Nov. 27, 2002

Southwestern Technologies becomes Square D authorized panel builder

Bringing with it a heritage of precision equipment design that includes the production of Bulova watches, Southwestern Technologies, Phoenix, has joined the Square D Authorized Panel Builder Program. According to Square D, Palatine, Ill., the program is an effort to link the company with the nation’s top control panel builders for the benefit of its customers.

Under the terms of the program, Southwestern Technologies will have access to Square D’s customers in return for specifying and using Schneider Electric products.

Southwestern Technologies provides electrical panels for several markets, including water and wastewater treatment plants, semiconductor equipment, and biomedical facilities.



Nov. 27, 2002

Post Glover hosts grounding symposium

Several experts from the electrical industry will be on hand to discuss the latest in grounding at the Symposium on Grounding of Industrial Power Systems, Jan. 29, 2003, at the Saudi Aramco Auditorium in Houston. The symposium is sponsored by Post Glover, Erlanger, Ky., and admission is free.

Speakers will address the following topics:

  • Grounding Techniques for Industrial Power Systems

  • Reactance Grounding

  • The Added Safety Provided by High-Resistance Grounding

  • Insurance Underwriters Preferred Grounding Systems

Interested parties must RSVP to Debbie Marksberry via email at debm@postglover.com or by phone at (800) 537-6144.



Nov. 25, 2002

NAED announces top contributors to training and educational programs

Even in tight economic times, several members of the electrical industry have found enough money in their budgets to make sizable contributions to training and educational resources. The Education Foundation of NAED recently announced the top financial supporters of its 2001-2002 Annual Contribution Campaign and designated them as trustees of the University of Electrical Distribution. The list includes the following eight distributors and manufacturers.

Cooper Industries, Houston
Kirk Hachigian

General Electric Co., Plainville, Conn.
Mike Pilot

Graybar Foundation, St. Louis
Dennis E. DeSousa

The Harvey Hubbell Foundation, Orange, Conn.
Timothy H. Powers

Osram Sylvania, Danvers, Mass.
Francis M. Piscitelli

Siemens Energy & Automation, Alpharetta, Ga.
Dale Wilson

Thomas & Betts Corp., Memphis, Tenn.
Robert C. Calhoun

The Wiremold Co., West Hartford, Conn.
Don Torrant

The 2002-2003 NAED Education Foundation Annual Contribution campaign begins in November and runs through June.



Nov. 25, 2002

IEC apprenticeship program gets extra credit

As it turns out, electricians who complete the IEC’s apprenticeship and training courses are smarter than anyone was giving them credit for. After a review by the American Council on Education’s College Recommendation Service, the electrical contracting organization’s apprenticeship program was deemed worthy of 29 semester hours of college transfer credit. The program was valued at 24 hours during a review three years ago.

The increase comes at a time when more than 40% of American adults are returning to school in one form or another to earn their bachelor’s degrees, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Education Study. Electricians interested in going back to college will now have more than a full year of college credit under their belts.



Nov. 22, 2002

Wireless sensor market
to quadruple by 2008

Despite current corporate belt tightening and reduced venture capital, revenues for the wireless sensor industry could reach $101.1 million in 2008, according to a new study by independent research group Frost & Sullivan. Revenues topped out at 24 million in 2001, but the study points out that investors are still impressed by the demonstrated reliability of core applications.

Laurel Donoho, senior consulting analyst for Frost & Sullivan predicts that end users will test the technology in non-critical applications until satisfied with their performance. The study, “The North American Wireless Sensors Markets,” highlights the technology’s benefits, including adaptability to different operations and higher safety, but also points out that the shortage of field proof will likely slow down the adoption of any new technology in the near future.

Donoho is confident that the technology will gain acceptance, though. “The concept of wireless sensing is one of the most fascinating and promising areas of sensor technology – the potential for industrial, commercial, and consumer uses boggles the mind,” she says. “Once convinced of its performance, adoption in a wider array of uses should start.” The complete study is available from the Frost & Sullivan's Web site.



