April 29, 2002

Plan for electric reliability organization gains industry support

The Bush administration’s National Energy Plan is gaining support from members of the electrical industry, as the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) last week expressed its approval of the plan. The bill, which was approved by the Senate, authorizes the creation of an industry-based, North America-wide electric reliability organization, or ERO, to develop and enforce the standards necessary to protect the reliability of the electric grid.

The reliability provisions of the bill provide for FERC oversight in the United States, ensure the full and equal participation of Canada and Mexico, and protect the roles of the states and regions in supporting reliability of the interconnected North American electric grid. With support from NERC and several other state government, industry, and consumer groups, the bill will now go to conference to resolve differences with the energy bill that was passed by the House of Representatives last summer.

“The Senate has clearly indicated that we need to get on with the job of creating an electric reliability organization that will have the ability to set and enforce mandatory reliability standards throughout North America,” says Michehl R. Gent, NERC president and CEO. “With the passage of this bill, we are strongly encouraged that they will finish the job this year.”



April 29, 2002

ASA, AIC join forces to improve constructors’ image

In an attempt to encourage public and private corporate policies recognizing the certified professional constructor (CPC) and associate constructor (AC) designations, the American Subcontractors Association (ASA), Alexandria, Va., and the American Institute of Constructors (AIC), St. Petersburg, Fla., recently signed an agreement outlining their commitment to strengthening the image of constructors.

According to the AIC, a constructor is “an individual who possesses the skills and knowledge acquired by education and experience to manage the execution of all or a substantial portion of construction works.” The agreement states the groups’ mutual understanding to encourage a higher ethical standard for professional constructors and their belief that the professional image of the constructors needs to be improved.

“The agreement provides a unified voice when speaking to owners and other built environment professionals of the value certified constructors bring to a project and the industry as a whole,” says James Redlinger, AIC president.



April 26, 2002

Stora Enso installs virtual power plant

Stora Enso, a leading paper producer for the printing and publishing industries in North America, recently installed 630 energy-efficient lighting fixtures, manufactured by Orion Lighting Services, in its Stevens Point Mill in Wisconsin. By doing so, Stora Enso hopes to conserve 977,478 kWh per year and expects the retrofit to pay for itself within 25 months.

The Orion Virtual Power Plant (OVPP) concept is based on Orion’s ability to market energy-throughput (high-quality light) and displaced capacity (reduced electricity consumption) to end-users and utilities. In other words, Orion generates this displaced capacity through the installation of its energy-saving lighting fixtures, thereby empowering commercial and industrial customers to control their energy and maintenance costs while allowing utility companies to reduce overall electricity demand.



April 26, 2002

Free maintenance and reliability training offered on the Web

E-ConferenceZone.com recently unveiled a free online R/CM1 Reliability & Condition Monitoring Training course. With presentation topics added weekly to the site, the conference covers Asset Management Strategies, PM Optimization, Introduction to Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), Introduction to Vibration Analysis, Introduction to Ultrasonic Detection, Power Quality, Motor System Management, Electrical Reliability, Effective CMMS, World Class Compress Air, Steam System Basics, Root Cause Analysis, and Precision Alignment.

You can access the course via any current Web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. To log onto any free R/CM training course, visit www.rcm-1.com.



April 24, 2002

Electric City to bring on-site power to Chicago Housing Authority

In keeping with its attempt to shift its focus to providing power management and reliability technology, Electric City Corp., Elk Grove, Ill., recently secured a contract with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) to supply backup power electric switchgear and generators to various senior housing sites. The $1.1 million project is expected to be completed in six months.

According to John Mitola, Electric City CEO, the CHA project is part of the company’s current move toward distributed generation projects. “This is just one of the several on-site power and controls projects that we have been working on over the past several months,” he said.



April 24, 2002

Graybar offers incentive program to customers

Loyal customers of Graybar are about to receive a few more reasons to continue buying from the St. Louis-based electrical product distributor. The company’s ePoint program presents representatives from contractors, resellers, and dealers a choice of more than 2,000 incentive awards when they buy selected manufacturer-sponsored products and systems from Graybar.

The system awards a number of points for each qualifying product purchased, which are then deposited into member accounts every month and can be exchanged for merchandise and travel for their employee incentive programs. Users can choose from several awards included in Graybar’s web-based catalog.

