Electrical malfunction is the leading cause of residential building fires in the United States. Attempts to fix these electrical faults should be left to licensed, insured, and qualified electricians who are conversant with the City of Austin Electrical Code. When you are in search of an electrician in the city, ask the following questions to determine the professional is the best hand for the job:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as an Electrician in the City of Austin?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared with Other Electricians in the City of Austin?
- Do You Comply with the City of Austin Building Code for Electrical Works?
- Will You Get the Electrical Permit as Required by the City of Austin Code?
- What Kind of Electrical Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Electrical Services in the City of Austin?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Electricians in the City of Austin?
Before electricians can operate within the City of Austin, they are required to obtain an Electrical Contractor license from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) and register with the City by completing a form available on the City's Service Center webpage. Per Section 1305.151 of the Texas Occupations Code, it is unlawful for any person to do electrical work in Austin without obtaining the required license. Operating in the City of Austin without appropriate electrical license is chargeable as a Class C misdemeanor with a fine up to $2,000.
Before a person can obtain an Electrical Contractor License, they have to meet the following requirements stipulated under Section 1305.153 of the Texas Occupations Code:
- They must have a Master Electrician license or have someone licensed as a Master Electrician work under them.
- They have to provide evidence of financial responsibility in a way administered by the executive director of the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation.
- They are mandated to acquire and maintain workers' compensation insurance coverage on behalf of their employees and must be issued by an insurance company approved to engage in the business of insurance in the State of Texas.
If you want to confirm if the electrician you want to hire is licensed, make use of the TDLR License Data Search Portal. Applicants, who want to obtain an electrical license should contact the Department at (512) 463-6599 for further inquiries.
The mean hourly wage for electricians in the City of Austin is a little over $25. The mean hourly wage for electricians in the City of Austin depends on a few factors, such as the type of electrical work to be performed or the level of skill required to complete that job.. It is essential you obtain cost estimates from other electricians and compare them to have a good understanding of what a fair price should look like.
An electrician in the City of Austin earns $53,770 annually. The table below compares the mean hourly wage in the City of Austin to other major cities in the United States:Austin Electricians Hourly Mean Wage$25.85Texas Electricians Hourly Mean Wage$23.36New York City Electricians Hourly Mean Wage$40.48Phoenix Electricians Hourly Mean Wage$23.86Austin Electricians Hourly Mean Wage$25.85Washington D.C. Electricians Hourly Mean Wage$31.72Seattle Electricians Hourly Mean Wage$32.67
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The status that regulates and controls electrical work in the City of Austin is the 2020 National Electrical Code which has been adopted as the Electrical Code of the City of Austin. The Code outlines the minimum requirements for the installation, examination, approval, and use of electronic systems within the City of Austin, so as to safeguard the well-being and health of its citizens. Any person who carries out electrical work that cause personal injury or damage or did electrical work without the proper license may be liable to a fine, term of imprisonment, or both under the Code. Accordingly, it is important you hire an electrician who is conversant with the provisions of the Austin Electric Code, to avoid violations of the city code and the associated penalties.
For further inquiries on code compliance, contact the Development Services Department by dialing 311 or by email.
Any person looking to carry out electrical work, such as the installation, alteration, repair, replacement, and adjustment of any electrical system must obtain a permit before beginning their electrical project. However, per Section 25-13-113 of the Austin City Code, not all electrical works require a permit. Exempted works include:
- The installation of temporary holiday lights
- Electrical work that involves the replacement of an authorized cable or cord and plugs connected to a motor or a portable device
- The removal of electrical and communication wiring
- Any work that involves the replacement of insulating material to a splice
The Permitting and Development Center (PDC) under the Development Services Department is the entity responsible for issuing permits in the City of Austin. Austin residents can make use of the Electrical Permit Request form to apply for an electrical permit. This application form is to be submitted along with your plans and specifications online with the Service Center Request Form. After you have submitted your application for an electrical permit, the Building Official will then review your application for code compliance. Once the Building Official is satisfied that your application has met all the Code requirements and the requirements of other applicable laws and you have paid the necessary fees, your electrical permit will be issued. It is important for you to know that you cannot change or alter your plans and specifications without the authorization of the Building Official after your permit has been issued. An inspection may be carried out on the electrical system by an Electrical Inspector. To request an inspection, contact the Building Inspections Division by email or make use of the Find Your Inspector search portal to find inspectors and their contact information.
