State Sen. Dave Schatz is hoping to clear up some confusion on a bill he sponsored regarding licensing for electrical contractors throughout the state.

One Franklin County electrician feels the bill will do more to hinder smaller electrical companies and is concerned there wasn’t more local input into the bill.

Paul Gross, owner of Paul’s Electric Service, St. Clair, says the new licensing standard will essentially kill off the small electrical contractor trade, which is already suffering from a lack of young electricians.

“I was personally shocked to have heard absolutely nothing about his bill before it was signed by the governor,” Gross said. “Not a single contractor I know, or anyone from Franklin County was consulted.”

Gross added, by allowing large contractors holding a statewide license to work throughout the state, it will put the locals out of business.

“Prepare for your electrical work in your home or business to skyrocket,” Gross said. “There will be no new start-up electrical businesses to this new bill having been written so poorly.”

After several inquiries to Schatz’ office and to the Franklin County Commission, Schatz’ chief of staff, Dan Kleinsorge, prepared a summary to better explain the bill (SB240) signed by the governor a few weeks ago.

The bill creates a statewide license for electrical contractors and will mainly affect new electricians applying for first time licenses.

“In short, contractors who operate in jurisdictions that have no licensing requirements should be fine,” Kleinsorge said. “Contractors who have already passed a nationally recognized test should be grandfathered and they will be fine. Better off in fact, as they can now take their services statewide.”

Kleinsorge added, contractors working in local jurisdictions that have no licensing requirements will still not need a license and they are essentially unaffected by this law.

However, he added, each corporation, firm, institution, organization, company, or representative thereof who engages in electrical contracting must have at least one statewide licensed electrical contractor employed at a supervisory level.

“This is the area of the bill causing the most problems, but a grandfather clause should take care of most contractors’ concerns,” Kleinsorge said.

Contractors who have licenses in local jurisdictions that already use nationally accredited tests will be grandfathered in and receive a statewide license that will allow them to work anywhere in the state.

Contractors that work in jurisdictions that use no licensing can still operate without a license.

Even with the grandfather clause in place, the bill does allow some political subdivisions to establish their own local electrical contractor’s license, but must recognize a statewide license in lieu of such local license.

This essentially allows local jurisdictions to set their own standards.

“We currently have a shortage of electricians in Franklin County,” Gross said. “The vast majority are self-employed small businesses and it will cost a fortune to start up a new self-employed electrical business.”