Members of the incentive program can begin earning points immediately after joining. Purchases are handled in the normal manner and tracked automatically to the ePoint member online.

For more information, visit www.graybar.com.



April 22, 2002

EPRI, Energy Central team to publish white papers

As part of an attempt to provide guidance to the electrical industry on the application, maintenance, and marketing of electrical technology, the Research Report Center on Energy Central has struck a deal with EPRI to publish the organization’s reports and white papers. The subject of the reports will range from distributed resources for power quality to energy infrastructure security.

The reports will be posted in the Research Report Center area of Energy Central’s Web site (www.energycentral.com). The newest postings will be listed under “New to Energy Central” on the front page. Users can purchase and download reports directly from the site.



April 22, 2002

GE Structured Services launches online catalog

GE Structured Services, formerly GE Support Services, recently went live with its GE Parts Direct Web site. The Mt. Laurel, NJ-based company’s site provides access to more than 300,000 parts, ranging from motors and power delivery devices to drives.

In addition to its online catalog function, the site offers technical advice and support for parts searches, real-time orders and quotes, and customer account information. User can perform searches and make purchases 24 hr a day.

For more information, visit www.partsdirect.ge.com.



April 17, 2002

Nexans opens international R&D facility in Pennsylvania

Copper and optical fiber cabling manufacturer Nexans, Paris, recently opened an international testing in New Holland, Pa., it’s 11th such facility. Located near subsidiary Berk-Tek, the New Holland Competence Center (NHCC) will focus on advanced product design and applications and materials development.

According to a Nexans press release, the center is equipped to support customer and marketing demands by focusing on three technology areas: design and applications, materials development, and production extrusion processes.

Eric Lawrence, LAN cable competence center manager will oversee the NHCC and coordinate with the company’s other units in the global R&D network.



April 17, 2002

Cooper Bussman updates Web site search engine

Cooper Bussmann has updated its online product/cross reference search on its Web site. Visitors to the site can now type the product number of a Bussman or competitor part in the product/cross reference search field and receive technical reference information.

The site also includes product data via catalog and data sheets by product or part number. Application information includes publications and articles, software, seminars, and industry links.

For more information, visit www.bussmann.com.



April 17, 2002

Leviton expands Web site “applications”


After more than a year on the Web, Leviton’s Application Connection site has received a makeover. The Little Neck, NY-based wiring device manufacturer has supplemented the site (www.leviton.com) with commercial applications and products.

“Users can view the optimal choices for energy savings, safety, or convenience on a room-by-room or area-by-area basis,” says Stan Rydzynski, Leviton’s director of ED marketing. “It helps contractors sell-up higher margin devices that replace standard products like switches and receptacles.”

The company launched the Application Connection in January 2001 with residential applications and products for homeowners. There are plans for the addition of a final segment in the second quarter 2002 focusing on the industrial marketplace.



April 15, 2002

Buckles-Smith acquires Electrical Materials

As reported in Electrical Marketing newsletter, northern California industrial distributor Buckles-Smith Electric Co., San Jose, Calif., recently signed an agreement to acquire Electrical Materials Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.

Electrical Materials, a one-house distributor, shares with Buckles Smith an emphasis on the industrial MRO and OEM market.

Art Cook, president of Buckles-Smith, said his company made the acquisition to give itself a foothold in the San Francisco Bay area. “It’s an area where we don’t have a physical presence,” he said. “We have locations in the south bay and several location in the east bay, but we did not have any locations in the peninsula.”

Electrical Materials will not immediately change its name.



April 15, 2002

Addison Electric to offer Emerson DC motors

After nearly 25 yr in the motor control business, Addison Electric has expanded its product offering to include AC motors. The Chicago-based DC motor distributor recently teamed with Emerson Motor Technologies to sell the latter’s cast iron, aluminum, and rolled steel TEFC, NEMA premium, close coupled pump, vector duty, energy-efficient open drip proof, and washdown AC motors.

Addison Electric had sold Emerson’s DC motors in the past, so the migration to AC motors seemed like a natural progression to Brian Wolek, Emerson sales manager. “They are one of the largest DC motor distributors in the United States, so when they placed a significant order for our AC motors, after offering our DC motors for so many years, we were very pleased,” he said.

