How to Hire a Good Electrician in Albuquerque
Home electrical fires cause more than 500 deaths and up to $1.3billion in damages yearly across the country. Considering this level of destruction and loss of human life, it is easy to see why hiring a competent electrician who works in accordance with the National Electrical Code and the New Mexico Electrical Code is essential. However, before you conclude on hiring an electrician in Albuquerque, ask the following essential questions to determine the professional is the best hand for the job:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as an Electrician in the City of Albuquerque?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared with Electricians in the City of Albuquerque?
- Do You Comply with the City of Albuquerque Building Code for Electrical Works?
- Will You Get the Electrical Permit as Required by the City of Albuquerque Code?
- What Kind of Electrical Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Electrical Services in the City of Albuquerque?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Electricians in the City of Albuquerque?
Are You Licensed to Practice as an Electrician in the City of Albuquerque?
In compliance with the New Mexico Construction Industries Licensing Act, electrical professionals who wish to offer their services to residents anywhere in New Mexico must first register with the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department(NMRLD). Before obtaining an electrician license, applicants must first undergo a compulsory four-year apprenticeship program. To qualify for an apprenticeship, an applicant must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have a high school diploma or GED.
- Be physically able to perform the work.
- Pay a $20 application fee.
- Have no criminal records.
- Possess a valid state ID card or Drivers license.
- Have a good driving record and pass a drug test.
Upon registration and completion of the apprenticeship, applicants can apply to the NMRLD to register as journeyman electricians in New Mexico. The NMRLD provides two distinct experience criteria depending on the license an applicant is seeking. Applicants with at least four years experience (8,000 hours) of experience are qualified to be licensed as:
- EE-98J - Journeyman Electrician, specializing in residential and commercial electrical services.
- EL-1J - Journeyman electricians, specializing in electrical distribution systems, including transmission lines
On the other hand, applicants would need only two years (4,000 hours) of experience to be qualified as the following:
- ER-1J - Journeyman electricians specializing in residential wiring.
- ES-1J - Journeyman electricians specializing in electrical signs and outline lighting.
- ES-2J - Journeyman electricians specializing in cathodic protection and lightning protection systems.
- ES-3J - Journeyman electricians specializing in sound, intercommunication, electrical alarm systems, and systems 50 volts and under
- ES-7J - Journeyman electricians specializing in telephone communication systems and telephone interconnect systems.
You must hire a properly licensed electrician for your electrical project because the NMRLD through the Construction Industries and Manufactured Housing Division(CIMHD) is authorized to stop projects being done by electrical contractors without licenses. The CIMHD can also file criminal charges against contractors found to be working without a valid license. Unlicensed electricians caught working on projects with a monetary value less than $5,000 can be sentenced to county jail for 90 days, fined between $300 to $500, or both. Where the electrical project is worth more than $5,000, fines of up to 10% of the value of the work or a jail sentence of not more than six months can be administered. You can verify an electrician's license using the online verification tool maintained by the NMRLD. If you have any questions about the electrician licensing or any other related inquiries, contact the CIMHD by phone at (505) 222-9801.
How Much Do You Charge Compared with Electricians in the City of Albuquerque?
The cost of hiring an electrician in Albuquerque is influenced by several factors, including the type of job to be done, and the level of experience the electrician possesses. Before you put pen to paper to sign a contract with an electrician, it is a good idea to retrieve price estimates from several electricians and compare these rates. This would give you insight into the standard rates charged by electricians in your locale.
An electrician in the City of Albuquerque earns $48,350 annually. Provided below is the annual mean wage of electricians in Albuquerque and a comparison of these electricians mean hourly wages with that of electricians in other parts of New Mexico State as well as other major cities in the United States:Albuquerque Electricians Mean Hourly Wage$23.25New Mexico State Electricians Mean Hourly Wage$24.63Los Angeles Electricians Mean Hourly Wage$37.25Chicago Electricians Mean Hourly Wage$40.50Houston Electricians Mean Hourly Wage$25.57Santa Fe Electricians Mean Hourly Wage$27.51Philadelphia Electricians Mean Hourly Wage$36.95
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Do You Comply with the City of Albuquerque Building Code for Electrical Works?