Nov. 22, 2002

Worldwide fuel cell market to get a jumpstart throughout next decade

As the fuel cell industry shifts from the research and development phase to early commercialization around the world, the technology’s energy generating capacity will enjoy unprecedented growth over the next decade, according to a study by Allied Business Intelligence (ABI). The study predicts that the capacity will increase from its 2002 total of 45MW to 16,000MW by 2012.

“Global Stationary Fuel Cell Markets: A Detailed Analysis of an Emerging Industry” identifies early potential opportunities in markets that can see deployment from 50W to 30MW in the United States and worldwide. The study also notes that quality power and industrial power supply markets are expected to see higher growth rates than residential markets.

The study is available from the company’s Web site.



Nov. 20, 2002

Automated home technology demands to rise over next 5 years

Home automation industry revenues could reach as high as $3.17 billion by 2007, according to a new study released by Allied Business Intelligence (ABI). Between the do-it-yourself market and custom homes with sophisticated systems that incorporate hardwired lighting, automated HVAC, and whole-house audio/video systems lies an untapped market of mid-level homes that will contribute to that rise in revenue, the study reports.

“Home Automation Systems & Control Networks: Market Segmentation & Drivers, Technology Review and Forecasts” discusses technology standards, proprietary systems, and emerging technologies as well as market trends that are creating opportunities for growth. It addresses several markets, including do-it-yourself systems and the mid-level projects that will drive the industry.

The report is available on ABI’s Web site.



Nov. 20, 2002

NSF International expands electrical certification program to food equipment

NSF International, Ann Arbor, Mich., has expanded its certification services to include electrical safety testing and certification for food equipment manufacturers. An electrical certification mark from the company signifies that equipment complies with the requirements of UL and CSA.

The company’s certification program, which began when it was accredited as a nationally recognized testing laboratory (NRTL) for electrical testing in 2000, gives manufacturers a full range of services. Food equipment manufacturers that currently maintain sanitation certification with NSF can get their electrical certification from them as well.



Nov. 18, 2002

Northern California becomes first group to give V/D/V a presence on the Web

Apparently voice-data-video isn’t a fad after all. The Labor Management Cooperation Committee (LMCC) of Northern California, which includes representatives from NECA and the IBEW, has established a Web site devoted to the fast growing segment of the electrical industry.

In a time when everything gets its own Web site, V/D/V has proven to be well worth the attention. The market for the technology in Northern California has grown by 1,264% in the last eight year and is expected to yield national revenues of $30 billion this year.

The site, www.norcalvdv.org, features a searchable contractor directory, an industry outlook section, and information about union training and benefits for current IBEW members who work within the V/D/V sector.



Nov. 18, 2002

Emerson Motor Technologies picks up new distributor in the South

Emerson Motor Technologies, St. Louis, has broadened its reach in the Southeast by adding a new member to its stable of distributors. Electric Motor Shop (EMS), Wake Forest, N.C., will give Emerson the opportunity to service industries within North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The distributor deals mainly with pharmaceutical, chemical, and aggregate clients.

In addition to providing motors, representatives from Emerson and EMS will help customers choose the products that will best serve their operation.



Nov. 15, 2002

New England’s power supply is dressed for the party but can’t find a ride

Following an engineering assessment of New England’s power system that highlighted southwest Connecticut as an area of concern for power transmission reliability, the region’s power grid operator, ISO New England, said it needs $900 million in transmission upgrades to maintain system reliability. More than 4,500MW of new generation capacity has been added to the region’s power system over the last three years, but a similar investment in the transmission system has yet to be made.

ISO said electricity produced in Maine, southeastern Massachusetts, and Rhode Island could help alleviate the problem in energy-strapped areas like Connecticut, but weak power lines can’t carry the load.

The grid operator approved a plan for more than 30 transmission projects planned or proposed throughout New England. Proposed projects in southwestern Connecticut and northwestern Vermont account for almost $750 million of the expected upgrade costs.



Nov. 15, 2002

NEMA publishes guide for adjustable speed drive installation

In order to clear up confusion over motors powered by adjustable speed drives, NEMA’s Industrial Automation Control Products and Systems section and Motor and Generator section recently developed the “NEMA Application Guide for AC Adjustable Speed Drive Systems.” The guide is intended to help users in the selection and application of such drives.

