TUMWATER — A Spokane electrician faces a $144,000 fine for installing car chargers without a license or safety inspection.
After receiving a tip, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) opened an investigation in September and has now issued five citations. Toby Miller, owner of GEM Electric NW Inc., in Spokane, failed to secure permits or schedule required inspections when installing 32 EV chargers in Spokane, Pullman and Liberty Lake.
“We have already had contact with this electrical contractor, so he knows what the requirements are; it just chooses not to follow them,” said Wayne Molesworth, chief electrical program inspector at L&I. “Obtaining a permit and requesting an inspection are two ways to ensure that a facility meets minimum requirements and is free from hazards that could harm people.”
This is the third time Miller has been cited for the same violations, jeopardizing his electrical contractor and administrator licenses. Miller appealed the citations to the state electrical board.
Spokane-based Avista Corp. contracted with GEM and another company to install the EV chargers. The work took place between August 2 and September 29. GEM Electric faces three citations: performing work without a permit; do electrical work without a municipal permit; and not request an inspection.
A special group of L&I inspectors who focus on unlicensed contractors and uncertified installers of electrical work handled the case. The group is known as the ECORE (Electrical Compliance, Outreach, Regulation, and Education) team. The team issued citations for more than 3,000 violations and collected more than $2 million in penalties in fiscal year 2021. Violations covered unlicensed contractors and uncertified installers, those working without a license and those who did not properly supervise trainees.
“Our field electrical inspectors play a key role in spotting contractors trying to circumvent rules intended for public safety,” Molesworth said. “Our intention is to help the many companies that play by the rules by cracking down on those that don’t.”