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Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
e57 Offline OP
For those who have not heard yet, all employees of C-10 contractors must be "certified" by the state DAS to work as "electricians" in California by Jan 1 2005. (Any employee who does any work of any kind, on systems 100VA or more, so no the secretary does not need to be, but it wouldn't hurt. [Linked Image] )

This is an issue I have followed for some time, and have been e-mailing, writing, and calling about it for some time now. (In my endless spare time....)

Anyway, I finally got some additional information about some un-answered questions today, from one of the main figures in the program, Jeanie Kaatz at the DAS.

Two of the questions I asked were:

Will the law be enforced on the January 1 2005 date, as the staticics of the program are very low? (Only 7500 Electricians in the whole state of California right now?????)

- Answer: 'The Law will be enforceable on Jan 1, 2005 unless it is postponed in the next DAS Council Meeting.' (Which she did not seem to think that it would be an issue. ?????????)

How will the law be enforced, and by whom?

Answer: 'The Law will be enforced by "insurability".' "Insurance providers will be asking for certification before they renew your policy" Meaning Workmen's Comp, and Liability Insurance Companies will require documentation of certification.

What this all means, is that soon, the Electrical Trade in California will change, for better or worse, but it will change. In two months!

For more information about this do a search with "Electrician Certification California" or hit this site:

Or this one:

[This message has been edited by e57 (edited 10-05-2004).]

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 86
We have certification in Wisconsin. I think it has gone well except for the fact that we not only pay for a state license but each and every city, town, or village also requires a yearly license. $30.00 here, $40.00 there, $100.00 over there, $150.00 in that city. It all adds up to a hefty amount of bucks each year. Now imagine having the chance to do a job in a small burg that charges $150.00 for there initial license and $50.00 for a minimum permit fee. You have $200.00 invested before you even look at the job. I think a state license fee is fine but local fees should be included in the permit fees so we all start on the same level when looking at a job. Would be great if our state required the insurance proof for our certification. Would eliminate a lot of the side jobbers with state licenses competing with full time small contractors.

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 98
What took them so long?

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
e57 Offline OP
Wisconsin sounds like highway robbery. So is that every employee sits for a test in each town too?

For California this is a totaly new thing for us. And a huge monumental change. But a test and then money from every employee every three years. The Contractor / employer will still get the permits, buisiness lic in every juridiction and his Contractors lic for the state for the company as a whole. Before it was just the employer responcabilty / liability.

The goal of this law is to mandate "approved apprenticeship" as the only entrance to the trade. Certification is only a method of dealing with the 10's of thousands of us that did not go through "approved appreticeship" programs until we die off. Any employee who does not qualify for, and take the test by the new year, can not work, or must apply, and register as being applied to an "approved apprenticeship program" in order to remain working under some restrictions. (IBEW/JATC or ABC) No more OJT, DiTech, HS Voc. School, Community College, Military Experiance, or teaching your son the trade.

[This message has been edited by e57 (edited 10-06-2004).]

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
That Wisconsin think is a ripoff.

At least here in Ill, we have reciprocity. Of course, we only have about 20 or so towns that offer licensure, but once you're listed, you're golden.

Occasionally a town will "register" you w/proof of license from another municipality - it's usually a nominal fee (<$10).

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,291
The 7,500 electricians for CA are only about 10% or less of the estimated workforce. This is absolutely pitiful.
I've heard many, many "reasons" (excuses) for people not applying for certification. The only one I haven't heard is "I'm afraid I won't pass". [Linked Image]

The bright side to the apathy? [Linked Image]

The 7,500 certified will have 10 times the work!! That's 80 hr days, folks...Overtime after 8 hrs...Double time after 12..Oh boy, Mark, we're in the $$ now!! [Linked Image] [Linked Image]
(How's that for typical electure-logic? No wonder I'm not a Nuclear Physicist)

Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 79
Hey e57, thanx 4 the right to the heart answers to questions many of us have. I live in southern Illinois and have been following California's creeping up deadline that seems that is going almost unnoticed. I called them wondering about the same concerns. At our last IEC meeting, it was stated that the state of Illinois is expected to hopefully pass the "Illinois Electricians Act" in fall session. The draft has been re-written to accommodate those who had issues with the way it was drafted last year when it died. From what we have heard, it is expected to pass. Thanx for the great info. It is definately time that we who have put so much in learning to do it "right", to be amply and I mean amply compensated!

Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 349
I'm taking an exam prep class and will soon take the test. What is amazing is that at this very late date, we had 32 signups for the class, and only 15 showed up. A couple have had to drop since the class started, so we're down to 12 or 13. And 90% of the trade still needs to take the exam.

Many job calls down at the hall have been "License Only" for some months now. So, what are people thinking?


[This message has been edited by Radar (edited 10-08-2004).]

There are 10 types of people. Those who know binary, and those who don't.
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
e57 Offline OP
I'm going to do my best not to get too political about it here. But, this REALLY confuses me. The IBEW created, lobbied for and promoted this law, got it passed, and now it seems they have dropped it like a hot metal halide lamp? I do not get it! The numbers of certifications should at least reflect thier numbers.

Most non-union guys have know idea it even exists, it is a suprise to them when I bring it up. As this is an apprenticeship law essentially, it falls to the DIR/DAS for enforcement (Which hase a new department for "enforcement", although it is not clear what they do yet. ) And the CSLB has remained hands off all but entirely, although they handle all other aspects of the construction industry licensing and enforcment.

ABC the non-union side of this seems to also be in the dark here too.

Yet, when I brought it up to Jeanie Kaatz there, I mentioned the low numbers, she made like this next meeting (October 20 - 22, 2004) was no big deal, and that it was full steam ahead. 'But there is only 7500 electricians in the state!' - 'Well, people will come around...'

I do not get it....

We already have one Inspector here in SF that will ask for cards while he's at the job, after the new year he says. That's going to be a rude awakening for some. If he says "Are you "Certified"? and they say, "Uh, Yeah!"
§294.0. Enforcement

Any person who displays a certificate, or otherwise claims to be certified, who is not certified shall be prohibited from taking the test for certification for a period of five (5) years.

NOTE Authority cited: Section 3099, Labor Code. References: Section 3099, Labor Code.
For those of us who either have, or want to start a small shop, this type of uncertainy is not encouraging news. Seeing that your helper is going to want, and get a determined % of prevailing wage. As another law now requires apprentices, for public, and private work to be paid a pay and benifits package 40-80% of state mandated prevailing wage schedules. (1st year 40%, 2nd 50%, 3rd 60%, 4th 70% 5th 80%) As your employees who can not prove 8000 hrs of experiance can not sit for the certification test must become apprentices. 4800 hrs for residential, and they are limited to only working residential! So of course the Journeyman will want and get more. And, you can have only two apprentices (Edit: only one per journeyman, as stated in 3099.4(A)3.) directly supervised by each Journeyman by law.

Yes, electure, we will be in the money, as employees. But if you have or want employees (like I do) as a C-10 contractor, you will soon have some problems. A "B" license can pull electrical permits, and pay his guys minimum wage to do electrical work, how do you compete with that? And, if our prices are high, it will make the unlicensed look like a better deal to many. The enforcement of that is pityfull! So, we may not be in the money just yet.

Ok, I'm starting to rant, and better stop....

[This message has been edited by e57 (edited 10-10-2004).]

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 558
I have said all along that this certification program has nothing to do with safety. If it did why are employees of general contractors, HVAC contractors, landscape contractors, etc. not required to be certified? This certification is definitely going to encourage the use of unqualified people performing electrical work. If they would require ALL electricians to be certified regardless of what type of contractor they work for I would be for it. I am a C-10 contractor and much of our work is wiring large high-end homes. If I’m forced to raise rates substantially the GC’s we work for will not be willing to pay the increase and will have their own employees do the work. How will this improve safety?

Another web site with more info is F.L.A.C.

Mark, last I heard the building departments did not want to be responsible for enforcing this. I wonder if this inspector has the right to ask the electricians if they are certified. Will an apprentice have to carry a card that says he or she is an apprentice? What about the owners of merit shops that work in the field such as me. I’m not required to be certified so what’s he going to do to me? In my opinion electrical and building inspectors should not be allowed to get involved with enforcement of this law.


Curt Swartz
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