News Release

Spokane electrical company cited and fined for installing car chargers without permits or inspections

December 20, 2021
#21-041

TUMWATER — A Spokane electrician faces $144,000 in fines for installing car chargers without permits or safety inspections.

After receiving a tip, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) opened an investigation in September and has now issued five citations. Toby Miller, who owns G E M Electric NW Inc., in Spokane, failed to obtain permits or schedule required inspections when installing 32 EV chargers in Spokane, Pullman, and Liberty Lake.

“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. “Obtaining a permit and requesting an inspection are two ways to ensure an installation meets the minimum requirements and is free of hazards that can get people hurt.”

This marks the third time Miller has been cited for the same violations, putting his electrical contractor and administrator licenses at risk. Miller has appealed the citations to the state’s Electrical Board.

Spokane-based Avista Corp. contracted with G E M and another company to install the EV chargers. The work took place between Aug. 2 and Sept. 29. G E M Electric faces three citations: doing work without a permit; doing electrical work without a city permit; and failing to request an inspection.

Leveling the playing field

A special group of L&I inspectors that focuses on unlicensed contractors and uncertified installers of electrical work handled the case. The group is known as the Electrical Compliance, Outreach, Regulation, and Education (ECORE) team. The team issued citations for more than 3,000 violations and collected over $2 million in penalties in fiscal year 2021. Violations covered unlicensed contractors and uncertified installers, those working without permits, and those failing to supervise trainees properly.

“Our electrical inspectors in the field play a key role in spotting contractors trying to skirt rules that are meant for the public’s safety,” Molesworth said. “Our intent is to help the many businesses that play by the rules by cracking down on the ones that don’t.”

To find out whether a contractor is licensed, has an up-to-date workers’ compensation account, or has any safety violations pending, go to L&I's "Verify" web page. Find more tips on checking bids on L&I’s Protect My Home web page.

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For media information:

Matthew Erlich, Public Affairs, 360-902-6508

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