Low-Voltage Industry Legislative Analysis and Model Language

The low-voltage electronic systems industry continues to grow and evolve. Our members and their employees design, install and maintain everything from access control, security devices, home networking, automation functionality, entertainment systems and integrated subsystems that control lighting, security, and HVAC.

New technology has increased consumer demand for technology in homes and businesses, and driven demand for specialized technology professionals capable of working with low-voltage systems as defined in the National Electric Code®. Electronic systems professionals specialize in designing and installing electronically enhanced environments through which wire infrastructure provides a conduit for information and intelligence in the form of voice, data, audio and video systems.

Today’s technologically advanced systems require well-trained electronic systems professionals who understand how to install and integrate these systems to work in conjunction with each other. They do not, however, require high-voltage electrical training. The responsibilities and training of an electronic systems professional differ from that of an electrician in many important ways, highlighted below.


Electronic Systems Professionals

  • Work with low-voltage systems
  • Deliver signals, data and control
  • Install and configure home automation controls, touchscreens, keypads and computers
  • Work with analog and digital circuits
  • Use cabling for multiple applications throughout its life

Electricians

  • Work with high-voltage systems
  • Deliver power
  • Install and configure switches, dimmers and breakers
  • Work with analog circuits
  • Use cabling per single application throughout its life

Rapid technological advances in the industry have left some states with outdated statutes that do not reflect current consumer and industry needs. Just last year, both Florida and Texas updated low-voltage laws to recognize the needs of electronic systems professionals.  After carefully assessing the installation and safety requirements of today’s modern, low-voltage components, these states now allow electronic systems professionals to install items like low-voltage thermostats, saving their residents both time and money. These states have found that requiring a high-voltage electrical license for all low-voltage electronic systems work is unnecessary and fails to recognize the unique underlying technology considerations, relevant safety profile of the equipment and the qualifications of electronic systems professionals.

In general, we recommend including the following proposal in electrician licensing legislation, so as to correctly distinguish low-voltage electronic systems work from high-voltage electrical work:

The provisions of this legislation shall not apply to:

A person who is engaged in the design, installation, erection, repair, maintenance, or alteration of class two or class three remote control, signaling, or power-limited circuits, optical fiber cables or other cabling, or communications circuits, including raceways, as defined in the National Electrical Code for voice, video, audio, and data signals in residential or commercial premises.

We look forward to continuing to work with interested parties as the uses of technology grow to support and enhance our lifestyles.

On June 24, 2014 representatives of the following organizations met during the Electronic Security Expo (ESX) in Nashville, TN and expressed unanimous support for this Low-Voltage Industry Legislative Analysis and Model Language document:

  • Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA)
  • Electronic Security Association (ESA)
  • ADT
  • AT&T
  • Comcast/Xfinity Home
  • COPS Monitoring
  • Dynafire, Inc.
  • DirecTV
  • Guardian Protection Services
  • MasTec
  • Monitronics
  • Stanley Security Solutions
  • Time Warner
  • Tyco Integrated Systems
  • Vivint

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