Electrical Operating Permit Fee Policy for Alternative Safety Approaches Clients

Information Bulletin

Information Bulletin: Electrical Operating Permit Fee Policy for Alternative Safety Approaches Clients

August 21, 2023

Information Bulletin
Alternative Safety Approaches

Reference Number:

IB-EL 2023-01

This bulletin provides Technical Safety BC’s new policy for fees for electrical operating permits (ELOPs) held by clients with either an approved Equivalent Standard Approach (ESA) or Safety Management Plan (SMP) under the Alternative Safety Approach (ASA) program.

For a more complete overview of electrical operating permit requirements please refer to Information Bulletin No: IB-EL 2015-03 Revision 01 at www.technicalsafetybc.ca.


Who Needs an Electrical Operating Permit?

Operating permits are necessary to satisfy requirements for operation and maintenance of electrical equipment specified in the Safety Standards General Regulation and BC Electrical Code Regulation and to ensure that maintenance of electrical equipment is monitored by qualified individuals.

An operating permit is required for electrical equipment when:

  • operation or design of electrical equipment requires regular or ongoing maintenance;
  • supply to privately owned equipment is greater than 750 volts (except for high voltage neon signs);
  • equipment is operated or maintained for emergency service and/or is part of a fire alarm system.
  • rated service capacity of equipment as per the manufacturer’s nameplate rating is capable of handling electrical supply of over 250 KVA (e.g. main service switch, main transforming equipment, electrical panel, or transformer); or
  • equipment is operated within the class or zone designations for hazardous locations.

The Notice of Determination (NOD) issued for many electrical ASA clients approves an exemption to the requirement to obtain an individual operating permit for each site. The exemption allows for one electrical operating permit to be issued for all sites under the care and control of the client. The single operating permit needs to be supported by a site list (e.g. a spreadsheet) that is submitted annually by the client and includes a list of all the locations and electrical data for each individual site. Sites documented in the site list are authorized to be managed by the client as outlined in their approved ESA or SMP and NOD.

New sites that are added during the year are authorized to be managed under the single operating permit provided they are added to the site list prior to the next year’s site list submission as part of annual report submission.

Sites that are disposed of during the year will be removed from the site list prior to the next year’s site list submission.

Operating permit fees will be applied to each site on the site list as outlined in the current electrical fee schedule.

In many cases, the ASA client’s site list may include numerous small sites with regulated electrical equipment that operate in a hazardous location as defined in Canadian Electrical Code Part 1, this policy reflects low safety risk nature of those equipment.

The fee policy is as follows:

  • Sites that have an electrical load of less than 5 KVA will have the operating permit fees waived.
  • Sites that have an electrical load of 5 KVA or greater will have the operating permit fees charged in accordance with the electrical fee schedule.
  • One operating permit invoice will be issued annually for all listed sites.

Clients who do not have an approved ASA exemption authorizing a single electrical operating permit are responsible for ensuring that individual electrical operating permits are obtained for all sites.

For information related to the Alternative Safety Approaches program, visit www.technicalsafetybc.ca or contact asa@technicalsafetybc.ca.


Jim Wang
Provincial Safety Manager, Safety Management Approaches



Safety Standards Act
Alternative Safety Approaches Regulation
Electrical Safety Regulation
Elevating Devices Safety Regulation
Gas Safety Regulation
Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel & Refrigeration Safety Regulation
Safety Standards General Regulation
Safety Standards Act Repeal and Transitional Provisions Regulations

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