April 30, 2003

Leviton acquisition of OnQ Technologies won’t take place

Three months after launching a media blitz that heralded its acquisition of Harrisburg, Pa.-based structured wiring manufacturer OnQ Technologies, Leviton, Little Neck, N.Y., announced this week via a statement posted on its Web site that the deal has fallen through. The statement didn’t reveal what ended the merger, which was to include the blending of the two companies’ names into a new moniker, Leviton OnQ.

Apologizing for the inconvenience created by the dissolution of the acquisition, the company requested that distributors re-integrate the Leviton Integrated Networks and Decora Home Control product lines back into the Leviton line.

In a video posted on the Leviton Web site in January, Harold Leviton, Leviton’s president, and Doug Fiske, president of OnQ Technologies, announced the acquisition that they described as a union instead of a buyout.



April 30, 2003

AECWorkForce.com and ASPE enter partnership agreement

AECWorkForce.com, an Internet career portal for professionals in the design and construction industries, has formed a partnership with the American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE).

Under the agreement, AECWorkForce.com will offer an extensive Internet job board for ASPE professionals and a recruitment management application for ASPE employers. ASPE professionals will have full free access to the site while the ASPE employers will receive a 10% discount off of AECWorkForce.com membership rates.



April 30, 2003

CECA forum delivers guidelines to energy policy makers

After completing a year-long examination of the future of the electricity marketplace the Consumer Energy Council of America (CECA) recently recommended that Congress increase appropriated funds for research, development, and demonstration of new electricity delivery system technologies that will fundamentally improve reliability and security. A panel of electricity stakeholders announced its recommendations for policymakers on the course of electric industry restructuring that meets the energy needs of the digital society.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) provided guidance on the future technological requirements for the optimal electric power system. CECA also recommended that a national priority be given to supporting the public/private collaboration needed to develop and deploy the self-healing, digital electric power delivery system of the future, and to developing an appropriate and equitable funding mechanism for it.



April 28, 2003

Mass Energy launches Solar Electricity program

The Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance (Mass Energy) has begun the installation of the first of 40+ solar electricity systems, totaling over 100 kilowatts, in Boston, Newton, Brookline, and Somerville. The electricity systems are also known as photovoltaic or PV systems.

Mass Energy’s first installation through this program will take place at the home of Amy and Jeff Trueblood of West Roxbury. It’s anticipated that the Trueblood’s solar electric system will produce 3,000 kWh per year of electricity and will cut their electric bills by 50%. The system would typically cost about $20,000. However, Mass Energy was able to bring the cost down by half through the bulk purchasing of PV and by working with a pre-established design and installation team.



April 28, 2003

SkillsUSA-VICA to hold National Skill Competition

SkillsUSA-VICA will be holding its National Leadership and Skills Conference and 39th SkillsUSA Championships in Kansas City, Mo., June 23-27, 2003. Over 4,000 students will compete in 75 contests in the H. Roe Bartle Hall. The Championships are open to the public for free viewing. All contests are run by and judged by industry representatives using industry performance standards.

The total in-kind contributions from industry and education—in donated time, equipment and material—is valued at $25 million.



April 25, 2003

CMAA signs partnership with ConstructionJobs.com

ConstructionJobs.com announced a strategic partnership with the Construction Management Association of America, CMAA, which marks its eighth alliance with a national industry association.

CMAA members can now receive a 20 percent discount off ConstructionJobs.com’s published rates for posting jobs and conducting database searches for targeted candidates. In addition, a small royalty will be paid to the association for every member that subscribes to the online recruiting service. Monthly subscribers also receive personalized executive recruiting support including candidate pre-screening, referencing, and development for those candidates specified by the subscribing member.

ConstructionJobs.com has also integrated their advanced search and content management tools into a ‘career center’ on CMAAnet.org. Members and visitors can access all of the features and functionality from ConstructionJobs.com such as job postings and resume searches for the employer and national job searches and resume posting for the job seeker.



April 25, 2003

Eaton Corporation and Engage Networks introduce internet-based solutions

Eaton Corp. and Engage Networks, Inc. announced they will team up to provide customers with EnergyDirector, an Internet-based, real time energy information tool to help users better understand and reduce their energy consumption.

Eaton’s Cutler-Hammer Engineering Services and Systems (C-HESS) will provide a full line of energy and power quality consulting, electrical system engineering, and field services, while Engage will supply communication networking, energy monitoring software, and Internet appliances.



April 23, 2003

NEIS temporary power
standard published

The newest addition to the National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS) series of publications is NECA 200-2002, Recommended Practices for Installing and Maintaining Temporary Electrical Power at Construction Sites (ANSI). It covers the planning, installation, expansion, maintenance, cutover, and removal of temporary power systems operating at 600 volts or less.