For more information on Addison, visit www.addisonelectric.com.



April 12, 2002

Cooper Lighting accepts entries for 2002 Cooper Source Awards

Are you always designing new and exciting lighting schemes, only to be rewarded with little more than a “That looks nice”? Cooper Lighting is ready to acknowledge your lighting design talents with something more tangible. The Peachtree City, Ga.-based lighting company is calling for entries for its 26th annual Cooper Source Awards, to be awarded in December.

Focusing on furthering the understanding, knowledge, and function of lighting as a primary element of design and open to any lighting designer, architect, interior designer or professional that uses light in an interior or exterior permanent application, the awards will recognize excellence in the blending of aesthetics and technical performance. Lighting design students are also encouraged to enter conceptual work for consideration in a separate category.

Student winners will receive trophies and monetary awards, and professional winners will receive trophies and local and national recognition through advertising. First place winners will also receive an all expenses paid invitation to attend a lighting seminar at Source, the company’s training and education facility located at its headquarters. Final deadline for entries is October 25, 2002.



April 12, 2002

NASA launches
energy management system

NASA has installed an enterprise energy management system at its Ames Research Center facility near San Francisco to control power usage and reduce costs. Designed by Jacobs/Sverdrup Technology, the system monitors power usage throughout the center, including the facility’s three large wind tunnels, which are used regularly for aeronautic research and development testing.

Manufactured by Power Measurement, Victoria, Canada, the system uses Ion Enterprise software installed on more than a dozen PC workstations combined with nearly 100 Ion 7330 and Ion 7700 meters to help facility personnel manage and schedule real-time future energy usage.

Since installing the system, the Ames Center has reported a significant drop in energy expenditures and a greater ability to maintain integrated demand below monthly allowable levels.



April 10, 2002

GE Supply opens new distribution center in Chicago ’burbs

As first reported in the March 29 issue of Electrical Marketing newsletter, GE Supply, Shelton, Conn., recently opened its new 180,000 sq. ft Midwest Distribution Hub and sales office in Naperville, Ill. The building will serve as the company’s Midwest region headquarters and be home to its national sourcing operations.

The sales office is located in Prairie Point Corporate Park and stocks more than 30,000 electrical, voice, and datacom products from GE and other manufacturers. The sales office includes a new technical center as well as customer engineering and application support services.



April 10, 2002

Online estimating service reduces pricing times

Eliminating common hurdles to estimating, Electricsmarts.com recently introduced NetPricer, a service that allows contractors using estimating software from participating vendors to connect to their favorite distributors and quickly download negotiated prices.

The new service makes it possible for contractors to skip the unnecessary steps of faxing a list of materials needed for a job to a distributor and waiting for a list of prices. Instead, the system will automatically retrieve material prices from pre-determined distributors via the Internet. By cutting out the human element in the equation, the service is available 24 hr a day, allowing estimators to gain access to prices when it’s convenient for them.

For more information, visit www.electricsmarts.com.



April 8, 2002

NECA publishes fire alarm standard

In an effort to describe procedures for installing, testing, and maintaining fire alarm systems, NECA recently published NECA 305-2001, Standard for Fire Alarm Systems Job Practices, the latest addition to its National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS) series. The document is based on requirements of the National Fire Alarm Code and is intended to be referenced in contract documents for electrical construction projects.

NECA 305-2001 is the 15th NEIS to be published and the 13th to be approved by the American National Standards Institute. It is available for $25 and can be ordered via phone at (301) 215-4504 or through the association’s Web site, www.neca-neis.org/catalog.



April 8, 2002

DeWalt sponsors quick-drill contest

Fancy yourself a modern-day Quick Draw McGraw when you’ve got your cordless drill in your hands? Now’s your chance to show off your screw setting skills. DeWalt, Baltimore, will hold its Million Dollar Challenge cordless drilling contest throughout April, in which contestants will compete to see who can drive five 1 5/8 in. course-thread screws into a pine board with the company’s 14.4V cordless drill the fastest. The winner could take home a Chevy van and as much as $1 million.

