Texas Electrical Code and Updates to the 2020 NEC

Written by Kacie Goff

Texas electrical code is far from stagnant. In fact, state legislation specifically requires regular updates to it.

That means that Texas electricians have to put in a little work to stay informed about the current requirements that apply to them and their work. But don’t worry. That doesn’t mean you need to sift through the nearly 1,000 pages of the NEC or be subject to a Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) violation. 

There’s an easy way to get up-to-date on the Texas electrical code, including the 2020 NEC updates. To help you do just that, here are a few FAQs. 

Does Texas adopt the NEC?

Yes, like all 50 states, Texas follows the National Electrical Code (NEC). 

The NEC, which the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) issues every three years, serves as a national standard in electrical safety. By aligning with that code, the TDLR ensures that Texas electricians stay informed about the latest best practices and regulations. 

What NEC code is current in Texas?  

That question got a little tricky in 2020 — as did many things, thanks to the pandemic. Per state code, the TDLR has to adopt the most current iteration of the NEC. That was supposed to happen on September 1, 2020. 

But when life ground to a halt, electricians got a little bit more time. Instead, the amendment to state electrical codes got pushed to November 1. While this might have given potential electricians a little more time to test under the 2017 NEC, practicing electricians should have known that this update would stick eventually. And as of November 1, 2020, Texas electrical code updated to reflect the 2020 NEC. 

And Texas electricians can be proud because they’re on the leading-edge. Only a handful of states have adopted the 2020 NEC, and Texas is one of them. 

What’s the easiest way to stay up-to-date on current Texas electrical code?

We have two tips for you here:

Review the update summary in the NFPA journal

The NFPA knows that very few professionals have time to sit down and read through the hundreds and hundreds of pages of the current NEC, let alone compare them to the previous NEC. 

To make sure you have at least a general idea of the changes that went into place with the 2020 NEC, they issued a feature in their NFPA Journal on the most important updates. These resulted in Texas electrical code residential updates including new location requirements for GCFIs and new emergency power disconnect requirements for certain dwellings.

Use your continuing education hours

You can use the hours you’re already required to take to brush up on the 2020 NEC. Since you need CE every year, you might as well use it to get updated on Texas electrical code. 

And you can do exactly that online and at your own pace. With TDLR-approved NEC CE hours for electricians, you can complete your CE requirements and get a quick overview of the latest regulations pertaining to Texas electrical code. 

Review the NFPA Journal and use your CE hours and you should have no trouble staying informed about the latest code developments.