Utility Controlled Devices

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Hello, I am installing Load Control Receivers on water heaters, air conditioners and pool pumps for the utility company in Maryland.I have had to pull permits on the pool pumps and soon to start pulling them on the water heaters. However they are not required on the a/c units because the circuit is not being altered.This has been a real challege because customers do not want to take off of work another day,turndowns and some simply don't want inspectors on their property.To my knowledge Utility companies and work regulated by the State Public Service Commission were exempt.Some counties here have vast differences in guidelines and regulations.Im not sure if I shouldnt have tried to contact someone on the State level. Im eager for suggestions. Thanks
 

al hildenbrand

Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
Occupation
Electrical Contractor, Electrical Consultant, Electrical Engineer
Welcome to the Forum, Glenn.

I'm over in Minnesota, and work in an area served by one PoCo and inspected by a bunch of AHJs, the largest of which is the State of Minnesota Electrical Licensing and Inspection Department.

Until a few years ago, if one installed a utility "Saver Switch" on an AC compressor, and only used the low voltage control circuit to interface with the switch, the various AHJs did not have an easy way to require a permit.

However, "Limited Power Technician" licensing became part of the law of the land in Minnesota, and inspection expanded to cover more.

By this, I am suggesting that your local or State ordinance will give you insight.

When the Saver Switch is inserted into the branch circuit (as in the case of an electric water heater) one is on the Premises side of the Point of Service (NEC Article 100) and under the sway of the NEC, unless you have local ordinance to the contrary.

I assure the customer that the ongoing savings from the rate reduction (or however your PoCo makes the load control offer) requires the inspection to help assure that everything will work without difficulty.
 
Thanks for the response Al. The utility company I am contracted with has 160,000 water heater customers and we have 125 techs on the project so I just don't see how the counties will have enough inspectors to cover that kind of work load.
 

djohns6

Senior Member
Location
Louisiana
Interesting . Here is South Louisiana , the local Electric Co-op installs the load management devices on AC units and there are no permits or inspections required . The local authorities haven't figured out how much revenue they are missing out on . :grin:
 

macmikeman

Senior Member
I run into them for water heater systems quite often. Somebody from the utility comes to the residence and inspects the job. Not one I have seen would actually pass a real City and County inspection.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
Thanks for the response Al. The utility company I am contracted with has 160,000 water heater customers and we have 125 techs on the project so I just don't see how the counties will have enough inspectors to cover that kind of work load.
No problem, they will just slow you down.
 
Thanks guys its nice to have a network with educated peers.By the way these LCRs have been installed for years and we are removing old switches from the water heaters and installing our new ones.Now we use a lcd touch screen t-stat for cycling the a/c (no permit required).The previous installs on water heaters were inspected only for quality assurance by the utility as metioned by macmike. I have been able to get approval for blanket (postcard) permits only in one county. The other counties want individual inspections per job at service cost. Needless to say I will have my work cut out for me. Is there a superior that all local AHJ's answer to ?
 

al hildenbrand

Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
Occupation
Electrical Contractor, Electrical Consultant, Electrical Engineer
Thanks guys its nice to have a network with educated peers.
This world wide web information age "virtual community" experience, of which this is only one flavor, is, from the dreams of the science fiction reading boy that I used to be, a dream come true!
Is there a superior that all local AHJ's answer to ?
The answer to your question is rooted entirely in the legal structures where you hold your license(s).

Where I am, the State of Minnesota got an AHJ established, at least in law, statewide way back in 1899 and included rules that permitted areas within the state to create their own inspection communities and that permitted local ordinance that could modify the requirements of the NEC. However, I am licensed only by the State, and my insurance and bond are only to the State. In my opinion, the State level AHJ is a strong anchoring influence that helps to unify the calls in the field made by individual inspectors, but there are still interesting differences that individuals bring to the mix. One person will see what another will not, and, conversely, one person will imagine what another will not.

I think this works to engender the continuing conversation that results in the NEC being a living document that is constantly growing.

'Course, that doesn't help you with the business issue of not doing the work for free. It occurs to me that the answer to your question might have part of its answer in the appeals process that you have at your option if you contest an inspector's call. You first take the appeal to the inspector's "boss", which is the local AHJ. Is it possible to appeal that AHJ call by taking it to a higher level? The answers are in the ordinances of your jurisdiction(s).
 
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