ANAHEIM, Calif. — Dot-coms flooded the show floor at Electric West 2000 in Las Vegas. A year later, the focus shifted to the California energy crisis with exhibitors offering attendees solutions for backup power.

Generac Power Systems, Waukesha, Wis., introduced a 50 kW generator set at the show Feb. 26 to March 1 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif.

“We tried to come up with solutions to the energy crisis, and this is a good product for us,” said Fred Horner, West Coast regional sales manager.

The generator set became one of the 20 finalists in CEE News' Product of the Year competition. One of the five panel judges, Helen Vozenilek, electrician for the city and county of San Francisco, said the product offered a valuable solution for the industry.

“The whole issue of distributed generation is one that is especially occupying people's minds now with the energy crisis and the knowledge that more and more systems need to operate with an uninterrupted power supply,” Vozenilek said. “It seems like it would be exactly what's needed.”

While the California energy crisis has spiked energy costs for consumers, it has boosted business for some electrical contractors, such as Anthony Demaria, owner of Tony Demaria Electric, Wilmington, Calif. Demaria, one of the Electric West exhibitors, set up a booth to offer his company's services as a specialty electrical contractor to other companies in the area.

“Deregulation has caused a heightened awareness in how valuable electricity is to our daily needs. We used to assume that electricity was going to be there. Since deregulation and power outages, we've learned how much we rely on and count on power.”


Anthony Demaria
Owner of Tony Demaria Electric, Wilmington, Calif.

“I love deregulation because it gives me lots of work. Being a specialty contractor has been wonderful.”

Barry Merhus
Electrical foreman for Gilbert and Sterns Electric, Santa Ana, Calif.

“Deregulation hasn't had any impact yet. If politicians have their way, everything is going to be more to our benefit because it's going to create more work. They already say that they are going to build 15 more plants.”

Oz Paltrinieri
Owner of Oz Electric, North Hollywood, Calif.

“Deregulation is going to boost our business because of the price of electrical power. The Division of Water and Power in Los Angeles is introducing a new program for green power. They are offering a program to subsidize electrical contractors to install solar panels on commercial and residential units. This is something that I see in the future because everyone loves protecting the environment, so why not get involved?”