The New Mexico Administrative Code contains strict guidelines relevant to all building and electrical projects in Albuquerque. The code guides the installation, alteration, relocation, enlargement, replacement, repair, location, removal, and demolition of electrical projects, wirings, and systems. The code is enforceable to all projects that involve:
- All electrical systems within New Mexico. This includes emergency and standby power systems, electrical equipment, appliances, fixtures, fittings, and appliances.
- All electrical distribution and transmission facilities that are located within the State.
The electrical code was designed to ensure the safety of residents of New Mexico while using electrical systems, and it is essential to hire an electrician that understands the code. To enquire about the requirements of the New Mexico building code, you can contact the New Mexico Construction Industries and Manufactured Housing Division(CIMHD) by phone at (505) 222-9801
Will You Get the Electrical Permit as Required by the City of Albuquerque Code?
State Laws on permits stipulate that no electrical wiring or work can be erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, improved, removed, converted, or demolished without first obtaining an electrical permit. However, The Construction Industries Licensing Act outlines some scenarios where Construction Industries and Manufactured Housing Division(CIMHD) can excuse the need for permits. The electrical projects that can be executed without electrical permits in the State include:
- Any minor repairs or replacements of lamps.
- Any work involving the connection of portable electrical equipment to appropriate receptacles that are permanently installed.
- All works that involve the Installation of temporary wirings for testing electrical equipment.
- Electrical works that involve the installation of temporary fixtures or devices for testing features.
- Any works involving the installation, modification, or repair of electrical equipment for the operation of signals or the transmission of intelligence by wire.
- Any installations that are to be done outside of regular work hours or during holidays where immediate action is necessary to secure life, health, or property, provided the person executing the work files for a permit no later than the next business day.
The process to apply for an electrical permit for your project within Albuquerque is relatively seamless and primarily electronic. The Albuquerque Building Safety & Permits Division maintains an easy-to-use permit application portal for homeowners and applicants who wish to apply for electrical permits within the city. First-time users of the portal are required to obtain a peculiar ID number by calling (505) 924-3320 or visiting the Division's office located at:
- Building Safety Division Main Line
- Planning Department
- 600 Second North West
- Albuquerque, NM 87102.
The Division also routinely sends out State & ICC-certified inspectors to conduct inspections through its Inspection Department. The inspections are primarily to ensure compliance with the State Electrical Code and other relevant laws governing building projects in the State.
You can directly contact the Building Safety and Permit Division on the phone at (505) 924-3320 with inquiries regarding electrical permits.
What Kind of Electrical Services Do You Offer?
The kind of electrical services an electrician offers primarily depends on the license category of the electrician you wish to hire. For example, some specialize in cathodic protection and lightning protection systems. Some electricians specialize wholly in residential wiring, while others in sound, intercommunication, electrical alarm systems, and systems with voltage less than 50 volts. On the other hand, electricians offer varying services depending on several factors, including the level of expertise and the scale of the workforce at their disposal. Thus, you should always inquire with the electrician if they can perform the electrical project you wish to execute. Upon confirmation that the electrician can complete the electrical project you want to carry out, it is also good to confirm the costs of the services. Below is a snapshot of the price of some electrical services within Albuquerque:Commercial Contractor rate per hour$86 - $101Electrical remodeling rates per hour$83 - $92Installation of electrical fixtures$133 - $151Installation of EV charging stations$1,047 - $1,085Residential contractors rates per hour$72 - $85Upgrades of Electrical panels (100 & 150-Amp) or Wiring$1,500 - $2,000Upgrades of Electrical panels (200-Amp) or Wiring$1,744 - $2,307Upgrades of Electrical panels (400-Amp) or Wiring$3,500 - $4,000
Do You Offer Emergency Electrical Services in the City of Albuquerque?