NEIS, published by the National Electrical Contractors Association, are performance and workmanship standards for electrical construction, and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).



April 23, 2003

Leviton forms strategic alliance to provide product training

Leviton Manufacturing has formed a strategic alliance with Blue Volt LLC, a provider of productivity technology for electrical contractors, and the Cisco Learning Institute to provide web-based product training to the electrical industry. The alliance has been structured to enable Blue Volt training enrollees to receive credit for completing coursework for electrical and low-voltage products.

The Leviton training programs were previously available from only Leviton on CD-ROM. Now, using Blue Volt’s web portal and Cisco Learning Institute’s curriculum content, the Leviton training programs are also available on the Internet. Electricians, distributors, and other interested parties can access the training programs by logging on to Blue Volt’s website at www.bluevolt.com and downloading the course work.



April 21, 2003

EPA and Department of Energy name Energy Star product of the year

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) named Osram Sylvania an Energy Star Partner of the Year for its effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making and promoting energy-efficient products.

By the end of 2003, 65% of the Sylvania compact fluorescent product line will be Energy Star qualified. This includes 17 compact fluorescent models in 41 packaging configurations. Included are a new three-way CFL, a G25 Globe, a 14-watt A-shaped lamp equivalent to a standard 60-watt incandescent, a decorative flame shaped CFL and additional lamp types added to the Minitwist family, and a BR40 reflector flood CFL.

The Energy Star award is given to manufacturers and retailers that successfully promote and deliver Energy Star qualified products, saving consumers money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Award winners are selected from thousands of organizations that participate in the Energy Star program.



April 21, 2003

Top California power regulator pushes grid master plan

California, for the first time, is forging a single plan to guard against the blackouts and price spikes that battered it during the 2000-2001 energy crisis.

“California has aimed before to upgrade the power system, but this is the first time that state agencies have committed to work together on a single plan,” Michael Peevey said, the new president of the California Public Utilities Commission. He also said that California plans to cut consumer demand through aggressive conservation programs, build up to 2,000 megawatts of new plant capacity a year, and add renewable energy to strengthen supplies – power for 2 million homes.

California’s energy future, outlined in the plan drafted by the CPUC and two other power agencies, also will feature small generating plants in neighborhoods where the energy is used, a revamped power grid, and new pipelines to import natural gas.



April 18, 2003

EASA announces program for 2003 Convention & Exposition

The Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA) will hold its 2003 Annual Convention and Exposition from June 29 to July 2, 2003 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif. The theme for the 2003 convention is “Get Ahead of the Curve.”

The business and technical program for the 2003 convention offers numerous sessions for attendees, including “Identifying and Assessing New Business Opportunities”, “Root Cause Failure Analysis: Methodology and Case Study”, and “The Impact of Voltage and Frequency on Motor Life and Performance.”

Another highlight is the three-day Exposition featuring over 150 industry leading manufacturers showing the latest in electric motors, drives and controls, generators, and other electromechanical equipment. The Exposition dates are June 29 to July 1.



April 18, 2003

Siemens Company heads up maintenance for explosive detection systems

Two Siemens companies have formed a limited liability company (LLC) to focus on maintaining explosive detection devices and systems installed in 438 commercial airports in the United States.

Atlanta-based Siemens Energy & Automation and Chicago-based Siemens Building Technologies have teamed up to form Siemens Maintenance Services LLC. The company is supported by the $1.37 billion contract awarded last spring by the U.S. Department of Transportation to a Boeing/Siemens partnership to install and maintain explosive detection systems at commercial airports nationwide.



April 16, 2003

IPC Power Resistors powers up new UL and CSA test lab

IPC Power Resistors has completed construction of a state-of-the-art test lab at its Kentucky headquarters. The new lab will be used to perform advanced product testing including the required analysis for UL Listing and CSA Certification.

The lab is equipped with both AC (single and 3-phase) and DC power to test a variety of applications. Automatic signal generation and testing provide consistent, repeatable results that can be directly compared between products.



April 16, 2003

Two lighting companies announce alliance

Amerlux Lighting Systems and W.A.C. Lighting announced they have formed a strategic alliance that covers marketing, product development, manufacturing, and sourcing for the commercial and retail markets. Later this year, both companies plan on launching several co-developed product lines, to their respective markets.

“We are very pleased to be entering into an agreement with a company of the stature and reputation of W.A.C. Lighting,” said Chuck Campagna of Amerlux Lighting. “The combination of resources, people, products, and services of W.A.C. and Amerlux is an ideal solution to meet the discriminating needs of end-users, specifiers, and distributors in the commercial and retail construction industry.”



April 14, 2003

MidAmerican Energy plans wind farm

MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. announced that a massive wind farm of 180 to 200 wind turbines would be built across 200 acres of northern Iowa farm fields. The company’s $323 million wind farm will generate 310 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 85,000 homes. Each wind turbine will produce about 1.5 to 1.65 megawatts of power.

