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Archives - State Agencies - Electrical Board

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Created in 1917 the Board of Electricians consisted of three members appointed by the Governor to serve four and six year terms. Members were a master electrician, a journeyman electrician, and an electrical engineer all of known ability and active in their work. The Commissioner of Insurance, who was the State Fire Inspector, served as the ex-officio member and also as the secretary of the Board. As the inspector for the state, the Commissioner approved the appointments of fire inspectors in North Dakota cities and villages. The president and treasurer were selected from the Board membership, and meetings were held at the State Capitol in January of each year, or at other times if necessary. All members took an oath of office. The purpose of the Board was to prescribe rules of management for Board affairs, to adopt a seal, and conduct an examination for those who wanted to become a licensed electrician. The Board gave examinations and issued licenses to all with the classification of electrician (S. L. 1917, Ch. 118). 

In 1919, the State Fire Marshal replaced the Commissioner of Insurance as the ex-officio member, secretary, and state fire inspector of the Electrical Board. Board members acted as fire inspectors. All public use buildings were required to be inspected for proper wiring.  Classifications for electricians included a master electrician, a journeyman, and special electricians. The Electrical Board also licensed operators of moving picture machines and telephone switchboards located in public buildings (S. L. 1919, Ch. 123).

In 1941, the Commissioner of Insurance again replaced the State Fire Marshal and resumed Board duties as the ex-officio member and secretary (S. L. 1941, Ch. 227). The moving picture machine operator replaced the electrical engineer on the Board.  

The Board of Electricians was renamed the State Electrical Board in 1949 (S. L. 1949, Ch. 287).  It increased to five members who were appointed by the Governor for five-year terms.  Members included a farmer and one member selected from a list of three candidates submitted by the consumer members of the rural electric cooperative, the master licensed electricians, licensed journeymen electricians, and licensed motion picture operators. The Board also recognized apprentice electricians who trained under the supervision of a licensed electrician. Another classification of electricians added by the Board was known as Class B electricians (S. L. 1949, Ch. 287). 

In 1955 the definition for a Class B electrician was approved to mean a person who had experience in farmstead wiring. The moving picture machine operator was eliminated from licensing and replaced on the Board by a utility company lineman (S. L. 1955, Ch. 282).   Legislation allowed an out of state electrician to be eligible for a license through reciprocity if the requirements listed in the Century Code were met (S. L. 1955, Ch. 285).

In 1975 the Board amended the Century Code regarding the penalty for a Class B misdemeanor (S. L. 1975, Ch. 106). The Board determined whether those in violation of the code should be licensed (S. L. 1977, Ch.130) and legislation also allowed the Board to select a secretary from among the members (S. L. 1977, Ch. 399). 

Since 1981 there have been five members appointed by the Governor for five-year terms and each year one membership expires. The selection process was changed to provide equal representation. Members include candidates from the master electricians and journeyman electricians as well as and others from an investor-owned utility company, a consumer member of a rural electric cooperative, and a representative of the public not directly associated with the electrical industry. The Board appointed executive director supervises Board directed operations. Other Board responsibilities include examining applicants and issuing licenses to those having the necessary qualifications and knowledge in the laws of electricity and electrical codes. The Board holds jurisdiction over all electrical installations and allows electrical inspectors to condemn installations hazardous to life and property. Inspectors order the discontinuation of electrical services (S. L. 1981, Ch. 435). 

Added legislation in 1985 required all installations to follow the rules and regulations of state and federal laws and state statutes that conformed with those of the National Electrical Code and National Electrical Safety Code as approved by the American Engineering Standards Committee (S. L. 1985, Ch. 476). In 1989 continuing education was required as a condition of license renewal (S. L.1989, Ch. 512).  This included electrical inspectors (S. L. 1989, Ch. 511).  In 1993 a new section added to the Century Code related to federal regulations for coal mine health administration and safety issues (S. L. 1993, Ch. 112). Since 1995 electrical inspectors have completed an inspection report for the State Electrical Board (S. L. 1995, Ch. 350). By 2007 all classifications of electricians were required to complete additional education and experience before a license would be approved (S. L. 2007, Ch. 2007). The State Electrical Board is headquartered in Bismarck.

