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Get Quotes from Top Electricians in San Diego, CA

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Electrician in the City of San Diego

Note that all electrical works performed within the City of San Diego must strictly comply with the National Electrical Code and the San Diego Electrical Regulation. Non-compliance with the Code or Regulation may not only attract civil penalties but also leave you as a victim of home electrical fire. Annually, electrical fires are estimated to cause nearly 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage nationwide. Therefore, it is best to leave your electrical issues in the hands of a qualified electrician in the city. However, before you settle for a candidate for the job, ask the following questions to ensure the electrician is proficient at the work:

Are You Licensed to Practice as an Electrician in the City of San Diego?

Individuals who wish to provide electrical services costing more than $500 in materials and labor to San Diego residents must first obtain a C-10 Electrical Contractor license from the Contractor State Licensing Board (CSLB). Failure to comply with this licensing requirement is unlawful and punishable with civil and criminal penalties, including a fine of up to $10,000, a jail sentence, or both.

Individuals interested in obtaining an electrical contractor license are generally required to first satisfy specific requirements, which include:

  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Possessing four years of electrical experience. While training at schools, technical training, or apprenticeship training is acceptable as a form of experience, applicants still need at least 1 year of practical experience as a journeyman electrician.
  • Passing a trade examination
  • Paying the requisite fees as stipulated by the CSLB
  • Submitting an adequately filled Application for Original Contractors License form to the CSLB

Applicants should note that the required experience must have been obtained within the last ten years and at the journeyman level at least. The CSLB maintains a reciprocity program for electrical contractors holding licenses from Arizona, Louisiana, and Nevada.

Before you hire an electrician, it is essential to confirm that this electrician is duly licensed. You can do this by utilizing the CSLB's easy-to-use check a license portal. Anyone with questions regarding the licensing requirements for electrical contractors and related matters can contact the CSLB at (800) 321-2752.

How Much Do You Charge Compared with Other Electricians in the City of San Diego?

Electricians charge depending on the type of electrical work you want them to perform and the amount of labor required to complete the job. Before you hire an electrician in San Diego, it is a good idea to compare costs and rates with different electricians, to avoid getting scammed.

An electrician in the City of San Diego earns $62,860 annually. Provided below is the annual mean wage of electricians in San Diego and a comparison of these electricians' mean hourly wages with those of electricians in California as well as other major cities in the United States:

San Diego Electricians Mean Hourly Wage
California Electricians Mean Hourly Wage
New York City Electricians Mean Hourly Wage
Phoenix Electricians Mean Hourly Wage
Miami Electricians Mean Hourly Wage
Washington D.C. Electricians Mean Hourly Wage
Seattle Electricians Hourly Mean Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Do You Comply with the City of San Diego Building Code for Electrical Works?

In the United States, the National Electrical Code is the standard for electrical works that are to be performed in the country. However, The San Diego Electrical Regulation serves specifically as the guiding law for installing or connecting electrical appliances and fixtures like electrical wires, raceways, conduits, and solar photovoltaic cells that generate, transmit, transform, or utilize electrical energy in any form in San Diego. The Regulation is designed to reduce the likelihood of electrical accidents and ensure the safety of city residents when utilizing their home electrical systems. To this end, the Regulation stipulates minimum standards for electrical materials to be used for electrical projects within San Diego. It is appropriate you only hire electricians who thoroughly understand the Regulation so that your electrical project would be done to the highest standards.

Where electrical inspections reveal violations of the Electrical Regulation, the Staff of the San Diego Code Enforcement Division (CED) would determine an appropriate penalty, which ranges from abatement to fines of up to $400,000. Generally, before imposing a penalty for violating the Electrical Regulation, the CED issues a notice with a deadline for the electrical contractor or homeowner to correct the violation. If you have inquiries regarding the San Diego Electrical Regulation and related matters, you can contact the CED at (619) 236-5500.

Will You Get the Electrical Permit as Required by the City of San Diego Code?

Electrical Permits are required per the San Diego Municipal Code before any electrical wiring, device, appliance, or equipment is installed within any structure or premises. The Municipal Code also stipulates that an electrical permit must be duly obtained before any replacement, addition, or alteration is made to electrical systems within the city. However, there are situations where electrical permits are not required, and such situations include:

  • Minor electrical work like replacement of fuses, replacement or repairs of switches, circuit breakers, lamp holders, ballasts, or receptacles provided that the replacement or repair is done with the same size and type as the original equipment used in the original work.
  • The installation, alteration, or repair of any electrical appliance operating at a voltage level of not more than 25 volts and supplies less than 50 watts of energy.
  • Installation of remote-controlled switching devices on appliances that are privately owned when the devices are installed by the San Diego Gas and Electric Company or any authorized agents. However, the devices and installations must be in strict accordance with other aspects of the San Diego Electrical Regulation.
  • Electrical works that involve the repair or replacement of hardwired appliances such as dishwashers, cooking appliances, and other similar appliances within dwelling units. However, the repairs or replacements should not impose an additional electric load.

Depending on the scope of your electrical project, electrical permits can be a Simple "No-Plan" Electrical Permit or a Plan (required) Electrical Permit. Simple Electrical Permits are issued for electrical work involving meter reset or reconnections, a simple addition of circuits, miscellaneous wirings, temporary power poles for construction sites, installation of electric vehicle charging stations, and electrical works performed in one-family and two-family dwellings. Plan Electrical Permits are issued for all electrical works that are not simple electric works.

