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News, Views and Updates from the Electrical Safety Authority

# Respect The Power

Summer 2015

Powerline Safety Campaign drives home that powerlines are lethal and unforgiving!



What’s Inside


Technically Speaking


2015 Code Update


Online Master Electrician Exam!

Electrical Safety Enforcement

2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Convictions Technically Speaking Spring Campaign Results Photovoltaic Inspection Process Customer Service Centre Update

Year to Date Convictions April 1, 2015 – May 31, 2015 Glen Martin, Barrie Generator installation – multiple sites • $750 fine, plus $125 victim surcharge – failure to procure authorization • $1,500 fine, plus $250 victim surcharge – no EC licence, 2 counts • $500 fine, plus $75 costs – no EC licence Total Generator, Barrie Generator installation – multiple sites • $1,500 fine, plus $375 victim surcharge – failure to apply • $1,500 fine, plus $375 victim surcharge – no EC licence • $1,500 fine, plus $375 victim surcharge – employing an unlicensed electrical contractor Boyd Signs, Pembroke Installed branch wiring for sign • $1,000 fine, plus $250 victim surcharge – failure to apply Frank Castellon, Woodbridge Residential renovation • $1,000 fine, plus $125 victim surcharge – no EC licence

Worth Knowing Master Electrician Exams Online

Our Mission:

Brian Edward Keough, London Kitchen renovation • $750 fine, plus $37.50 victim surcharge – failure to apply

If you are aware of anyone doing electrical work in violation of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code or electrical contractor licensing regulations, report it to ESA at 1-877-372-7233 or at ESA looks into every such report we receive.

To improve electrical safety for the well-being of the people of Ontario.

Important Fee Notice

Our Vision: An Ontario where people can live, work and play safe from electrical harm.


Deferment of Fees for Large House/Apartment The 2015 Fee Guide issued on Jan. 20, 2015 contained New House pricing based on homes of 5,000 sq. ft. and above. These fees were retracted at the end of January. The large apartment fee structure, based on 40, 41-100 and over 100 devices, was retracted as well. Please note the fees for both of the above mentioned items will remain retracted until the new Fee Guide is issued in January 2016.


Technically technicallySpeaking speaking

Licensing Requirements Defined for Photovoltaic Installations What’s considered electrical work when it comes to photovoltaic (PV) installations? The simple answer is that the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (the Code) covers all portions of the PV installation. This means that an application for inspection (permit) is required for each installation. Another common question is who is permitted to perform the work associated with PV installations? In August 2013, the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) issued an Information Note that outlined the requirements for an individual installing a PV installation.

OCOT Information Note – Photovoltaic (PV) Modules – Aug. 16, 2013

Topic: Position on Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Modules Appendix A:  n electrician is not required for the mounting of PV modules 1  A whether they are ground-mounted or mounted on the building and/or roof.  n electrician is required to perform electrical connections that 2  A include combiner boxes, panel boards, micro-inverters that are not assembled with factory installed connectors (as in Part 3 below), utility switches (lock out) and meter bases. This includes the grounding of the systems and bonding of the frames to ground.  n electrician is not required where the PV module or 3  A micro-inverter is approved with pre-assembled factory installed insulated connectors, making the connections from module to module, or module to micro-inverters. This includes the bonding of modules (panels) to frames where the bonding connections are approved as snap-in connections mounted on the frames.

PV Installation Licensing Requirements Diagram This diagram is an illustration of a PV installation and outlines which parts of the installation an electrician must carry out and which parts can be installed by a non-electrician or PV installer.

Determining when an electrician is required comes down to whether the PV module or micro-inverter is approved with pre-assembled factory-installed insulated connectors (See Figure 1), making the connections from module to module, or module to micro-inverters. This does not require the work to be performed by an electrician. This includes the bonding of modules (panels) to frames where the bonding connections are approved as snap-in connections mounted on the frames. All other work is required to be performed by an electrician. It is important to note that in both cases there is a requirement to submit an application to ESA for inspection. Figure 1 Typical plug-in connectors

• News, Views and Updates from ESA


Spring Campaign Updates

Spring Awareness Campaigns Drive Home Safety Messages There’s No Such Thing as a Small Electrical Mistake!

Hiring the wrong person for the job can result in major property damage, or even loss of life, was the message consumers heard in the 2015 spring Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC) campaign. The campaign, which ran from early March until mid-May, stressed the importance of hiring an LEC for electrical work and targeted Ontario homeowners planning renovations or electrical work. The campaign drove traffic to and the “Find an LEC in your neighbourhood” search tool.

Exciting New Campaign Components

This year’s campaign included several new tactics, such as a series of four YouTube videos, website banners, Weather Network coverage, Toronto Star sponsored content and the new LEC Store. The Toronto Star sponsored content was a custom “Guide to Electrical Safety” section that engaged consumers and educated them on the importance of hiring an LEC. The content ran for six weeks and included both desktop and smartphone placements.

