The ground-fault circuit interrupter designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground-fault. (U.S. Department of Labor)

CASPER, Wyo. — City of Casper Community Development officials are predicting that proposed changes to municipal electrical code on average could add $500–$1,000 to newly built residential homes of typical construction. 

Tonight, the Casper City Council will accept public comment during a public hearing and the first of three ordinance readings to amend six sections of municipal code adopting 2023 National Fire Protection Association 70, National Electrical Code.

Due to ongoing extensive renovations at City Hall, the City Council is meeting in The Lyric, 230 W. Yellowstone Highway.

Watch the Tuesday, June 6 Casper City Council regular meeting at The Lyric here:

YouTube video

NFPA is a global self-funded nonprofit organization established in 1896 to eliminate death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards.

The City of Casper Building Division/Community Development Department is responsible for updating and enforcing all City of Casper building codes. 

According to a city staff memo, Wyoming law requires the city to adopt the same building codes as the state within the same calendar year. All sections of the city’s building codes are on a three-year update cycle, with the National Electrical Code a year ahead of other building code revisions. This year, the state will adopt the 2023 NFPA 70, NEC on July 1, replacing the 2020 version.

Justin Scott, a city building inspector, summarized in writing the significant changes to the 2023 National Electrical Code that will impact residential and commercial structures. They include:

  • Ground fault circuit interrupter protection for all 125- to 250-volt receptacles in dwelling unit kitchens.
  • Buffet serving locations must be ground fault circuit interrupter protected.  
  • Commercial appliances within 6 feet of a sink require ground fault circuit interrupter protection.
  • Dwelling unit specific appliances now require ground fault circuit interrupter protection such as microwaves, wall mounted ovens and electric ranges. Island and peninsular countertops and work surfaces are now optional. 
  • Surge protective devices are required on hotels and motels, dormitory units and areas of nursing homes and limited-care facilities used exclusively as patient sleeping rooms.

These are a few of many changes that happen every code cycle that will add some cost to construction on homes, motels and some commercial installations, Scott wrote.

“The main costs are in the breakers required for many of these installs,” he wrote. “On average it will cost $500–$1,000 more for typical new-residential construction. Surge protection has doubled and will certainly add cost to new motels and hotels.”

Another issue is availability of some electrical equipment, and that inability to obtain equipment is leading to longer lead times and increased material costs, Scott wrote.

During past discussions, City Attorney Eric Nelson said that generally speaking, to maintain local enforcement authority the city has to adopt at a minimum the same codes the state has adopted.

“If we don’t adopt them, the state can come in and preempt Casper’s ability to regulate our own citizens,” he said. 

Read more about the 2023 National Fire Protection Association 70, National Electrical Code proposed amended ordinance here: