How safe are we? (Electrical Codes and Regulations)

We believe that electrical safety begins with good codes enforced uniformly across the nation. But how uniform are we? America is as diverse in its adoption and enforcement of electrical codes as it is with its geography, political alliances, and people. From the mandatory state-wide enforcement of the California Electrical Code to the home rule state of Mississippi, our states and local jurisdictions all have their own ways of enforcing the National Electrical Code.

We used various resources to find the latest NEC enforcement in all of the 50 states and one district. We looked at how the state enforced electrical codes, and also examined which electrical code the local jurisdictions enforced in states that allowed local adoption. In this study, we assigned three categories to the states in terms of adoption.

Chart 1

► State-wide — the NEC is adopted by the state and is required to be adopted and enforced by all jurisdictions; for example, Minnesota

► Hybrid — the NEC is adopted by the state, often for state-owned buildings, but local jurisdictions are allowed to adopt their own codes; for example, Texas

► Local — the state does not adopt any version of the NEC and all adoptions and enforcements are left to the local jurisdiction; for example, Nevada

All of the data compiled were current at the time this issue was sent to the printer (November 2008). For up-to-date and more detailed information about licensing and code adoption, please view the Electrical Regulations and Licensing section on Please send any updates to the section to Laura Hildreth at

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Laura Hildreth
Laura L. Hildreth is the managing editor for IAEI Magazine and has worked in editorial and technical publications within the electrical industry for eighteen years, the technology industry for over twenty years, and the news industry for even longer. Her passion is encouraging communication and learning no matter what the tool. Connect with her on LinkedIn at