Situations would arise where you would need the services of a competent electrician to prevent problems and accidents that are caused by electrical faults. Some of these scenarios requiring emergency-related electrical services include:
- Any electrical sparks and fires that you observe within your property.
- One-off or recurrent power outages.
- Fallen power lines around your property or vicinity.
- Water leakages near electrical outlets and wires.
- Any noisy breaker box you observe within your property.
When any of these electrical emergencies occur, you must take steps to contact an electrician urgently to forestall the situation. However, before the electrician arrives, these are some short term steps you can take:
- Turn off the main power source, where you observe sparks and fires.
- Use fire extinguishers first to put off the fire if the fire is still manageable.
- Evacuate everyone in the building if you notice sparks and fires.
- If there is a fallen power line, stay at least 40 feet away and do not touch any object or trees in contact with the power line.
Remember, you must move urgently to contact an electrician. Online membership directories like the National Electrical Contractors Association and other third-party hiring websites like Better Business Bureau are valuable tools you can use to quickly find a competent electrician who is close to the site of the emergency. Before you hire, you must not forget to verify the electrician's license using the online verification tool maintained by the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department(NMRLD).
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Electricians in the City of Albuquerque?
The United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that there were 55 fatal work injuries recorded in 2019 within New Mexico. With 10 of these fatalities related to construction works. While the number of fatalities occurring in New Mexico might seem relatively few, you can never tell when these fatalities would occur. The Worker Compensation Act also dictates that all employers with three or more employees within New Mexico offer comprehensive insurance plans to ensure that the employee or the employee's dependents are appropriately compensated in case of injuries or death. Thus, it is essential you only hire adequately insured electricians as this would ensure that you are insulated from the financial liability that would arise if an electrician is injured while executing your electrical project.
You can reach out about the insurance requirements for electricians in Albuquerque by contacting the Building Safety & Permits Division either by email or phone at (505) 924-3860.
How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Electrician in the City of Albuquerque
According to the Office of the Attorney General's annual report, there were a total of 7,691 consumer complaints received in 2019, and 2,134 of those reports were related to scams. Since nearly 30% of all consumer complaints in New Mexico are scam-related, it is essential to take steps to avoid getting scammed by home improvement or electrical contractors. While contractors can use a variety of tactics to try to scam you, your best bet is to stay informed on these scam methods and avoid falling prey. These are a few precautionary steps you can take to avoid getting scammed:
- Perform research into the electrician's background, verifying their reputation and character.
- Contact banking institutions and suppliers the electrician works with to confirm that the electrician is not fraudulent.
- Get multiple quotes from several electricians.
- Never sign a blank document presented to you by an electrician.
- Ensure you document all discussions, negotiations, and contracts you have with the electrician.
- Remember to verify the electrician's license using the online verification tool maintained by the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department(NMRLD).
- Ensure that all the permits relevant to your project are obtained and properly displayed at the entrance leading to your project.
- Utilize review tools like google review or the better business bureau website to check comments from former clients of the electrician you wish to hire.
- Always request for proof of insurance before signing a contract with the electrician.
The New Mexico Attorney General(AG) receives all complaints you may have about electricians within the State. You can submit complaints by utilizing the electronic complaints submission portal maintained by the AG's office. If you suspect an electrician is fraudulent, you should contact the Albuquerque Police Department(PD) by phone at (505) 768-2200 or file a police report online. If your complaint claims are valued at $10,000 or less, and If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaints to the AG or the PD, you can seek restitution by filing a small claims case at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court. You can reach out to the small claims division at the Metropolitan court with questions about self-representation and how to file a small claims case. You can reach the small claims division by phone at (505) 841-9817. Contacting a lawyer for legal advice before filing your small claims case is also advisable.