Don’t forget the permits! Electricity company fined for installing car charger

L&I says contractor failed to obtain permits or inspections for chargers in three east Washington towns

SPOKANE, Wash. – A Spokane electrician is being fined $144,000 for installing dozens of electric vehicle (EV) chargers without first obtaining permits — or scheduling inspections after the job is done!

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries says Avista Corp. contracted with GEM Electric NW Inc. to install car chargers in Spokane, Pullman and Liberty Lake. The state says the company went ahead and performed the work without filing the required documentation.

“We have already had contact with this electrical contractor, so he knows what the requirements are; it just chooses not to follow them,” L&I Chief Electrical Program Inspector Wayne Molesworth said in a press release. This is the third time the contractor has been cited for failing to obtain permits and inspections for his work.

You can expect to see many more electric vehicle chargers appear in the coming years, thanks to a bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law earlier this year. It has earmarked more than $7 billion for subsidies and the construction of electric vehicle charging stations. President Joe Biden hopes the money will be enough to build hundreds of millions of chargers across the country, including a network of fast chargers that can get you back on the road in less than an hour.

A Department of Transportation fact sheet says at least $71 million of that will go to Washington state and about $52 million to Oregon over the next five years. Both states will also have the option to apply for grants in addition to the allocated funding.