TITLE 16. ECONOMIC REGULATION

PART 4. TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF LICENSING AND REGULATION

CHAPTER 73. ELECTRICIANS

16 TAC §73.100

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation (Commission) adopts amendments to an existing rule at 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 73, §73.100, regarding the Electricians Program, without changes to the proposed text as published in the July 23, 2021, issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 4424). This rule will not be republished.

EXPLANATION OF AND JUSTIFICATION FOR THE RULES

The rules under 16 TAC Chapter 73 implement Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1305, Electricians.

Pursuant to Occupations Code, Chapter 1305, §1305.101(a)(2), the Commission is required to adopt the National Electrical Code (NEC) every three years "as the electrical code for the state." The Commission has adopted the 2020 NEC in its entirety by rule at 16 TAC, Chapter 73, §73.100, Technical Requirements. Section 90.4 of the 2020 NEC authorizes the Department to waive specific code requirements when doing so will not have a negative impact on safety.

Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC requires certain outdoor outlets to have ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) protection. An incompatibility between most GFCI products on the market and certain types of air-conditioning and heating equipment has resulted in that equipment failing by persistently tripping circuit breakers. The summer heat and winter cold pose a serious threat to Texas residents whose air-conditioning systems have failed or are malfunctioning. Adopting the proposed rule would help keep Texas residents safe by ensuring installed air-conditioning systems are not subject to failure due to equipment incompatibility. Additionally, the Department's technical experts have confirmed that adopting the proposed rule would not have a negative impact on safety.

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation (Commission), the Department's governing body, adopted this rule on an emergency basis at its May 18, 2021, meeting. The rule became effective on May 20, 2021, was extended for an additional 60 days by the Commission at its August 10, 2021 meeting, and will expire on November 16, 2021. The text of the emergency rule is identical to that of the proposed rule.

The proposed rule was presented to and discussed by the Electrical Safety and Licensing Advisory Board at its meeting on July 2, 2021. The Advisory Board did not make any changes to the proposed rule. The Advisory Board voted and recommended that the proposed rule be published in the Texas Register for public comment.

SECTION-BY-SECTION SUMMARY

The adopted rule amends §73.100 by placing the existing rule text into new subsection (a) and adding new subsection (b) to state that compliance with Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC is not required until January 1, 2023. It is widely expected that manufacturers of both electrical and air conditioning equipment will have resolved the compatibility issues by this date, at which point the danger to Texas residents will subside.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

The Department drafted and distributed the proposed rules to persons internal and external to the agency. The proposed rules were published in the July 23, 2021, issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 4424). The deadline for public comments was August 23, 2021. The Department received comments from two interested parties on the proposed rules during the 30-day public comment period. The public comments are summarized below.

Comment: One commenter stated that the proposed rules should not be adopted, suggesting that delaying the effective date of Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC would discourage manufacturers from developing compatible equipment.

Department response: The Department disagrees with the comment. Department staff have reported that equipment manufacturers are actively developing equipment to address GFCI compatibility issues posed by Section 210.8(F). No changes to the proposed rules were made in response to this comment.

Comment: One commenter noted that the rules were necessary to protect Texans from the threats posed by extreme heat and cold.

Department response: The Department appreciates the comment.

ADVISORY BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS AND COMMISSION ACTION

The Electrical Safety and Licensing Advisory Board met on September 8, 2021, to discuss the proposed rules and the public comments received. The Advisory Board recommended that the Commission adopt the proposed rules as published in the Texas Register. At its meeting on October 5, 2021, the Commission adopted the proposed rules as recommended by the Advisory Board.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The adopted rule is adopted under Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 1305, which authorize the Commission, the Department's governing body, to adopt rules as necessary to implement these chapters and any other law establishing a program regulated by the Department.

The statutory provisions affected by the adopted rule are those set forth in Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 1305. No other statutes, articles, or codes are affected by the adopted rule.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on October 28, 2021.

TRD-202104336

Brad Bowman

General Counsel

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation

Effective date: November 17, 2021

Proposal publication date: July 23, 2021

For further information, please call: (512) 475-4879


CHAPTER 75. AIR CONDITIONING AND REFRIGERATION

16 TAC §75.100

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation (Commission) adopts amendments to an existing rule at 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 75, §75.100, regarding the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors Program, without changes to the proposed text as published in the July 23, 2021, issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 4426). This rule will not be republished.

