electrical equipment or apparatus by replacing components of the equipment or apparatus that are worn or broken, such that the equipment or apparatus, once serviced or repaired, conforms to original manufacturer specifications. "Servicing and repairing" is further defined to exclude the replacement of ballasts. "Testing" is defined as using procedures to determine the proper operation of the electrical equipment or apparatus to isolate the components of the equipment that are no longer working.
Subsection (b) of the new rule reiterates the statutory exemption set forth in N.J.S.A. 45:5A-18(c) and provides that testing, servicing and repairing of electrical equipment or apparatus, as defined in the new rule, shall be exempt from the license and business permit requirements of N.J.S.A. 45:5A- 9(a).
The Board has determined that the comment period for this proposal shall be 60 days. Therefore, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5, this proposal is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement.
The Board believes that the proposed new rule will have a positive impact upon New Jersey citizens by ensuring that only those individuals who have sufficient knowledge and experience working in the business of electrical contracting will be permitted to replace ballasts, thus safeguarding the health, safety and welfare of the general public. In addition, the proposed new rule may have a positive impact upon persons who engage in testing, servicing or repairing of electrical equipment as part of their employment, to the extent that the new rule will clarify what activities they may perform consistent with the statutory exemption set forth at N.J.S.A. 45:5A-18(c).
The proposed new rule may have an economic impact upon persons who have performed ballast replacements in the past, believing that such conduct could be performed without an electrical contracting business permit and license, to the extent that such conduct is now expressly unauthorized. The Board cannot anticipate the costs to such persons of complying with the proposed new rule, but the Board believes that such costs, if any, are outweighed by the need to protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public in the provision of electrical contracting services.
Federal Standards Statement
A Federal standards analysis is not required because the proposed new rule is governed by N.J.S.A. 45:5A-1 et seq., and is not subject to any Federal standards or requirements.
The Board does not believe that the proposed new rule will have an impact upon jobs in the State.
Agriculture Industry Impact
The Board does not believe that the proposed new rule will have any impact on the agriculture industry of the State.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
The Regulatory Flexibility Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq., requires the Board to give a description of the types and an estimate of the number of small businesses to which the proposed new rule will apply. Currently, the Board has approximately 9,550 active licensees and approximately 6,600 permit holders. If, for purposes of the Act, Board licensees and permit holders are considered "small businesses" within the meaning of the Act, then the following analysis applies.
The Act requires the Board to set forth the reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the proposed new rule, including the kinds of professional services likely to be needed to comply with the requirements. The Act further requires the Board to estimate the initial and annual compliance costs of the proposed new rule, to outline the manner in which it has designed the proposed new rule to minimize any adverse economic impact upon small businesses and to set forth whether the proposed new rule establishes differing compliance requirements for small businesses.
The proposed new rule does not impose reporting, recordkeeping or compliance requirements upon licensees or permit holders. The proposed new rule does impose compliance requirements upon persons performing work under the statutory exemption set forth at N.J.S.A. 45:5A-18(c), to the extent that such persons are prohibited from replacing ballasts.
No additional professional services will be needed to comply with the proposed new rule, nor will the proposed new rule impose any additional compliance costs upon licensees and permit holders. The cost of compliance with the proposed new rule for unlicensed persons is discussed in the Economic Impact statement above. Because the Board believes that the proposed new rule will further the health, safety, and welfare of the general public, the rule will be uniformly applied and, therefore, the Board has not provided differing compliance requirements for any licensees or permit holders based upon the size of the business.
Smart Growth Impact
The Board does not believe that the proposed new rule will have any impact upon the achievement of smart growth or upon the implementation of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.
Full text of the proposed new rule follows:
<< NJ ADC 13:31-4.3 >>
13:31-4.3 Testing, servicing or repairing of electrical equipment or apparatus exemption
(a) For purposes of this section, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Ballast" means a component of an electric-discharge lamp used to obtain the necessary circuit conditions for starting and operating the electric-discharge lamp.
"Branch circuit" means the circuit conductor between the final overcurrent device protecting the circuit and the outlet(s).
"Electrical equipment or apparatus" means utilization equipment, other than electric signs, that are connected to a branch circuit.
"Servicing or repairing" means restoration or improvement of electrical equipment or apparatus by replacing a component of the electrical equipment or apparatus that is worn or broken such that the electrical equipment or apparatus, once serviced or repaired, conforms to the manufacturer's original specifications. "Servicing or repairing" shall not be construed to permit the replacement of ballasts.
"Testing" means procedures used to determine proper operation of electric equipment or apparatus or to isolate non-functioning components of such equipment or apparatus.
"Utilization equipment" means equipment that utilizes electric energy for electronic, electromechanical, chemical, heating, lighting or similar purpose.
(b) Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:5A-18(c), testing, servicing or repairing of electrical equipment or apparatus, consistent with the provisions of this section, shall be exempt from the license and business permit requirements of N.J.S.A. 45:5A-9(a).