Currently, the world’s largest wind facility is located in Washington and Oregon and produces 300 megawatts of electricity, said Greg Abel, company president. The project will place Iowa third in the nation for wind energy production behind California and Texas.

Gov. Tom Vilsack said the project fits with his goal for the state to increase renewable energy sources, create jobs, and help farmers. Farmers in northwest and north-central Iowa, where turbines will be located, will be paid about $4,000 a year for each turbine, Abel said.

The company’s plans call for the first turbines to be operational by the end of 2004 and the project to be completed by 2006.



April 14, 2003

The Alpha Group acquires Lectro brand

The Alpha Group and its CATV/Broadband powering system provider Alpha Technologies announces the purchase of Lectro, a division of Raleigh, N.C.-based Invensys Powerware.

Central to the purchase of the Lectro brand will be a commitment by Alpha Technologies to maintain availability of their CPR and ZTT Plus series of standby powering systems, together with the line of non-standby ferroresonant products. In addition, Alpha will be honoring all outstanding warranties, providing service and offering support to existing and future Lectro brand customers.

Beyond Lectro’s current product line, Alpha is looking forward to announcing enhancements including the addition of a 36V version of the CPR standby powering system.



April 11, 2003

Westinghouse Lighting Corporation announces new websites

Westinghouse Lighting Corp. announces the launch of two websites. The corporate site is www.westinghouselighting.com and the light bulb site is www.westinghouselightbulbs.com.

The corporate site branches into four main product pages: light bulbs, ceiling fans, lighting fixtures, and decorative electrical products, as well as a corporate page and an energy star page. The site includes specification information, full-color images, application suggestions, press releases, and several installation guidelines.

The light bulb site features a bulb finder, dealer locator, Westinghouse light bulb product list, and an energy saver calculator. The site is designed to help the user quickly find the correct light bulb for virtually any application. It also helps consumers find retail outlets where the bulbs are sold.



April 11, 2003

Rockwell Automation announced strategic alliance

Rockwell Automation, Inc., announced a strategic alliance with Weidmüller Holding AG. The multi-dimensional alliance consists of a master brand label agreement, a technology/design exchange, joint product development, and the acquisition of Weidmüller’s North American sales assets. As a result of this acquisition, Rockwell Automation will assume responsibility for Weidmüller’s sales operations in North America, which includes about 170 employees operating in Richmond, Va., Markham, Ontario, and Puebla, Mexico.



April 9, 2003

Leviton continues to rack up court victories

Leviton Manufacturing Company continues to accumulate court victories in its ongoing litigation against companies that infringe on its GFCI patent. To date, at least 10 companies have acknowledged the validity of Leviton’s U.S. and Canadian GFCI patents and admitted to infringing on them. Judgments issued in many Federal Courts throughout the country resulted in infringing companies having to pay damages to Leviton as well as a permanent injunction against these corporations, their officers, directors, and shareholders.

According to Bill Marshall, vice president of marketing and product development for Leviton Manufacturing, “though it’s not widely known, private parties can be held personally liable for participating in patent infringement, even if they’re only guiding these unlawful activities. Parties who purchase infringing devices for resale can be held as liable as if they manufactured the devices themselves. Leviton intends to prosecute all parties, as appropriate, who have participated in these activities to the full extent of the law.”



April 9, 2003

New York regulators clear new distributed generation incentives

The New York Public Service Commission ordered the state’s major natural gas utilities to file special delivery rates for nonresidential customers who operate their own gas-fired distribution generation (DG) units, a move that should result in lower costs for DG operators and provide incentives for more widespread use.

The utilities were given 90 days to tailor new rates to customer usage profiles, with the idea that the new cost structure would be in place for three years. The chairman of the PSC, William Flynn, said the order would help lower electricity costs, reduce emissions, and improve reliability by giving small-scale generations a leg up.

“As we encourage more development of efficient small power production facilities through fairer rates, we not only open up a valuable option for customers, but we also enhance our state’s economy,” Flynn said.



April 8, 2003

600 Charlotte, N.C., workers to vote on union

Nearly 600 workers at a Siemens Westinghouse Power Corp. plant in south Charlotte will decide this month whether to unionize. The vote set for April 16 at the turbine plant follows two rounds of layoffs that have chopped about 400 jobs since September. The National Labor Relations Board, which typically monitors about 75 union votes a year in the Carolinas, says most votes involve fewer workers. The Siemens vote comes as union membership in the private sector continues to wane, in a state that has one of the lowest percentages of unionized workers.

Employees at the plant approached the United Steelworkers of America for help in organizing a union, said Mike Yoffee, organizing director for the Steelworkers in Pittsburgh.