1917       Creation of the Board of Electricians consisted of three gubernatorial appointed members and the Commissioner of Insurance who was the ex-officio member and who also served as the secretary of the Board (S. L. 1917, Ch. 118).
1919       The State Fire Marshal became the ex-officio member and secretary of the Board who provided inspection of electrical work under the Board’s direction (S. L. 1919, Ch. 123).

1927       Operators of the moving picture machine and telephone switchboard were required to be Board licensed (S. L. 1927, Ch. 139).

1941       The Board members served five-year staggered terms and included one master electrician, one journeyman, and one moving picture machine operator. The Commissioner of Insurance again replaced the State Fire Marshal as the secretary and ex-officio Board member.  City inspectors could provide inspection for local electrical work (S. L. 1941, Ch. 227).

1949       The Board of Electricians became the State Electrical Board. Class B electricians were added to the licensing process.  The Board increased to five. Legislation required the State Electrical Board to file a biennial report with the Governor (S. L. 1949, Ch. 287) and also with various departments heads and officials, including the Office of Accounts and Purchases (later called the Office of Management and the Budget) and the Secretary of State (S. L. 1963, Ch. 346; S. L. 1983, Ch. 476; S. L. 1995, Ch. 350). 

1955       Certain classes of out of state electricians were accepted through reciprocity (S. L. 1955, Ch. 285).

1967       Apprentice electricians, under the supervision of a state licensed electrician, were recognized by the Board, and the farmer and lineman were replaced on the Board by a public representative and an investor owned utility representative (S. L. 1967, Ch. 347).

1973       The Board established a fee to be paid for a qualified inspector who inspected all installations of electrical wiring. Inspectors appointed by the Board had to meet the varying requirements of each municipality (S. L. 1973, Ch. 403).

1975       Violation by a licensed electrician could result in a Class B misdemeanor (S. L. 1975, Ch. 106).  The legislature added to the authority of the Board (S. L. 1975, Ch. 398), and determined that certain kinds of wiring did not require an electrician’s license (S. L. 1975, Ch. 399).

1977       The Board determined if a license should be issued to someone who had committed an offense (S. L. 1977, Ch. 130). The Board added a secretary to the list of officers (S. L. 1977, Ch. 399).

1981       Board membership included a public representative, a journeyman electrician, one consumer representative of a rural electric cooperative, an associate with an investor owned utility, and a master electrician who was also a contractor. Vacancies were filled by the Governor (S. L. 1981, Ch. 435).

1983       There were regulatory changes concerning installations and inspections in municipalities as well as guidelines for liability insurance for electricians (S. L. 1983, Ch. 476).

1985       All installations had to meet the rules and regulations of state and federal laws and the state statutes were required to conform to those of the National Electrical Code and National Electrical Safety Code as approved by the American Engineering Standards Committee (S. L. 1985, Ch. 476).

1987       After an electrician passed the examination the annual fee was paid and the license was issued. Apprentice electricians were required to be registered (S. L. 1987, Ch. 513).

1989       Electrical inspectors needed to register with the Board. A new section in the Century Code listed the requirements for advertisements placed by an electrician (S. L. 1989, Ch. 511).  Electricians needed to complete continuing education hours for licensure renewal (S. L. 1989, Ch. 512).

1993       A new section written for the Century Code related to federal regulations for coal mine health administration and safety issues (S. L. 1993, Ch. 112).

1997       Amended laws concerned the administrative actions taken by the Board and the inspection of electrical installations (S. L. 1997, Ch. 366).

1999       Updates were added for those exempt from acquiring a license (S. L. 1999, Ch. 351). Laws relating to electrical issues on the relocation of manufactured buildings or modular units were amended (S. L. 1999, Ch. 351).

2007       Licensure qualifications were updated and a study by the Legislative Council was recommended (S. L. 2007, Ch. 360).

2015       The Century Code was amended concerning requirements for electrical service contractors and electrical installations by qualified electricians. The electrician’s special fund was repealed (S.L. 2015, Ch. 292). 

2017       New legislation concerned biennial reporting of all completed installation projects by Electrical Board inspectors (S.L. 2017, Ch. 305).

30765 State Electrical Board Minutes
30147 General Correspondence
31334 Audit Reports

Gray, David P. Guide to the North Dakota State Archives, 1985.
North Dakota Century Code.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.
State Electrical Board website.

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