Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 2297




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Ninth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2018

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 2297 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to extend the sunset date of Act 65, Session Laws of Hawaii 2013 (Act 65), which provides a limited exemption to the licensing requirements for certain individuals in situations when an electric utility must retain qualified individuals to work with high voltage (six hundred volts or higher) who are not licensed in the State but are otherwise deemed qualified by the electric utility.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency; Board of Electricians and Plumbers; Chamber of Commerce Hawaii; Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.; and POWER Contracting LLC.  Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 1186.


     Your Committee finds that most in-state electrical workers are experienced in low voltage work, which includes wiring buildings at one hundred twenty/two hundred forty volts.  However, in the event of a catastrophic occurrence requiring high voltage electrical work, the State must import experienced and qualified workers from the mainland, since there are not enough electricians, splicers, and linemen in the State, who could respond in the event of a catastrophic occurrence or complex maintenance work affecting an electric utility.  Your Committee also finds that Act 35, Session Laws of Hawaii 2010, amended the minimum qualifications for licensure of various classes of electricians, effective July 1, 2013.  However, one of the unintended consequences of that Act was to prohibit electric utilities from contracting with high voltage electrical workers who are not licensed as electricians in Hawaii.


     Your Committee finds that this measure extends the remedy provided by Act 65 by continuing the limited exemption from licensure for five more years.  In so doing, this measure continues to provide electric utilities in the State the ability to contract appropriate electricians to perform any necessary high voltage electrical work in the State, especially in the event of natural disasters and other emergencies that impact the availability of electricity.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2297 and recommends that it pass Third Reading.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health,