Electrical permit applications in San Diego are made primarily online and the San Diego Development Services Department (DSD) maintains simple guidelines and procedures for simple electrical permit applications and electrical permit applications requiring plans. The time it takes to review and grant permit applications depends on the nature of the project and the number of applications being treated by the DSD. On average, electrical permit applications are reviewed between 5-13 business days. If you have inquiries regarding electrical permit requirements or how to schedule inspections in San Diego, you can contact the DSD by phone at (619) 446-5000.

What Kind of Electrical Services Do You Offer?

Electrical professionals in San Diego offer various services, including installations, repairs, and maintenance of electrical systems in any building within the City. Given the wide-ranging nature of the services provided by electrical contractors, it is good to hire electricians who possess the know-how to perform your electrical project. When you confirm the nature of service offered by the electrician you wish to hire, it is also good to find out how much this electrician charges for your electrical project.

Below are some common electrical services and their estimated costs in San Diego:

Electrical remodeling
$100 - $115
Installations of electrical fixtures
$165 - $190
Upgrade of electrical panels and wiring
$2,300 - $3,000
Cost of residential electrical contractors per hour
$83 - $100
Cost of commercial electrical contractors per hour
$109 - $120
Installation of EV Home charging stations
$1,200 - $1,365

Do You Offer Emergency Electrical Services in the City of San Diego?

Emergency electrical services are needed for potentially hazardous electrical defects that can lead to injury, death, and destruction of properties. Some of these electrical defects include broken or exposed wires, faulty power outlets and fuses, constant power outages affecting only your home, electrical fires, electrical shocks, electrocutions, and fallen power lines. If you notice such defects in your home, it is essential to quickly engage the emergency services of a competent electrician near you. You can find a competent electrician by utilizing the find my licensed contractor portal maintained by the Contractor State Licensing Board (CSLB). Alternatively, you can utilize online member directories provided by reputable trade associations like the National Electrical Contractors Association or reputable third-party review websites like Better Business Bureau. Ultimately, when you find an electrician who can handle your emergency, you should ensure the electrician is properly licensed by using the check a license portal maintained by the CSLB or by contacting the Board at (800) 321-2752.

Note that before the arrival of your electrician, you can implement some short-term remedies and safety tips like turning off the main power source, avoiding contact with any object that is directly exposed to electrical current, and evacuating everyone from the environment immediately.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Electricians in the City of San Diego?

The California Labor Code stipulates that all licensed contractors, including electrical contractors, or applicants seeking contractor licensing must obtain valid worker’s compensation insurance. In 2019, there were 166 fatal electrical injuries amongst electrical professionals in the country. However, hiring an electrician that has authentic general liability and workers’ compensation insurance would shield you from the monetary costs that may arise from work-related accidents or fatalities during your electrical project. In addition to the workers’ compensation insurance requirement, electrical contractors are also required to post a $15,000 bond|. The bond protects you as a consumer if the electrician performs a defective job or violates the state licensing requirements.

You can contact the California Department of Insurance with any questions you might have regarding insurance requirements for electricians within the State by phone at (800) 927-4357 or by submitting an online General Questions and Inquiries Form available in English or Spanish. Also, you can contact the Contractors State License Board at (800) 321-2752 with questions regarding your electrician’s compliance with the State bond requirements.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Electrician in the City of San Diego

A 2019 statewide sweep led the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) to open legal actions against 169 licensed and unlicensed contractors and electricians acting in contravention of State laws in several cities including San Diego. The arrests arising from the sweeps suggest that contractors often engage in unwholesome practices. It is thus important that you exercise the relevant precautions when hiring a contractor to avoid a substandard electrical project that an uncompliant contractor would ultimately perform. Some signs of a fraudulent electrical contractor include:

  • Any electricians using another contractor's license.
  • Electrical contractors using a fake, suspended, or expired electrical contractor's license.
  • Electricians who do not have a permanent office.
  • Contractors who try to use pressure tactics to utilize a loan service or authorize a contract.
  • Bids that are far too cheap or expensive compared to other electrical contractor quotes.

Nevertheless, these are some steps you can take to avoid getting scammed:

  • Always ensure you verify the electrician's license you wish to hire. You can do this by using the CSLB's check a license portal or by contacting the Board at (800) 321-2752.
  • Ensure you consider bids from more than three electricians.
  • Make sure that all your communications and negotiations with the electrical contractor are properly documented.
  • Ensure you review electrical contracts properly before appending your signature. Never sign a blank contract.
  • Avoid discussing details of your personal life that are not relevant to the electrical project at hand.
  • Ensure you ask the electrician to provide references from previous clients.
  • Privately consult with the suppliers and financial institutions the electrician you wish to hire works with. Enquire about the reputation and financial standing of the electrician before signing a contract.
  • Avoid making cash payments. It is best to pay with checks, credit cards, or money orders, as you can better keep records of payments made through these channels.

However, if you get scammed by an electrician, you should immediately file a construction complaint with the CSLB. You can reach out to the CSLB at (800) 321-2752 with inquiries about filing a complaint.

If you are unhappy with the decision of the CSLB regarding your complaint you can proceed to file a small claims case at the San Diego Superior Court. However, you should note that the maximum amount you can claim in a small claims case in San Diego is $10,000. Finally, before filing a small claims case, It is advisable to contact an attorney for legal advice and general assistance.