You can contact the Permitting and Development Center for further assistance and inquiries on code requirements at (512) 978-4504.
Electricians in Austin offer a variety of services such as installation, alteration, repair, replacement, and adjustment of electrical systems in both residential and commercial buildings. Austin electricians also offer inspection and consultancy services. Therefore, before hiring an electrician, ensure this electrician specializes in performing electrical services related to your project. For instance, an electrician who simply focuses on carrying out repairs and adjustments might not have the skill and expertise required to offer installation services.
Electrical services cost between $84 and $677 in the City of Austin. Below is a list of electrical services offered in Austin and their cost estimates:Electrical service panel cost$750 - $1,100Electrical installation cost$89 - $700Residential electrical repair cost$86 - $695Lighting installation cost$350 - $495
For a lot of people, a simple power outage is an emergency. Other critical electrical emergencies include electrical fire, burnt outlets, dead outlets, flickering lights, electric shocks, short circuits, fallen power lines, etc. When faced with any of these emergencies, it is important to quickly hire an electrician to fix the fault. However, it is much more important to be sure the professional has the tools and experience to deal with such emergencies.
To quickly find an electrician near you, make use of the websites such as Better Business Bureau. To see if an electrician is licensed, make use of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation's data license search portal. You can assess the electrician's level of expertise by making a few inquiries and requesting references from other clients the electrician has worked for.
Electrical contractors looking to operate within the City of Austin are mandated by Section 1305.153 of the Texas Occupations code to obtain and maintain workers' compensation coverage for the protection of employees. Although electricians working in Austin are not required to hold general liability insurance, you are better off hiring an electrician who maintains one. Employing an electrician who has this insurance coverage will provide you with the necessary financial protection if life-threatening accidents occur during the installation of electrical systems or electrical repairs. You can confirm if your electrician has the required license by contacting the insurance firm listed on the contractor's policy.
To avoid falling victim to an electrical scam, ensure to confirm the legitimacy of an electrician before deciding to hire them. For the fiscal year of 2021, there were 1,757 cases opened against electricians licensed under TDLR with a majority of these cases being complaint for scam-related issues. Some of the popular techniques utilized by these scam contractors include refusal to provide a written estimate or sign a written contract, offering unusually low prices, and utilizing cheap materials after collecting money for more standard ones.
However, you can still take necessary precautions to help you avoid falling victim to these scams. Such precautionary steps include:
- Assessing the competence and skill of your intended electrician by asking for references from other clients and asking the electrician the questions listed above.
- Confirming your electrician's licensing status by utilizing the TDLR license search portal.
- Ensure to get a written contract with your electrician, and this contract should generally spell out essential details of the project, such as the project's description, costs, and completion period.
- Avoid paying upfront. It is much safer to just make a deposit of not more than 10% of the total cost of the job.
- Request references from other clients the electrical contractor has worked for.
If you suspect that you have been a victim of an electrical fraud or you suspect that you are a target of an electrical fraud in the City of Austin, you can file a complaint to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Alternatively, you can submit a consumer complaint to the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General of Texas. To file a complaint, you would need to complete a complaint form, either in English or Spanish and mail it to the following address:
- Office of the Attorney General
- Consumer Protection Division
- P.O. Box 12548
- Austin, TX 78711-2548
Once your complaint has been received, it will be reviewed to find a resolution most favorable for you. You should note that your complaint may be transferred to another agency if required. If you are not satisfied with remedies given by the aforementioned agencies, you can file a small claims lawsuit at the Travis County Justice of Peace, Precinct 1, and such suits are for monetary claims not exceeding $20,000. However, if you choose to proceed with legal action, it is essential to first consult a qualified attorney.