The company will hold more than 400 qualifying events in more than 50 cities. Those contestants with the fastest times from each local event will win a 2003 Chevy Express utility van and advance to one of 16 regional contests. The finals will be held in Phoenix, Nov. 8-10, where the finalists will have a chance to win $1 million.

For rules, regulations, a prize list and winner updates, visit www.dewalt.com.



April 5, 2002

BICSI debuts online datacom training program

For datacom installers interested in learning more about ANSI/TIA/EIA-569, BICSI is now offering an online training course covering the commercial building standard for telecommunications pathways and spaces.

Designed as an introductory level course, the course provides learning modules on horizontal pathways, work area, telecommunications room, equipment room, entrance facility, main terminals space, noise and special considerations, and firestopping. The self-paced course can be completed in approximately 2 hr. Students who successfully complete the online exam will earn two BICSI CECs.

For more information, visit www.bicsi.org/train.htm.



April 5, 2002

EPA names UL official Energy Star test agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named Underwriters Laboratories as an official testing organization for the Energy Star residential ceiling fan program. UL will conduct the tests in its Taiwan ceiling fan test lab, which was completed in late February.

Ceiling fans that meet the testing requirements move air 15% to 20% more efficiently than a typical fan.

“Environmental protection and energy conservation are critical considerations in the United States, and Energy Star is a label recognized by consumers as the symbol of energy efficiency,” says Michael Hopfinger, Asia Pacific inspection and field services director.

This latest Energy Star program began earlier this year.



April 3, 2002

Omaha to play host to 2002 Electrical Manufacturers Trade Show

Electrical industry members who register for the 2002 Electrical Manufacturers Trade Show by April 19 will be entered in a drawing for a $300 travel certificate. The show, sponsored by Nebraska Iowa Electrical Council and to be held April 24-25 at the Omaha Civic Auditorium Exhibition Hall in Omaha, Neb., will play host to nearly 50 exhibitors from around the industry.

In addition to an exhibition of products from the standby power, TVSS, and power quality markets, among others, the show will also feature a free seminar, “Distributed Communication Architecture: Utilizing Ethernet in Industrial Automation.” The discussion will focus on using Ethernet and TCP/IP to bring open fieldbus networks to market more quickly.

For information on registering, visit www.electricalcouncil.com.



April 3, 2002

Home Depot makes down payment on the future of skilled workforce

Pledging its support for the training of America’s future skilled workforce, Home Depot recently donated $85,000 to SkillsUSA – VICA, a national organization for career and technical education students and their instructors. The donation will assist in the sponsorship of national SkillsUSA activities, including its career fair, 2002 conference management guide, and online employment network.

“As prospective skilled workers in professions ranging from machining and drafting to transportation and health, our students are getting ready to take their place in building America’s communities,” says Timothy Lawrence, executive director of SkillsUSA. “We appreciate Home Depot’s investment in the careers and technical education of our students.”

For more information, visit www.skillsusa.org.



April 1, 2002

FieldCentrix teams with Microsoft to expand Internet services

FieldCentrix, Irvine, Calif., and the Microsoft Consulting Services Advanced Technology (MCSAT) group recently announced they are jointly developing a wireless Internet ordering service for FieldCentrix customers using Microsoft Visual Studio .Net and the .Net framework.

The service, FX e-Service, will be a self-serve Web portal that will allow users to initiate service calls and have real-time Internet access to project status and work progress.

“We believe the Microsoft platform, coupled with Microsoft Mobile devices such as Pocket PC and smart phones, will be key to creating leading-edge field service automation solutions,” says Tracy Price, FieldCentrix president and CEO.

There is no published launch date for the service.



April 1, 2002

Hurst customers configures motors online

Hurst Manufacturing recently announced its customers can now configure custom brushless DC motors online and receive prototypes in 48 hr. Visitors to the company’s Web site (www.hurstmfg.com) can choose from more than 6,000 NT Dynamo models and receive a mock-up in two days.

The online motor configurer walks customers through a six-step selection process that includes “yes” and “no” questions and pulldown menus of answer options to create a customer-specific motor and control. Once they have configured their motor, customers have access to a part number, dimensional diagrams, and technical specifications. To request a quote or order the prototype online, customers must first register for a free MyHurst.com account. The account allows them to get price quotes and place and track orders.

Prototypes start at $200 and are production-ready.