EXPLANATION OF AND JUSTIFICATION FOR THE RULES

The rules under 16 TAC Chapter 75 implement Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1302, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors.

Pursuant to 16 TAC, Chapter 75, §75.100(a)(4), electrical work performed by air conditioning and refrigeration contractors must be performed in accordance with the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC). Section 90.4 of the 2020 NEC authorizes the Department to waive specific code requirements when doing so will not have a negative impact on safety.

Section 210.8(F) of the NEC requires certain outdoor outlets to have ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI) protection. An incompatibility between most GFCI products on the market and certain types of air-conditioning and heating equipment has resulted in that equipment failing by persistently tripping circuit breakers. The summer heat and winter cold pose a serious threat to Texas residents whose air-conditioning systems have failed or are malfunctioning. Adopting the proposed rule would help keep Texas residents safe by ensuring installed air-conditioning systems are not subject to failure due to equipment incompatibility. Additionally, the Department's technical experts have confirmed that adopting the proposed rule would not have a negative impact on safety.

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation (Commission), the Department's governing body, adopted this rule on an emergency basis at its May 18, 2021, meeting. The rule became effective on May 20, 2021, and will expire November 16, 2021. The text of the emergency rule is identical to that of the proposed rule.

The proposed rule was presented to and discussed by the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors Advisory Board at its meeting on June 30, 2021. The Advisory Board did not make any changes to the proposed rule. The Advisory Board voted and recommended that the proposed rule be published in the Texas Register for public comment.

SECTION-BY-SECTION SUMMARY

The adopted rule amends §75.100 by adding new subsection (a)(5) to state that compliance with Section 210.8(F) of the 2020 NEC is not required until January 1, 2023. It is widely expected that manufacturers of both electrical and air conditioning equipment will have resolved the compatibility issues by this date, at which point the danger to Texas residents will subside.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

The Department drafted and distributed the proposed rules to persons internal and external to the agency. The proposed rules were published in the July 23, 2021, issue of the Texas Register (46 TexReg 4426). The deadline for public comments was August 23, 2021. The Department received comments from three interested parties on the proposed rules during the 30-day public comment period. The public comments are summarized below.

Comment: One commenter stated that it would be best to delay implementation of Section 210.8(F) until equipment manufacturers find a solution to the issue of GFCI compatibility.

Department Response: The Department appreciates the comment.

Comment: One commenter stated that the industry has been aware of the GFCI compatibility issues for some time, and that he did not know what the solution should be.

Department Response: The Department appreciates the comment.

Comment: One commenter noted that the rule was necessary to protect Texans from the threats posed by extreme heat and cold.

Department Response: The Department appreciates the comment.

No changes were made to the proposed rules as a result of these comments.

ADVISORY BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS AND COMMISSION ACTION

The proposed rule was presented to and discussed by the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors Advisory Board at its meeting on June 30, 2021. The Advisory Board did not make any changes to the proposed rule. The Advisory Board voted and recommended that the proposed rule be published in the Texas Register for public comment. At its meeting on September 7, 2021, due to quorum issues the Advisory Board was unable to make a formal decision to recommend adoption of the proposed rule. However, none of the members expressed an objection to the adoption of the rule as published.

The Commission adopted this rule on an emergency basis at its May 18, 2021, meeting. The rule became effective on May 20, 2021, was extended for an additional 60 days by the Commission at its August 10, 2021 meeting, and will expire on November 16, 2021. The text of the emergency rule is identical to that of the proposed rule.

At its meeting on October 5, 2021, the Commission voted to adopt the proposed rule as published.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The adopted rule is adopted under Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 1302, which authorize the Commission, the Department's governing body, to adopt rules as necessary to implement these chapters and any other law establishing a program regulated by the Department.

The statutory provisions affected by the adopted rule are those set forth in Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 1302. No other statutes, articles, or codes are affected by the adopted rule.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on October 28, 2021.

TRD-202104335

Brad Bowman

General Counsel

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation

Effective date: November 17, 2021

Proposal publication date: July 23, 2021

For further information, please call: (512) 475-4879