After more than two months of public consultations, the ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) announced that it will not be increasing wiring fees overall in 2017.
The announcement, released on Thursday October 6, is expected to be welcomed by most electrical contractors as a break from the recent regular pattern of yearly increases.
Generator Inspection Fees the Only Increase
The ESA will, however, be making one fee adjustment.
Fees for residential generators with a transfer switch will undergo a 1% increase due to the need for two inspection visits, not one. On page 6 of the consultation document, the rationale for the increase is given as, “A high percentage of Inspections for these types of installations require a Disconnect and Hold to install the transfer switch on the line side and then a separate visit for the generator since it is not installed or Inspected at the same time as the Transfer Switch.”
When a second inspection visit is required, the higher fee will be established upfront rather than a second inspection fee being incurred later.
Classification Change for Elder Care Facilities
A classification adjustment to the Fee Guide will be made to clarify the difference between nursing homes, long term care facilities, and retirement residences. The announcement from the ESA stated that the reasons for the wording change is to “better ensure that facilities are appropriately categorized.”
An addendum later released by the ESA stated that the term “nursing home” will be removed. Instead, a facility will need to be classified as either a “retirement home” or a “long term care facility”. The difference is that a long term care facility provides patient care, as per the Long Term Care Homes Act of 2007 and the Retirement Homes Act of 2010.
The addendum suggests that the reason for the change is that plans were sometimes filed with the ESA without any mention of patient care areas that were constructed.
In any type of patient care facility, electrical power cannot fail, as patients may be undergoing medical procedures and the consequences could be disastrous. Currently, one of the procedures that some of these senior care facilities provide is dialysis, which needs to governed by the more stringent requirements specified under sections covering patient care areas. Inspection fees are also correspondingly higher.
Fees May Continue to Increase Further On
The new changes will come into effect on Friday February 3rd, 2017.
The fees are reviewed every year, and a public consultation process occurs if a rise in fees is under consideration.