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Residential Electrical Permits- Lights, Outlets, Switches and More

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Learn about residential electrical permits and when you need one. Read about specific reasons to get residential electrical permit. Find out who can do what and how to determine the correct scope of your electrical project, including plugs, light fixtures, switches, service panels and more.
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When homeowners can pull their own residential electrical permits

Homeowners may pull permits for their own primary home if the:  

  1. property is not and will not be for sale, lease or rent 
  2. work will be done by the homeowner or an immediate family member. Immediate family members include: mother, father, sister, brother, daughter or son. Extended family does not count by State of Oregon Rules. 
  3. home is a single-family house or duplex, not an apartment, condo or triplex. In a duplex, the homeowner may only pull permits and do electrical work for the side that is their primary home. 

Who can apply for residential electrical permits  

  • If a licensed electrical contractor will do the work, they need to pull the permit.   
  • If you are a homeowner, and the property is your primary residence and is not intended for sale, lease or rent you can perform the electrical work yourself. You will need to get the application, print it, fill it out and sign it as the homeowner doing the work, scan it and email it to the trades counter.  

Residential electrical permits- fees 

Fees are based upon the scope of work you plan to do. We also base them on the amount of work we do to process the permit and inspect the work. Learn more about electrical permit fees.

Circuit 

For the purpose of a residential electrical permit, a “circuit” means the wire or cable (romex) from the breaker at the panel to all the items fed by that wire. Any circuit that you are altering, moving, adding to, or replacing lights, switches or receptacles (plugs) on must be counted in this total.  

You may make a good faith guess about how many actual circuits will be affected by the work you plan to do. One easy way to find the number of existing circuits to alter: turn off the breakers one at a time in your panel until all the items you will alter or replace become de-energized. 

Service/feeder 

For a residential electrical permit, a service/feeder is any or all of the equipment from the place the utility connects power at your house (usually a “weatherhead” on the mast at the meter location) to the main distribution panel. This includes:  

  • the meter base (meter box without a disconnect) or meter main (meter box with a main disconnect switch/breaker) 
  • the wires in the mast to the meter (service conductors) 
  • the wires from the disconnect to the panel (feeders) and the distribution panel itself.  

A permit with a single 200A service covers the first main distribution panel (breaker box) whether or not there is a meter-main with breaker spaces (meter-main with provisions), and all the existing circuits that were in the old panel, whether or not they need to be moved or extended to reach the new panel.  

Any new or moved/altered subpanels and the wires feeding them will require an additional “service/feeder” to be purchased. Any new or extended circuits, other than as mentioned above to reach the panel, will require an additional circuit to be purchased on the permit. 

Avoid extra costs: don’t buy both a “square foot package” or individual circuits and service/feeders

Unless you need to replace a service larger than 200A, a residential project should pull only a square foot package OR individual circuits and service/feeders. Do not buy both! Purchasing both is redundant and will cost double for the same permit.

If your project requires fewer than 12 circuits and no service/feeder, you should buy the individual circuits. This is more cost-effective than purchasing the minimum 1000sq-ft package. If your project requires a 200A service or feeder, and 10 or fewer circuits then it is more cost effective to buy the individual circuits.

A square-foot package covers all circuits/services/feeders on and within the building for the square-foot area purchased. It does not cover services/feeders more than 200A, nor feeders/circuits/panels in detached buildings such as garages and sheds.

Permits needed to install new receptacles (plugs) and lights and to replace existing lights and plugs

Permits needed to install new receptacles (plugs) and lights and to replace existing lights and plugs

You need a residential electrical permit to add new receptacles (plugs) and lights or to replace lights and plugs. You should start with “1st circuit w/o service or feeder” and add “additional circuits” to that to cover the circuits you will be working on. Unless you plan to work on more than 12 circuits, it usually costs less to use individual circuit fixtures rather than a square-foot package.

Permits needed to replace basement breaker boxes

This requires a 200A service/feeder permit. Any new circuits not in the old panel, or that are being altered, added to, moved or extended will require additional branch circuits to be purchased on the permit.

Permits needed to install a new meter base to upgrade to 200A service

This requires a 200A service/feeder permit. Any new circuits not in the old panel, or that are being altered, added to, moved or extended will require additional branch circuits to be purchased on the permit.

Permits needed to install a new subpanel right next to the existing panel to add more breaker spaces

This requires a 200A service/feeder permit. Any new circuits not in the old panel, or that are being altered, added to, moved or extended will require additional branch circuits to be purchased on the permit.  

Permits needed to install a 30, 40, 50 or 60A feeder from an existing panel/service to a new subpanel in an attached garage/workshop

This requires a 200A service/feeder permit. Any new circuits not in the old panel, or that are being altered, added to, moved or extended will require additional branch circuits to be purchased on the permit.  

Permit needed to run a 30/40/50/60amp wire to a detached shed/garage and install a subpanel and circuits

If all the work, other than the breaker and feeder leaving the house, is in the detached building, you need one permit with a 200A or less service/feeder and the number of new/altered circuits in that building. If any work is also to be done in the main building (house) you will need a separate permit.  

Permits needed to upgrade the house service and run power to a detached building

Oregon Adopted Rules require each detached building to have separate permits. You will need one permit with fixtures or square-foot package covering the scope for the work being done at the main house. You also need a separate permit (not just additional fixtures) for the work at the detached building.  

Each permit’s description should clearly state which building it covers, as each permit has the same address. You need to request inspections for each building on the permit. These may or may not be called in at the same day and time.  

Permits needed to run power for an outdoor hot tub/sauna and associated equipment

A 240V 30/40/50/60Amp circuit is still just one circuit. Count the number of circuits you will need and purchase a permit for that number. Often, hot tubs require 2 circuits for the tub, and you may also need additional circuits for required plug receptacles and lighting.   

We don't classify hot tubs and saunas as “detached structures.” We don't require permits separate from the building where the circuits originate. Read more about hot tubs, saunas and permits

Permits needed for a property with power shut off for 6 months or more and the utility won’t reconnect without a City inspection  

If an owned/managed/rented/for sale residential property has had the power shut off, you need a “Service/reconnect Only” permit. Anyone with a connection to the property, including tenants, real estate agents, property managers, etc. can buy this permit. This permit is for one inspection only. No work may be done under this permit. The exception is when an electrical contractor pulls the permit, and only under very specific circumstances.) If work needs to be done, contact an electrical contractor to pull a full permit.

If, after the inspection, we need work done before we can approve getting power turned on, we'll need a full permit by a contractor.

Apply for a residential electrical permit

Get the electrical permit application and apply for your electrical permit.

Contact

Trade Permit Information (Electrical, Mechanical & Plumbing)

Development Services

phone number503-823-7363

Monday through Friday from 8 am - 5 pm. Leave a message with detailed information.

Oregon Relay Service711 Oregon Relay Service

Residential Inspections

Development Services

phone number503-823-7388

Monday through Friday from 8:15 am - 3:45 pm. Leave a detailed message.

Oregon Relay Service711 Oregon Relay Service
fax number503-823-7693

Requests for Inspection

Development Services

phone number503-823-7000

Automated Line - Requires an IVR or permit number

Oregon Relay Service711 Oregon Relay Service

Location