November 15, 2005 A PRIMEDIA Property Vol. IV, No. 21

CONTENTS
AGC Members Urge Senate to Pass Gulf Coast Recovery Act

NEMA Publishes Revised Standard for Measuring Distribution Transformer Loss

Federal Reserve Releases "Beige Book" Findings

IEEE to Release New Battery-Monitoring Standard

Virginia Tech Seeks Proposals for Consulting Services

University of North Texas Requests Bids

Business Brief

ASSE Offers Advice for Making Workplace Safe for Aging Employees

Aerial Platform Safety Conference & Expo

Power-Gen International

FEDcon 2005

IEEE PES Transmission & Distribution Conference and Expo


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    Around the Circuit
    AGC Members Urge Senate to Pass Gulf Coast Recovery Act
    Four members of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) testified before a Congressional subcommittee in favor of the Gulf Coast Recovery Act (S. 1761). The proposed policy would limit the risk of liability that contractors face when responding to a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Katrina. The bill would also block court actions that could stall the recovery from a major disaster. Under the act, contractors may still face any enforcement action that any federal, state, or local agency may bring. In addition, it does not limit any public agency's authority to ensure full compliance with its rules and regulations or to punish non-compliance, and all environmental, safety and health, labor and ethics laws would still apply. In cases of recklessness or willful misconduct, contractors would be fully liable for any personal injury or property damage.


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    NEMA Publishes Revised Standard for Measuring Distribution Transformer Loss
    NEMA recently published TP 2-2005, "Standard Test Method for Measuring the Energy Consumption of Distribution Transformers." The revised standard offers a standardized method for measurement of distribution transformer loss to achieve efficiency levels outlined in NEMA's TP 1, "Guide for Determining Energy Efficiency for Distribution Transformers." The U.S. Department of Energy's concerns with the previous version of the standard prompted the revision, which is intended to make TP 2 acceptable under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 2005.

    Federal Reserve Releases "Beige Book" Findings
    The Federal Reserve recently released the latest "Beige Book" survey of economic conditions in the 12 federal districts known by their headquarters city. The report cited continued expanding economic activity in September with most districts describing the pace as moderate or gradual. According to the survey, all the districts reporting on commercial real estate conditions noted rising demand for office, retail, or industrial space. These findings are consistent with a survey of the top 70 U.S. office markets conducted by Reis, Inc., a commercial real-estate research firm, in which the company reported that the U.S. office vacancy rate dropped to 15.1% in the third quarter from 15.4% in the second from a peak of 16.9% in the first quarter of 2004. The Reis survey results continued with rents up 2.2% from the beginning of this year and restrained construction in all districts. Just 6.5 million square feet of new office buildings were completed in the third quarter, down from 8.3 million square feet a year ago.

    IEEE to Release New Battery-Monitoring Standard
    IEEE 1491-2005, "Guide for Selection and Use of Battery Monitoring Equipment in Stationary Applications," is scheduled to be released as an IEEE and ANSI Standards publication this month. IEEE 1491 is a guide document that defines battery monitoring equipment for stationary battery types -- vented lead acid, valve-regulated lead acid, and nickel cadmium -- in applications for areas such as uninterruptible power systems, telecommunications facilities, and utility applications. The standard defines 17 battery measurement parameters and includes safety, communications, security, software, and electrical references.


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    Project Watch
    Virginia Tech Seeks Proposals for Consulting Services
    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, has issued a request for bids from contractors to provide electricity consulting services. The contractors shall furnish all expertise, labor, and resources for complete services needed to assist in the solicitation, procurement, evaluation, and negotiation of a wholesale contract for the electrical requirements of Virginia Tech. All inquiries for information regarding this solicitation should be directed to Pamela R. Conner, VCO, by phone at (540) 231-7852 or e-mail at pconner@vt.edu. Sealed proposals will be received until Nov. 30 at 3 p.m. EST. To download a pdf of the application, visit Virginia Tech's Web site.

    University of North Texas Requests Bids
    The University of North Texas is soliciting bids for electrical work at its Eagle Point campus. The project consists of miscellaneous electrical work, including the installation of exterior lighting. The estimated cost of this work is $100,000. A pre-proposal meeting will be held Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. CST at the UNT Facilities Main Office Conference Room #108 at 2204 W. Prairie St., Denton, Texas. The deadline for proposals is Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. CST. For more information, visit the university's Web site.

    Web Exclusives

    Business Brief
    Albuquerque, N.M.-based Advent Solar, Inc. recently announced plans to build a 25MW solar cell plant with $30 million in Series C funding. The new production facility will be located in Mesa del Sol, a 12,000-acre development and solar cluster in Albuquerque. The company expects the full line of advanced PV cells and modules to be in full production by 2007.
    For more Business Briefs, visit EC&M's Web site.

    Eye on Safety
    ASSE Offers Advice for Making Workplace Safe for Aging Employees
    The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) recently urged safety professionals to prepare for an aging workforce. The Department of Labor's workplace statistics for 2004 show that those 64 and older had the lowest number of workplace injuries, but the fatality rate for those 55 and older rose by 10%. Most of those fatalities were transportation-related, from falls, from being struck by an object and from homicides. ASSE members offer the following suggestions for accommodating older workers:
    -Improve illumination and add color contrast.
    -Eliminate heavy lifts, elevated work from ladders and long reaches.
    -Increase task rotation, which will reduce the strain of repetitive motion.
    -Lengthen time requirements between steps in a task.
    -Consider necessary reaction time when assigning older workers to tasks.

    Shows and Events
    Aerial Platform Safety Conference & Expo
    Lift Applications & Equipment, in conjunction with Aerial Work Platform Training (AWPT), Inc., has scheduled the second annual Aerial Platform Safety Conference & Expo for Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 in Houston. Sessions will include R. Fernando Vazquez, EHS representative with APAC-Southeast, Inc., presenting "Dealing with a Latino Workforce;" Dennis Eckstine, AWPT, Inc., as moderator of "Safety By Design: Technical Innovations to Improve Aerial Equipment Safety;" and Brad Boehler, Skyjack, on "Maintenance Responsibilities of Dealers and Owners: A Review of Standards." To register for the event, visit the conference's Web site.

    Power-Gen International
    Power-Gen International is scheduled for Dec. 6-8 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev. The keynote speeches for this year's event include examples from the field from Andrew C. White, president and CEO, Nuclear Division, GE Energy; Michael R. Niggli, president, Sempra Generation; and Jim Gordon, president, Energy Management, Inc. In addition, the conference will offer Competitive Power College courses, technical tours, and a golf tournament. For a complete listing of events, visit the Power-Gen International Web site.

    FEDcon 2005
    The National Institute of Building Sciences will present FEDcon 2005, the Market Outlook Conference on Federal Construction, on Dec. 14 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. This year's event will address present building budgets and construction forecasts and provide updates on the effects new regulations have on federally commissioned projects. For more information, visit the Ecobuild Federal Web site.

    IEEE PES Transmission & Distribution Conference and Expo
    The IEEE PES Transmission & Distribution Conference & Exposition has been rescheduled for May 21-26, 2006, in Dallas. TXU Electric Delivery and Entergy will co-host the event. The opening reception will be held the evening of May 21 while the exposition and technical sessions are slated for May 22-24. Additional technical sessions and committee meetings are scheduled during the remainder of the week. For more information, visit the IEEE PES T&D Web site. Registration and hotel information will be available after the first of next year.
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