What is a Licensed Electrical Worker (LEW) in Singapore?
In Singapore, electrical work is governed by stringent regulations to ensure safety and professionalism. The Electricity Act 2001 provides a comprehensive framework for the licensing and regulation of electrical workers.
This article goes into the specifics of what constitutes a licensed electrical worker in Singapore, the different classes of licenses available, and how to check for a valid license. It also briefly speaks about how a person becomes a licensed electrician and offers electrician services in Singapore.
A Licensed Electrical Worker (LEW) in Singapore is a professional authorized by the Energy Market Authority to undertake specific electrical tasks, ensuring the highest standards of safety and professionalism in the electrical field.
Governed by the Electricity Act 2001, these workers are essential for maintaining the integrity of electrical installations and systems in the country. The Act stipulates stringent criteria for licensing, ensuring that only those with the requisite knowledge, qualifications, and assessments can perform or supervise electrical work. This framework ensures that both residential and commercial electrical tasks are executed by individuals equipped with the necessary expertise.
Electrical Worker Licensing as Mandated by the Electricity Act 2001
Carrying Out Electrical Work:
- An individual is prohibited from executing, offering, or undertaking any electrical work unless they are a licensed electrical worker or are supervised by one.
- Individuals cannot advertise or present themselves as authorised to perform electrical work unless they are a licensed electrical worker or are supervised by one.
- Businesses must ensure that electrical work is executed by licensed electrical workers or those under their supervision.
Engaging Electrical Workers:
- Property owners and occupiers are not allowed to knowingly engage someone unauthorised to carry out electrical work.
- The Authority can issue, modify, or revoke an electrical worker license. They can also classify licenses, specify the nature of work permitted under a license, and set conditions or restrictions.
- There are specific exceptions, such as individuals replacing lamps or fuses in their own electrical installations and officers of the Authority performing electrical work as part of their duties.
- It is lawful to perform electrical work without being a licensed electrical worker in a situation that is covered by the specified exceptions.
The Electricity Act 2001 is an act to create a competitive market framework for the electricity industry, to make provision for the safety, technical and economic regulation of the generation, transmission, supply and use of electricity, and for other matters connected therewith.
To read the rest of the act, download a copy of the Electricity Act 2001 (2020 Revised Edition). This file incorporates all amendments up to and including 1 December 2021.
Classes of Electrical Worker Licenses
In Singapore, electrical workers are categorised into distinct classes, each with its own set of qualifications, responsibilities, and scope of work. These classifications ensure that electrical tasks are executed by individuals with the appropriate expertise and training. Here's a more detailed breakdown based on the Electricity (Electrical Workers) Regulations:
- Electrician (Grade 7):
- Scope: Electricians are primarily responsible for carrying out and supervising simpler electrical tasks. This includes work in residential areas, such as Housing Development Board (HDB) flats. Their tasks might encompass installation, repair, or maintenance of electrical wiring, distribution boards, and other household and small commercial electrical installations.
- Limitations: Their work is restricted to installations with a load not exceeding 45kVA and a voltage level of 1,000V and below.
- Electrical Technician (Grade 8):
- Scope: Electrical Technicians handle more complex installations compared to Electricians. They might be involved in larger projects, such as commercial establishments or public spaces like food courts. Their responsibilities can include the design of electrical systems, overseeing installations, and ensuring safety protocols are met.
- Limitations: For design tasks, their work is limited to installations with a load not exceeding 150kVA. For operational tasks, they can handle installations with a load not exceeding 500kVA. The voltage level for both is 1,000V and below.
- Electrical Engineer (Grade 9):
- Scope: Electrical Engineers are at the pinnacle of the hierarchy, equipped to handle the most intricate and large-scale electrical projects. They can design, install, repair, and maintain any electrical installation without restrictions on the electrical load. Their expertise is often sought for major infrastructural projects, industrial setups, and other large establishments.
- Limitations: While they have no specific limit on the load of the installations they handle, their operation voltage restrictions are subject to the conditions of their license. The voltage limits available to Electrical Engineers are up to 1,000V, 22,000V, 66,000V, 230,000V, and 400,000V.
Engaging Licensed Electrical Workers
All electrical tasks, be it at home or the office, should be carried out or supervised a Licensed Electrical Worker unless the work to be carried out is covered by exceptions listed in Electricity Act 2001.
You must engage the appropriate class of Licensed Electrical Worker based on the needs of your electrical project. For example, simple electrical work in a HDB apartment will require the services of an Electrician while a new wing in a shopping mall might require the services of a Electrical Engineer.
How to check for a valid license
All LEWs are issued with a license card, which includes a photograph, his name, identity card number and license number. The best way to verify the Licensed Electrical Worker’s information before you commence a large scale electrical work is to use the Energy Market Authority's Licensed Electrical Worker search tool.
How to become a licensed electrical worker
The Energy Market Authority (EMA) has set forth specific criteria and procedures for individuals aspiring to become a Licensed Electrical Worker (LEW) at the Electrician level. Here are the main requirements one has to fulfil in order to become a Licensed Electrician.
- Knowledge Requirements:
- Familiarity with the Electricity Act 2001.
- Understanding of the Subsidiary Regulations governing electrical safety in Singapore, including the Electricity (Electrical Workers) Regulations and Electricity (Electrical Installations) Regulations.
- Proficiency in the Code of Practices stipulated under the Electricity (Electrical Installations) Regulations, such as SS 638, SS 650: Part 1, and SS 650: Part 2.
- Possess a National Institute of Technical Education Certificate relevant to the electrical work an electrician is authorised to perform or other qualifications acceptable to the Authority.
- Have at least 2 years of practical experience in Singapore relevant to the electrical work an electrician is authorised to perform.
- Alternatively, have a minimum of 10 years of practical experience in Singapore relevant to the electrical work an electrician is authorised to perform.
- Or, have at least 5 years of practical experience in Singapore relevant to the electrical work an electrician is authorised to perform and have successfully completed Licensed Electrician Preparatory Course (Programme Code: EN032) conducted by the Singapore Institute of Power and Gas.
- Applicants are required to attend a 2 hours 30 minutes written assessment, which includes 60 multiple choice questions on domestic installations, industrial installation, and Act & Regulation. Additionally, there are four structured questions on electrical drawing and design.
- Successful candidates in the written assessment will then undergo a 1-hour practical test and a 1-hour technical assessment interview.
For those who are keen on exploring the journey of becoming a Licensed Electrical Worker at the Electrician level and beyond, please read our dedicated article on "How to Become a Licensed Electrical Worker in Singapore".
The role of a Licensed Electrical Worker in Singapore is pivotal in ensuring the safety and professionalism in the field of electricity. With a robust framework provided by the Electricity Act 2001 and the Energy Market Authority's stringent licensing process, Singapore ensures that the individuals entrusted with electrical work are able to maintain safety and professionalism.