Texas service technicians should soon be able to change out pump motors with peace of mind.
Two separate bills have been sent to Texas Gov. Rick Perry to enable limited electrical licensing for pool and spa
“It was a tough fight,” said Kevin Tucker, public
information officer at the Aquatic Professionals’ Education Council.
“There were all sorts of things that delayed the working of
the legislature, so we were truly fortunate to get both bills
The victory comes as welcome news for service techs who need the
work and don’t want to saddle their customers with a
“We were on pins and needles because we wanted [the bills]
to pass,” said Jeremy Smith, owner of Tadpole Pool Services in
Carrollton, Texas. “It definitely gave us a scare, especially
when everything was going well and all of a sudden, the
electricians’ union showed up at one of our hearings and
started to raise a fight.”
With resistance from political heavyweight AFL-CIO, as well as
other electrical unions, APEC credited lobbyists Jake Posey and
Steve Koebele for helping the bills pass.
The original issue is rooted in the state’s adoption of
the National Electrical Code in 2003, requiring any professional
performing electrical work to hold a license. When the Department of
Licensing and Regulation began fining pool technicians in 2007,
the industry took action.
“At that point, we got in discussions with [TDLR] and,
honestly, they were very easy to work with,” Tucker said.
“Their primary concerns were things like grounding and
bonding, proper wire size [and the like].”
The department will develop test questions with the help of
APEC, the Association
of Pool & Spa Professionals, and the Independent Pool & Spa
Service Association. The license should be ready by September
2010, and the accompanying fee is expected to be under $100.
In the interim, TDLR has indicated it will not to actively pursue
fines against unlicensed service techs, provided no
complaints are involved.
Pool builders, meanwhile, will have to wait until the next
legislative session in 2011 for licensing. APEC worked to amend a
bill that would have included licensing for pool builders under the
Texas Residential Construction Commission, an agency that currently
is being phased out by lawmakers.
“That commission was a real disaster in the first
place,” Tucker said. “APEC’s position is that
probably in 2011, we will support some kind of licensing for pool
builders. We have two years to work with TDLR and get it