The guide covers AC electrical drive systems rated 600V or less and consisting of 3-phase induction motors, voltage source pulse-width modulated adjustable frequency controls, and associated components. It addresses issues the association believes should be considered in the selection of drive system components and the installation of the drive system.

The guide is available on NEMA’s Web site.



Nov. 13, 2002

Federal grand jury subpoenas energy providers in California price scam

California Gov. Gray Davis continues to make good on his promise to investigate alleged shady business practices linked to the power outages his state endured in 2001 as a federal grand jury investigating the energy crisis has subpoenaed records from two power companies accused of driving up prices during that time period. Duke Energy and AES/Williams, both named in a report by the state Public Utilities Commission as participants in a scheme to inflate energy prices during the crisis, received subpoenas from federal prosecutors last week and have agreed to cooperate.

California owes tens of billions of dollars for power it bought when prices rose in the summer of 2001 and hopes to convince federal energy regulators to order energy sellers to refund $9 billion in alleged overcharges. The five companies named in the CPUC’s report – Duke, AES/Williams, Dynergy, Mirant, and reliant – have all denied withholding energy or failing to operate their plants at full capacity, as the report claims.



Nov. 13, 2002

General contractors and subs continue
to find common ground

Less than a month after signing a partnering agreement with the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) in the interest of improving professionalism in the contracting industry, the American Subcontractors Association (ASA), recently signed a similar agreement with the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) with the intention of helping “better serve construction users.”

Under the agreement ASA and AGC have agreed to work together on industry guidelines, documents, and procedures, and will improve communications to that end.

“Contractors at all tiers have a responsibility to their customers and one another to help projects move along in a safe, expeditious, and mutually profitable manner,” says Anne Bigane Wilson, ASA’s president. “This agreement creates the common ground that subcontractors and general contractors need to make this vision a reality.”

The partnership comes at a time when the relationship between general and subcontractors has become strained. Just last week ASA pledged its support for a court ruling threatened to be overturned that makes it illegal for general contractors to refuse payment for extra work not documented in written change orders.



Nov. 11, 2002

NECA denounces International Code Council’s electrical code

The electrical community should oppose the International Code Council’s Electrical Code because the committee that writes it doesn’t include any one from the electrical industry, according to NECA. In an open letter to the industry, the association’s CEO, John M. Grau, has requested that the nation’s consulting engineers “strongly oppose” the new code.

“This should be a matter of extreme concern to all electrical consulting engineers – as it is to NECA contractors,” he writes of the fact that there are no electrical engineers, contractors, or electricians, among others, on the committee.

He goes on to accuse the council of attempting to compete with the NFPA’s National Electrical Code. “We cannot allow this to happen,” he writes.



Nov. 11, 2002

Cummins Power launches new Web site for power generation industry

Cummins Power Generation has launched a new Web site for the global power generation industry that includes news, product information, and technical features. The site is separate from the company’s corporate site.

It highlights product performance and project management techniques through a selection of case studies and features product specifications for download. Visitors to the site can also contact the company’s distributors via links and contact information.

The site is located at www.cumminspower.com.



Nov. 8, 2002

GE Fanuc acquires Intellution

GE Fanuc, Charlottesville, Va., recently completed its acquisition of automation supplier Intellution. The Foxborough, Mass.-based company supplied more than 185,000 installations around the world.

The new business, which will be named GE Fanuc Intellution, will remain in Massachusetts and operate as an integral part of GE’s Global Solutions Business. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.



Nov. 8, 2002

Subcontractors fight for right to be paid for extra work

Subcontractors in Tennessee who don’t receive payment for extra work not documented in change orders will have to argue again for their right to be paid, as a general contractor in the state has filed an appeal in a lawsuit that forced it to pay $1.2 million to one of its subs. Amprite Electric recently succeeded in suing the Tennessee Construction Group for refusing to pay for work on the Adelphia Coliseum project that it requested but was never accompanied by written change orders.

