Don’t forget the permits! Electrical company fined over car charger installation

L&I says contractor failed to get permits or inspections for chargers in three Eastern Washington cities

SPOKANE, Wash. — A Spokane electrician is being ordered to pay $144,000 in fines for installing dozens of electric vehicle (EV) chargers without getting permits first – or scheduling inspections when the work was done!

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries says Avista Corp. contracted with G E M Electric NW Inc. to install car chargers in Spokane, Pullman, and Liberty Lake.  The state says the company went ahead and did the work without filing the required documentation.

“We’ve had contact with this electrical contractor before, so he knows what the requirements are; he’s just choosing not to follow them,” said Wayne Molesworth, chief inspector for L&I’s Electrical Program in a press release.  It’s the third time the contractor has been cited for failing to get permits and inspections for his work.

You can expect to see a lot more EV chargers popping up in the years to come, thanks to a bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law earlier this year.  It set aside more than $7 billion for grants and EV charging station construction.  President Joe Biden is hoping that money will be enough to build hundreds of millions of chargers nation-wide, including a network of fast chargers that can have you back on the road in under an hour.

A fact sheet from the Department of Transportation indicates at least $71 million of that will be coming to Washington state, and about $52 million to Oregon over the next five years.  Both states will also have the opportunity to apply for grants on top of the allocated funding.