SNOW HILL – The Worcester County Commissioners will not pursue changes to the county’s electrical standards despite a homeowner’s request.
The commissioners last week opted not to move forward with changes proposed by Worcester County resident Kyle Pilchard. Pilchard wanted the county to bring back the homeowner’s electrical permits that were eliminated in 2017.
“I understand what Mr. Pilchard was saying unfortunately we have people that become owners of houses and then flip them and in that case they’re selling that house that may or may not have had the proper electrical installation done,” Commissioner Joe Mitrecic said.
In 2017, county officials eliminated homeowner’s electrical permits in an effort to ensure that electrical work was being done by qualified contractors. Pilchard, who became aware of the change when he himself tried to get a permit for what he deemed minor electrical work, asked the commissioners to consider changes that would allow homeowners to perform electrical work on their own homes. He said that the last year that the county allowed homeowner permits, they only accounted for 6% of the permits pulled.
“For 6% we’re going to throw the baby out with the bathwater,” he said. “You’ve got all these Worcester County residents who are capable of doing ‘minor work’ now not being able to do it because of a few bad apples.”
Kenneth Lambertson, chair of the Worcester County Board of Electrical Examiners, asked the commissioners not to make any changes to the code. He said that the board requested the elimination of homeowner permits in 2017 because there were issues with people getting permits that didn’t have the necessary knowledge or skill to perform the electrical work. He added that in order to be a general electrician a person had to work under another electrician for four years. He said master electricians had seven years of experience and adhered to continuing education requirements.
“We don’t feel like a layman can really keep up with all the necessary changes and everything with the code,” he said.
Commissioner Josh Nordstrom said Pilchard had made some good points but that he was satisfied with the opinion of the electrical board.
Commissioner Ted Elder said he’d attended the last meeting of the electrical board and spoken to Pilchard. He said that while there were “certain plusses” to Pilchard’s proposal, he was not going to support making any changes at this time.
Mitrecic agreed. As a builder, he said he’d seen homes where individuals had done their own wiring and found it “very, very concerning,” particularly since electrical fires could destroy homes and lives. He said he didn’t want to see the standards changed.