The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) has come to the defense of Amprite in the appeal, filing as an amicus curiae, or friend of the court. The association believes that change order provisions have been “used as a weapon by general contractors to deny or delay payment to subcontractors who do the work, but in the interest of teamwork and job progress, do not obtain written change orders before doing the work.”

By filing as an amicus curiae, the ASA is not a party to the case, but it believes the outcome of the trial will have an impact on its interests.



Nov. 6, 2002

Southeastern U.S. to put its faith in the luck of the Irish for electricity supply

With all the problems American power companies have had keeping the lights on during the last two years, the SeTrans Regional Transmission Organization may have thought it was time to look outside of the country for help when it contracted Ireland’s Electricity Supply Board (ESB) to manage its power grid in the southeastern United States. The five-year contract is expected to generate $150 million a year.

The company’s ESB International and EirGrid subsidiaries and domestic sub-contractor Accenture will manage the system that supplies states including Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana, consists of more than 53,000 miles of transmission lines and 73,000MW of power capacity.

The agreement, which will involve the management of $9 billion worth of assets, has yet to be finalized.



Nov. 6, 2002

CD-ROM helps contractors plan for management succession

Contractors concerned by what will happen to their business and assets after they die have a new source of information on planning estate and management succession. “Someday This Will Belong to…Whom? A Subcontractor’s Guide to Management and Ownership Succession,” a CD-ROM published by the Foundation of the American Subcontractors Association (FASA), describes ways in which a contractor can ensure a smooth management transition to a person of their choosing.

The CD-ROM also explains how new federal estate tax law can affect estate planning. It is available via the group’s Web site at www.contractorsknowledgenetwork.org.



Nov. 4, 2002

Power generation expected to meet demand, but just barely

The nation’s electric generating capacity will be adequate in the near term to meet customer demands, but transmission system expansions continue lag behind, tightening reserve capabilities. According to the North American Electric Reliability Council’s “Reliability Assessment 2002 – 2011,” although power plant developers have announced plans to construct more than 260,000MW of new generating facilities by 2005, not all of the proposed plants will actually be built. However, the report still predicts that capacity will be sufficient.

Although transmission expansion has lagged, NERC still expects it to reliably serve projected electricity demand. It does warn that heavy transmission loadings and congestion will continue to occur and system limitations will likely increase in some areas.

The full report is available at www.nerc.com.



Nov. 4, 2002

American Superconductor meets DOE goal for HTS wires ahead of schedule

Responding to a challenge made by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to produce 10-m coated conductor wires with a minimum electrical performance of 50A per centimeter of width of the wires, American Superconductor recently announced it was significantly ahead of the DOE’s goal of December 2003. The company has produced high-temperature superconductor (HTS) wires that more than double the electrical performance of the DOE’s target.

The results of American Superconductor’s trials on the wire, which rate the wire at 100A per centimeter, have been duplicated by the DOE at its Oak Ridge National Lab.



Nov. 1, 2002

UPS market expected to enjoy modest gains

Thanks to persistent power quality problems and the growing load on energy utilities, the revenues for uninterruptible power supplies will grow from the 2001 level of $5.29 billion in 2001 to $6.29 billion in 2007, according to a new study conducted by independent research firm Frost & Sullivan.

“World UPS Market” reveals that the growth in storage loads is increasing the demand for smaller, energy-efficient servers. The subsequent server replacements are likely to create sales of smaller UPS systems. And as facilities expand network systems and prices per square foot of office space continue to rise, smaller, more modular UPS units are more likely to gain popularity in the backup power market.

An overall upturn is expected in the market as industries stabilize after having undergone cost reductions and new spending cycles begin.



Nov. 1, 2002

NECA, NACMA join forces to write cable installation standard

NECA and the National Armored Cable Manufacturers Association (NACMA) have decided to put to rest the debate over AC and MC cable installation. The two sides have begun work on a joint standard to define best industry practices for installing type AC and MC cable. It will be published by NECA as one of the National Electrical Installation Standards series of ANSI-approved quality standards for electrical construction.

According to Brooke Stauffer, NECA executive director for standards and safety, the standard couldn’t come too soon. “As only our second NEIS on cable wiring methods, this book fills an obvious hole in our lineup.”