July 29, 2005

Business Briefs for the week of July 25th

  • Underwriter’s Laboratories recently certified VYCON direct connect flywheel energy storage systems as meeting its UL508 Industrial Control Equipment standards and UL1004 Electric Motors standards. The company got the stamp of approval for both the United States and Canadian markets.

  • Fort Worth Electric recently moved into a new downtown location in Fort Worth. The company’s president said the move was to accommodate growing business.

  • Pentadyne Power recently entered into a distribution agreement with South Korea-based Ehwa Technologies Information (ETI). Under the terms of the agreement, ETI will now make Pentadyne’s voltage support solution available with many of its own UPS models.

  • RIDGID recently extended the deadline for signing up for its lifetime service agreement on all power tools and pneumatic nailers and staplers to Sept. 30, 2005. The agreement provides free service and parts on normal wear items, including batteries and O-rings, for the original tool purchased.

  • The Engineering Society of Detroit recently awarded Troy, Mich.-based Peter Basso Associates the Construction and Design award for the work it did on Compuware’s new headquarters building. The award was given to those projects that exhibited outstanding team achievement and integrated innovative technologies.

  • Grainger recently opened a new, expanded showroom at the company’s Lenexa, Kan., branch. The 2,500-square-foot showroom is one of several enhancements the company is making to its branch network in the Kansas City area.

    July 28, 2005

    Federal Signal introduces new Web site

    Federal Signal Electrical Products Group recently unveiled a new Web site at www.federalsignal-indust.com. The site now features continuously updated information, a comprehensive online catalog, and instruction sheet and cut sheet indexes to help users access documents for a particular product.

    July 27, 2005

    Progress Energy Florida creates hydrogen fuel cell at state park

    Progress Energy Florida, along with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Toronto-based Hydrogenics, recently unveiled a sustainable hydrogen generator and fuel cell at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. DEP and Progress Energy jointly funded the project, and Hydrogenics provided the hydrogen generation system.

    The fully integrated fuel cell and 5kW photovoltaic solar system are creating a portion of the electricity used at the park's Wildlife Encounter Pavilion, which provides educational programming to park visitors. At the park, PV cells power an electrolyzer, which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen gas is then stored for later conversion into electricity by the fuel cell.

    The energy industry is interested in using hydrogen because it’s a renewable source of energy that can be taken from sources like natural gas, biomass, and water.

    The fuel cell's output will be tracked, and that information will be available soon on Progress Energy's Web site at www.progress-energy.com.

    July 26, 2005

    AGC representative testifies before Senate on tax laws

    Chief economist of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America, Ken Simonson, recently testified at a hearing held by the Senate Finance Subcommittee on long-term growth and debt reduction. Simonson called for a “simple, rational, and relatively stable set of tax rules” for depreciation.

    Based on an informal e-mail survey conducted before the hearing, Simonson said that contractors believe the accelerated five-year write-off allowed for most equipment is appropriate and that computers and associated software, small equipment, and tools should be either written off in three-years or expensed.

    He also said that AGC is in favor of allowing expensing for pollution control devices, including engine replacements or rebuilds that contractors add to existing equipment. He asked Congress not to lengthen depreciation for structures and to avoid short-term tax changes.

    A full report is available at www.agc.org.

    July 22, 2005

    Business Briefs for the week of July 18, 2005

  • Florida-based general contractor, Jack Jennings & Sons, recently selected the commercial division of Kissimmee, Fla.-based Palmer Electric to handle the electrical contracting on the Jackson, a new nine-story condominium tower in downtown Orlando.

  • Power Engineers recently built two new offices in Houston and Anaheim, Calif., to provide consulting engineering services. The company now has 14 domestic offices.

  • Pulizzi Engineering recently won the 2004 Frost & Sullivan Customer Service Excellence Award. The award recognizes excellence in the rack-mount power distribution market.

  • EMCOR Group recently received a 2005 American Business Award. The company’s marketing department was selected as the “Best Marketing Organization.”

  • Murray Electrical recently announced an updated logo design and a renewed commitment to its distributors and customers. The new logo is accompanied by the tagline, “Built to Last, Here to Stay.”

  • Schneider Electric has extended authorization to sell Telemecanique automation products to its more than 1,500 Square D distributor channels. The move will give customers greater access to technical support.

    July 21, 2005

    Rockwell Automation demonstrates first high-temperature superconducting motor

    Rockwell Automation, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Superconductivity Partnerships with Industry (SPI) program, recently successfully demonstrated the capabilities Reliance Electric’s 2-hp, high-temperature superconducting (HTS) motor with second-generation HTS wire and coils. The demonstration is a move toward the commercialization of super-efficient high-horsepower motors, which are designed to potentially reduce energy losses by half.

    The motor used in the demonstration is SuperPower’s new HTS ceramic-based, second-generation coated-conductor wire, and it marks the first time 2G wire has been used to create coils large enough for a 2-hp electric motor. The motor used 14 meters of wire, wound into two rotating field coils.

    Reliance Electric has been working with the SPI program since 1994 to make superconductivity a viable energy solution for rotating electric machinery using 1G HTS wire.