April 8, 2003

O-Z/Gedney launches new web site

O-Z/Gedney, a member of the EGS Electrical Group, announced the completion and launch of a new website, www.o-zgedney.com, designed to provide end-users and distributors with quick and reliable access to information concerning its more than 15,000 items sold under the O-Z/Gedney, NEER, ETP, and Nelson brand names, including industry-leading electrical cable and conduit fittings, enclosures and controls, and lighting products.

The site’s on-line search engine enables visitors to gain access to detailed specifications in easy-to-view Adobe PDF format by using either a keyword or catalog number. To further assist customers, O-Z/Gedney plans to add a cross reference tool to the site in the near future.



April 4, 2003

PDI purchases Minnesota rack mounted switch manufacturer

Power Distribution Incorporated (PDI) announced that they have completed the acquisition of PowerTrol Incorporated, a Minnesota Corporation, for an undisclosed amount. This purchase goes along with PDI’s plan to expand its power quality product line.

PowerTrol has offered its patented Quikswitch technology since 1990 to industrial applications as well as the commercial data center market.



April 4, 2003

The new ANSI/SCTE Standard for underground enclosure integrity

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently issued the country’s first National Standard for underground enclosure integrity. The new ANSI/SCTE 77 2002 standard was developed to help ensure the integrity of underground enclosures and is applicable to any material and industry where the long-term performance of underground enclosures is desired.

The intent of ANSI/SCTE 77 is to prevent performance problems and minimize liability issues by establishing conformance tests and requirements that underground enclosures must meet to help ensure long service life with minimal maintenance. A copy of the standard may be purchased from ANSI or a pdf file of the standard may be found on SCTE’s website, www.scte.org, by clicking on the “Standards” button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, clicking on the “Standards Available” link on the left-hand side of the screen, and then scrolling down to find the standard.

The standard sets forth minimum testing requirements that underground enclosures must meet, including accelerated service exposure, tested in accordance to ASTM D756 Procedure E; chemical resistance, tested in accordance to ASTM D543, section 7; simulated sunlight exposure, tested in accordance to ASTM G154; water absorption, tested in accordance to ASTM D570, sections 5,6,1 and 6.5; flammability; and cover impact resistance, tested in accordance to ASTM D2444.



April 2, 2003

Electrical Manufacturing Industry continues to pursue legal action p>NEMA, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, announced that it would continue pursuing legal action against the California Energy Commission (CEC) for over-regulating a number of electrical products.

As part of its 2002 updates to appliance efficiency regulations (Title 20), the commission has increased requirements for a number of already regulated products. Because these products—including fluorescent lamps, lamp ballasts, and electric motors—are federally regulated, and because the California-proposed efficiency levels are the same as the national standards, industry officials charge that thee would be no energy savings from the CEC action for these products. There will, however, be substantial costs to manufacturers, which will eventually be passed along to California customers.

As part of the industry filings, a NEMA member motor manufacturer declared that the capital cost of implementing the proposed motor labeling requirements would be $1.5 million to his company along. NEMA president Malcolm O’Hagan said that the costs to industry would be many millions but no energy savings would be obtained from the regulation.

While the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approved the implementation of the new Title 20, four trade associations, including the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association, and NEMA sued the CEC to halt implementation of the portions of Title 20 applying to these “covered products” and “covered equipment.”

The trade associations argued that federal law expressly preempted state regulation in this area and their members would be irreparably harmed by the new regulations. On December 12, 2002, Federal District Judge William B. Shubb in Sacramento granted a preliminary injunction to the four associations. On March 19, the CEC adopted revisions to Title 20 that, while improving some labeling requirements, failed to deal with the heart of the matter pertaining to state regulation of federally regulated products. Therefore, the trade associations are continuing the litigation. The revisions, in the meantime, are back at the OAL for approval.



April 2, 2003

Less than 5kVA UPS demand remains strong in North America and Europe

In the recently released multi-volume study entitled “The 2002 Power Protection Market Intelligence Program," Venture Development Corporation (VDC) concluded that the combined consumption of North American and European less than 5kVA battery powered UPS will increase from $1.53 billion in 2001 to $1.85 billion by 2003, or approximately 3.9% per year.

This growth will be driven by increasing awareness among end-users of the need for power protection in an every growing set of vertical market applications as well as greater functionality and more features being included in communications equipment of all types worldwide. As voice data networks converge and the quantity and sensitivity of information being passed through electronic media increases, the consequences of potential failures from lack of power protection will become too costly to ignore.

Deregulation, grid reliability, and power quality issues are beginning to affect the bottom line of companies in a variety of industries worldwide. As these companies realize the benefits and opportunity costs of power protection and slowly recover from a recessed economy, they will create demand for the battery powered UPS market.