Tacoma Power offers the following suggestions when you hire an electrical contractor:
- Call Tacoma Power's Electrical Inspection Office at (253) 502-8277 to verify what electrical work is required.
- Hire only a licensed and bonded electrical contractor. Call the State Department of Labor & Industries' toll-free hotline at 1-800-647-0982 or visit their website at www.lni.wa.gov to make sure your contractor is properly registered. You can also ask about any complaints that Labor & Industries has received about a particular contractor. Ask friends and neighbors for references. You can also ask your contractor for references from past customers. Tacoma Power cannot recommend contractors.
- The contractor or owner living in the home must obtain an Electrical Permit. Residential permits cost $80 for homes served by overhead power lines and $160 if the home has underground electrical services. Other permit fees vary.
- Get at least three bids for electrical work. Most contractors will provide bids at no cost to you; be sure to ask when you call to request a bid. Ask bidders about any costs you don't understand before you sign a contract. You can call electrical supplies to verify costs for meters, wire, circuit breakers and other equipment. If a bid looks "too good to be true," it probably is.
- Make sure you understand any contract you sign, and never sign any contract that doesn't specify what work will be done, the charges, when work will begin and how long it will take.
- Ask for provision in the contract so that you make your final payment after Tacoma Power completes its inspection and accepts the work.