New Components increase Campaign’s Effectiveness: !

Ontario homeowners who saw the ad were

2x as likely

to Hire an LEC

! Resulted in

11,310 clicks on

the “Find an LEC” Tool

Help spread the message!

Order your LEC materials today at:


Hard-Hitting TV Spots a First for Powerline Safety Campaign Powerline Safety Television Ads Launched on Sportsnet As part of the spring Powerline Safety campaign, ESA created television ads aimed at workers and homeowners most at risk of contacting powerlines.

The two hard-hitting ads reminded Ontarians to ‘Respect the Power’ of powerlines whether at work or at home. Both ads were definitely conversation starters and aired on Sportsnet in May and June. They can still be viewed at Social media content using the #RespectThePower hashtag supported the TV ads during the campaign. As in previous years, ESA also 4

• News, Views and Updates from ESA

engaged its Community Powerline Safety Alliance partners and the Local Distribution Company community at large to promote the campaign to their stakeholders. The TV spots extended the campaign’s reach to the largest audience of any campaign to date – and made ESA’s powerline safety page the most visited on our website for the duration of the campaign. As powerline contacts remain the leading cause of electrical-related deaths in Ontario, the success of this campaign will help ESA continue to raise awareness of the risks of powerline contact. Check out all of the campaign materials in the digital copy of Plugged In at

Inspection Safety on Solar Installations

technically speaking

Inspection Process for Residential Photovoltaic Installations The Ontario Electrical Safety Code (the Code) requires that before a photovoltaic (PV) system can be connected to the supply authority grid, it must be inspected and approved by ESA. The Code requires the contractor doing the electrical installation to submit an application for inspection.

ESA’s inspection is all about ensuring safety. First the inspector ensures the installation meets the safety requirements of the Code and does not pose a hazard to the general public or installer. The inspection also provides an assurance that the installation will not pose a safety hazard later to local utility workers who may be required to service or repair the electrical supply to a farm, home or business.

There are many aspects to a solar installation that need to be inspected, such as valid equipment approval, PV module electrical characteristics and nameplate ratings, conductor types and sizes, bonding, methods of installation, etc.

Here’s how to avoid delays in getting a connection authorization:



After all the equipment is on site and an application for inspection has been submitted, request that a preliminary inspection (processed as a “rough in” inspection) take place prior to the installation. This will allow the inspector to review the components and installation method (bonding, securing devices, etc.) to resolve any potential issues or questions.

Once the installation takes place, take pictures verifying the installation methods.





If you are a licensed electrical contractor and your work includes the service but not the entire PV installation, ensure that those who installed the remainder of the PV system submit an application for inspection and follow the previous two steps.

If you have any questions regarding a PV system installation, please consult with your inspector prior to installing the system. • News, Views and Updates from ESA


CSC Phone Service Update Important Upgrades to Online Permit System Since its launch last year, regularly scheduled updates have occurred adding performance enhancements and self-service functionality requested by our users.

Online Credit Card Payments Now Available! The most significant upgrade is that the system now accepts credit card payments online. Customers can now make online payments for existing permits, new permits and invoice balances.

Look for the “New” Icon!


Changes have also been made to enhance existing features of the online permit system. They are highlighted by a icon and clicking on it provides a description of the changes. All future upgrades to existing features will be marked with this icon to make it easier for user to identify changes. ESA will continue to add new features to improve the overall customer experience. These updates will be shared in future issues of Plugged In. Stay tuned!

New Ways to Serve you Better! As well, a number of upgrades have improved the overall self-service experience and provide greater opportunities for customers to self manage their business with ESA. Among these upgraded features, online users now have the ability to: • v iew their complete invoice history;  pdate and save credit card information; •u • delete applications that are no longer needed; • change their preferred method of correspondence; •u  pdate their password information.

Even More Enhancements Feedback received by current system users has also been taken into consideration and new features that give customers more account details have now been implemented. The changes include: • s ee which of your users has requested and/or made changes to your notifications; • v iew GPS coordinates of inspection sites; • s ee the requested for connection authorization date.

CSC Phone Service Update In every issue, Plugged In will include a report on service levels achieved at the CSC.