    July 20, 2005

    Construction starts drop 1% in May

    McGraw-Hill Construction recently reported that the total value of new construction increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $591.5 billion in May, which is still 1% behind the April rate of $599.1 billion. Non-residential building also fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $147.8 billion, which is 5% behind the April rate of $155.3 billion.

    In the commercial sector, contracting for stores dipped 21%, office construction fell 9%, and hotel construction dropped 4%. School construction slipped 4% and the construction of health care facilities and churches decreased 8% and 15%, respectively. Non-building construction starts decreased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $90 billion in May, which is 2% behind the April rate of $92 billion

    However, contracts for public buildings increased by 2% and construction of transportation terminals increased 11%. And after a weak April, contracts for warehouses advanced 24%.

    July 19, 2005

    AGC representative testifies before Senate on tax laws

    Cablofil recently launched a new Web site at www.cablofil.com. The site features a new product list, application photo library, expanded installations section, instructional video, and an interactive load table for determining maximum cable capacity. It also includes expanded features for the North American markets, and additional world areas will be expanded in the future.

    July 18, 2005

    Veridicom International and Leviton announce partnership

    Veridicom International and Leviton Manufacturing recently announced an exclusive partnership to develop and distribute advanced personal authentication products for home automation markets. The new products will combine Veridicom’s biometric sensors and technology with Leviton’s voice, data, and network products.

    July 15, 2005

    Business Briefs for the week of June 11, 2005

  • Canton-Mass.-based NESCO recently completed its planned expansion to include a new East Coast office located in Charlotte, N.C. The expansion is part of the company’s strategy to complete its electrical offering with additional national coverage.

  • The New Jersey Supreme Court recently ruled that a roughly $3 million verdict was properly awarded to a recreational facility that caught fire in 1998. In the case, Gymnastics Plus claimed that the fire would not have happened if the local public utility had fitted the gym’s transformer with the proper fuse.

  • Equity/EDN, a nationwide organization of independent electrical distributors, recently presented awards to five companies at its annual conference. NSI, Ideal Industries, Bridgeport Fittings, Encore Wire & Cable, and Arlington Industries were all recipients.

  • Syska Hennessy Group is currently designing a new library for the city of Santa Monica, Calif. The $40 million-project is seeking LEED Silver certification and is expected to be completed in late 2005.

  • Boeing’s electrical union recently approved a five-year contract offer from Onex Corp., the Canadian buyer of the company’s commercial aircraft operations. This is the first union to strike a deal since the sale was announced.

  • MGE UPS recently announced the expansion of its MGE IT services to include installation and start-up of its EX RT UPS family. The services are available during normal business hours, nights, weekends, and holidays.

    July 14, 2005

    Two states mandate LEED rating for public buildings

    Washington and Nevada recently became the first and second states, respectively, to enact legislation mandating that state buildings receive LEED ratings from the U.S. Green Building Council.

    In Washington, Senate Bill 5509 will take effect on July 24 and states that any new construction or remodeling project totaling more than 5,000 square feet has to receive the Silver LEED rating. As a result, it’s estimated that operating expenses for government buildings in Washington will be lowered by as much as 30%.

    July 13, 2005

    Schneider Electric acquires Juno Lighting

    Schneider Electric recently acquired Juno Lighting in a deal valued at approximately $610 million, which includes assumed debt of approximately $200 million. The board of directors of Juno has unanimously approved the merger agreement, and the business deal is expected to be completed in Juno’s last fiscal quarter of 2005.

    The transaction is subject to approval by Juno’s stockholders and other customary conditions, including regulatory approvals. Juno’s majority stockholders, affiliates of Fremont Partners, a private equity firm based in San Francisco, which beneficially owns approximately 75% of Juno's stock, have agreed to vote in favor of the merger unless the merger agreement is terminated.

    July 12, 2005

    Emerson Network Power announces new business assessment

    Emerson Network Power recently unveiled its Availability Assessment service, which helps business customers develop strategies to protect against downtime caused by power interruptions.

    By generating certain metrics, including risk scores, downtime tolerances, and disruption costs, the service gives users a business impact analysis of their company’s current IT network power availability and then provides a gap analysis of risks and vulnerabilities with recommendations to help it protect against potential power failures.

    Business continuity specialist Network Frontiers helped develop the assessment with input from IT, facilities, and business professionals worldwide. Availability experts from the company provide analysis and specific recommendations for integrating reliable power and cooling technologies.

    A short, self-administered version of the assessment can be found at http://assessment/liebert.com.

    July 11, 2005

    IPC Power Resistors and Post Glover Resistors merge

    IPC Power Resistors and Post Glover Resistors recently merged to form Post Glover IPC Resistors. The move combines IPC’s lower power wound resistors and Post Glovers’s high power grid resistors.

    Richard Field, one of the executives leading the merger process said the goal is to create a company that is a single source for all power resistor requirements. The company’s new headquarters is located in Erlanger, Ky.

    July 8, 2005

    Business Briefs for the week of July 4, 2005

  • Bobcat recently opened an additional factory in Georgia as well as a bigger production, research, and development facility in Minnesota. Both facilities will concentrate on compact equipment attachments.

  • ABB recently announced it will undertake restructuring activities within its North American transformer business unit, and several North American operations will be affected by the changes. The Guelph, Canada facility will be closed, the St. Louis facility will expand to serve a portion of the repair business from Guelph, and the Jefferson City, Mo., facility will expand as well.

  • IBEW Local 265 and the Lincoln division of the Nebraska Chapter NECA recently congratulated the graduates of the Lincoln Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee program for electricians. The program consists of a five-year apprenticeship, which is based on a minimum of 900 hours of classroom training and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training.

  • Kissimmee Utility Authority recently awarded Kissimmee, Fla.-based Terry’s Electric a Buenaventura Lakes, Osceola County, substation modification contract worth approximately $500,000.

  • CH2M Hill Lockwood Greene recently secured an integrated engineering, procurement, and construction contract from Johns Manville. The contract involves the completion of a new $100-million state-of-the-art pipe insulation manufacturing facility in Defiance, Ohio.

  • Vancouver, Wash.-based Clark Public Utilities will pay $20,000 in state fines because of license violation by some of its repair technicians earlier this year. Half of the amount is for electrical violations and the other half is for plumbing violations.

    July 7, 2005

    BP Solar and Sun Edison team up to create $60 million solar fund

    Sun Edison LLC and BP Solar recently launched SunE Solar Fund I, a $60 million fund to support the installation of as many as 25 solar electric systems in the United States. The systems created under the fund will be supplied by BP Solar as part of the BP Solar Energy Solutions offer and will be installed at facilities owned or leased by national retailers and state entities.

    The fund will pay for the upfront capital costs of installing and operating the solar systems, and the qualifying facilities will pay a fixed rate for the electricity generated from the solar system for a 10- to 20-year term.

    The fund’s first three projects will be installed this summer atop three Staples facilities in Rialto and Ontario, Calif., and Englewood, N.J. The projects—totaling 680kW—will collectively generate enough electricity to power about 135 homes per year.

    July 6, 2005

    The National Lighting Bureau announces lighting awards program

    The National Lighting Bureau recently announced its 26th annual High-Benefit Lighting Awards Program, which recognizes lighting installations that spurred bottom-line savings. The program is open to virtually anyone who had a role in influencing modification of an existing lighting system or the development of a new system that used high-benefit lighting.

    Submissions should document how the new lighting contributed to improved productivity, increased retail sales, or any other bottom-line benefits. Everyone who enters the contest will receive a hand-inscribed certificate of participation, and if an entry is developed into a case study, the person who submitted the information will serve as the bylined author of a magazine article.

    Entries must be received by Oct. 31, 2005. For more information, visit www.nlb.org/awards.html.

    July 5, 2005

    Greenlight Energy receives approval to build wind farm in Colorado

    The Washington County Commission in Colorado recently gave Charlottesville, Va.-based Greenlight Energy approval to develop a large-scale wind farm in rural northeastern Colorado. The wind farm could provide enough clean energy to meet the annual needs of as many as 90,000 homes.

    The permit allows the independent producer of wind energy to develop the 200MW to 300MW wind farm on more than 15,000 acres near the town of Akron. Construction on the estimated $250 to $350 million project could start as early as 2006, pending the completion of a power purchase agreement and remaining development work.

    Three utilities—Xcel Energy, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and Western Area Power Administration—have transmission facilities in the area. Colorado will require the state’s largest utilities to obtain 10% of their electricity from renewable energy resources by 2015.

    July 1, 2005

    Business Briefs for the week of June 27, 2005

  • New England-based CLS recently celebrated the grand opening of its new 100,000-square-foot Westwood, Mass. headquarters/sales/distribution center. The company invited more than 150 electrical contractors from the greater Boston area for a facility tour and a tailgate party.

  • Fluke recently announced the acquisition of LEM Instruments, a European manufacturer of test and measurement equipment, such as earth/ground testers, insulation testers, low-resistance ohmmeters, clamp meters, and power-quality analyzers. With the acquisition, the company hopes to increase its presence in the world power quality market.

  • AccelRate Power Systems recently released a new corporate overview based on the company’s success in commercializing its high-speed battery charging technology for the industrial market. The overview includes information like market prospects and strategies; customer value proposition; battery chemistries, applications and demand; and industry observations.

  • Founded in 1955, this year marks Electri-Flex’s 50th anniversary in the flexible electrical conduit industry. The company recently expanded its facilities with a 64,000-square-foot building that’s designed to handle distribution and warehousing.

  • Siemens Energy and Automation recently donated $250,000 to the NAED Education & Research Foundation. For its contribution, the company will be recognized at the guarantor level and have a permanent position on the Channel Advantage Partnership Council, which will help select future educational programs and research projects.

  • The Point of Purchase Advertising Institute recently gave Leviton Manufacturing the 2005 Bronze Outstanding Merchandising Award for its newest Dimmer Demonstrator Display. The interactive lighting controls display features an assortment of the company’s dimmers as well as a wall-mounted passive infrared occupancy sensor wall switch unit.