April 1, 2015 – June 30, 2015: Volume

101,670 calls

Average Wait Time for Calls to be Answered

32 seconds


• News, Views and Updates from ESA

Service Level

78% of calls

answered in 30 seconds or less Average call length

329 seconds

Worth Knowing

2015 Ontario Electrical Safety Code Update In June 2015, ESA provided recommendations to the provincial government regarding the proposed technical amendments to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC) and the adoption of the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC). The OESC is a combination of the CEC and Ontario-specific amendments that are adopted through a provincial regulation that effectively makes the 2015 OESC the law. Please note that until the 2015 OESC is approved and becomes effective, the previous code remains in force. ESA is seeking approval of the 2015 OESC from the Minister of Government and Consumer Services and is recommending the changes be effective

as of May 2016. Following the outcome of this recommendation to the Minister, ESA will provide further communication and next steps to our stakeholders. The 2015 OESC introduces Ontario-specific amendments that address issues related to wiring installations, and support the introduction of new technologies and their safe installation.

If you have any questions regarding the proposed amendments, please send an email to

Proposed Main Changes for the 2015 OESC

Proposed Main Changes for the 2015 CEC

• Clarifying and offering further guidance for minimum clearances between luminaires and the nearest point of combustible material to minimize any potential fire hazards.

• E xpanding arc fault protection for residential properties. Currently this protection is included in bedrooms. The new CEC will expand this protection to other living areas of the house.

•R  evising requirements for the protection and wiring methods associated with noncommercial docking facilities. •A  ligning the OESC with requirements and definitions related to propane storage and vehicle refueling appliances as administered by the Technical Standards & Safety Authority. •S  upporting the installation of light emitting diodes (LED) technology supplied by Class 2 circuits. This new section harmonizes requirements with the National Electrical Code (U.S.).

•E  nhancing the safety of renewable energy installations (e.g. a requirement to include rapid shutdown for photovoltaic systems to assist first responders). •C  larifying voltage drop requirements for residential and industrial facilities. The residential portion was implemented early last year in Ontario as a Director Order since stakeholders requested clarification of the requirements.

•C  reating new requirements for Recreational Vehicles (RV) with respect to where supply connections are located, relevant to the parking lot. • Proposing changes to Section 75 to align with other Code sections and reflect changes in industry practices. • News, Views and Updates from ESA


The Wait is Over!speaking technically

Master Electrician Exam Goes Online! ESA/ECRA is pleased to announce that the Master Electrician examination is now being offered online. The online version contains the same content as the paper exam but participants get their results within 24 hours of writing it. The paper exams will still be offered for a limited time. The online exams are completed on a secure website

in dedicated computer labs. Like the written exam, participants have a three-hour time limit to write the “open book” exam and must bring their own Code books. For a complete list of permitted exam items, or to sign up to write the exam, please visit licensing. The exam schedule indicates which sessions are online and which ones are on paper.

Scores + Stats April 1, 2014 –March 31, 2015 Managing wiring services Call centre calls answered Inspections Defects recorded General inspections ACP contractors

492,542 442,643 232,454 7,919 2,369

Wiring compliance and enforcement Hazard investigation requests Notices of violation

12,401 487

Preventing hazards and harms CSS customers (26,375 sites)


What’s Happening

Complaints management Licensing complaints received Licensing complaints resolved Code-related complaints received Code-related complaints resolved Licensing management Licensed Electrical Contractors Master Electricians

7,458 12,369

Product safety Reported electrical product safety incidents Products recalled

330 3

Electrical distribution management Distribution-related incidents Compliance audits

137 74

ESA website statistics 2015 Annual General Meeting and Site visits Ontario Electrical Safety Awards Page views Sept. 24, 2015 – Mississauga Holiday Closures 2015 Licence Holder Meetings Aug. 3, 2015 - Civic Holiday Oct.6, 2015 - Mississauga Sept. 7, 2015 - Labour Day Nov. 24, 2015 - Belleville Oct.12, 2015 - Thanksgiving Day Connect with us:

Check Out Plugged In Digital Today! Digital extras include: • E xclusive digital features including photo galleries and videos • Advance access to the latest issue before it arrives in your mailbox • Convenience of reading it any time, anywhere on your phone or tablet The digital copy is available at:

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1,821 1,593 98 74

556,896 1,787,042


Electrical Safety Authority


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2015 LICENCE HOLDER MEETINGS Marking 10 Years of Province-Wide Licensing

Open to all Licensed Electrical Contractors & Master Electricians



November 24, 2015 Fairfield Inn & Suites 407 North Front St.

October 6, 2015 Mississauga Grand 35 Brunel Rd.

Registration: 12:15 pm Meeting: 1 – 4 pm Includes: • Updates from ECRA and Licensing • Question & Answer Session*

*If you have a licensing related question that you would like answered, please send it to by Wednesday, September 30, 2015.

NEW ONLINE REGISTRATION! Register online: Or by phone: 905-712-5385 RSVP by September 30, 2015 for the Mississauga location or November 18, 2015 for the Belleville location.

There will be an exciting prize draw at the end of the meeting!

Profile for Electrical Safety Authority

Plugged In summer 2015  

Plugged In summer 2015