January 31, 2006 A Prism Business Media Publication Vol. V, No. 2


CONTENTS
New Orleans City Council
Streamlines Inspection Process

Louisiana's Governor Blames Wait for FEMA Rules for Delay in Rebuilding

ESFI Provides Information on New UL and CSA Requirements for GFCIs

U.S. Wind Energy Ends Year with
Record Installation Rate

Study Traces California's Solar
Photovoltaic Cost Trends

IEEE Launches Web Site Redesign

Sacramento County Solicits Firm
for Electrical and I&C System

South Carolina County Seeks Bids
for Ball Field Lighting Project

Buildometer

Business Briefs

OSHA Resumes Enforcement

Electric West 2006

2006 NFM&T Conference and Expo


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    Around the Circuit
    New Orleans City Council
    Streamlines Inspection Process

    At its meeting on Jan. 19, the New Orleans City Council passed several ordinances to streamline recovery efforts in the city. For one year Baton Rouge, La.-based Shaw Group, Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Fluor Corp., and Englewood, Colo.-based CH2M Hill will be allowed to inspect and approve electrical connections to FEMA trailers. Also for one year Atlanta-based Cox Communications may certify that connections to its cable TV and other communications equipment were done by certified, licensed electricians and in compliance with the city's building code.

    For the duration of emergency procedures, any licensed electrician or electrical contractor may conduct electrical inspections on commercial and residential properties and certify that the work was done properly. Finally, the council eliminated the requirement that the city's Housing Conservation District Review Committee must review the proposed demolition of any buildings that have been determined by the Department of Safety and Permits to be substantially damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita -- and where the damage is defined as 50% or more of the replacement value prior to hurricane damage.



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    Louisiana's Governor Blames Wait for FEMA Rules for Delay in Rebuilding
    In a statement made Jan. 24, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco blamed the wait for federal standards for home building for hampering the state's hurricane reconstruction efforts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is developing a new set of recommended standards for rebuilding in hurricane- and flood-prone areas. The guidelines may suggest that damaged homes must be rebuilt at higher elevations and with further protection against flooding. The first new preliminary set of standards won't be out until March or April, with the final guidelines not available until August. In addition, Blanco's administration was informed that the Bush administration would not support a home buyout bill that many in Louisiana see as crucial to post-hurricane rebuilding. The bill, sponsored by Louisiana Rep. Richard Baker, would create a federal corporation that would borrow money to buy tracts of hurricane-damaged homes, repair, and then resell them. Homeowners and lenders would receive mortgage relief. Blanco estimates that 800,000 to 900,000 of the 1.3 million people who evacuated before Hurricane Katrina have returned to their home parishes.

    ESFI Provides Information on New UL and CSA Requirements for GFCIs
    The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), Arlington, Va., recently joined with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL), the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to disseminate information on new requirements for ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). The new requirements are being set by the CSA and UL and apply to the harmonized standard, US 943, "Safety Standard for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters" and CSA C22.2 No. 144.1 "Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters."

    The new UL and CSA requirements include: End of Life Provision, meaning that when a GFCI receptacle is incapable of passing its internal test function (it can no longer provide ground fault protection) it will either render itself incapable of delivering power, or indicate by visual or audible means that the device must be replaced; and Reverse Line-Load Miswire, meaning that a GFCI will deny power to the receptacle face if it is miswired. In the United States, manufacturers must stop producing old versions of GFCIs on July 28, and must introduce new, redesigned GFCIs after that date. Distributors may sell and contractors may install old GFCIs until their supplies run out. In Canada, the selection of the effective date has not yet been determined.

    U.S. Wind Energy Ends Year with
    Record Installation Rate

    According to the Washington, D.C.-based American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the U.S. wind energy industry broke earlier annual installed capacity records in 2005, by installing nearly 2,500MW, or more than $3 billion worth, of new generating equipment in 22 states. In addition, AWEA expects 2006 to top 3,000MW. The final tally for 2005 boosted the cumulative U.S. installed wind power fleet by more than 35%, bringing the industry's total generating capacity to 9,149MW. There are now commercial wind turbine installations in 30 states. The previous record capacity was set in 2001 when 1,697MW of new capacity was installed.

    Study Traces California's Solar
    Photovoltaic Cost Trends

    According to a study released recently by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif., solar photovoltaic (PV) costs in California have declined significantly in recent years. The report presents an analysis of grid-connected PV cost trends in California, the largest PV market in the United States and the third largest in the world (behind Japan and Germany). The report's findings are based on a statistical analysis of the installed cost of nearly 19,000 installed or waiting-to-be installed PV systems in California, totaling 254MW.

    These solar systems have been supported by one of the state's two largest solar rebate programs, overseen by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The report finds that costs under the CEC program have dropped by an average of 7.3% a year, while the larger (30kW and more) CPUC-funded systems have had average cost declines of around 4%. The report comes on the tails of the announcement that the state will establish an 11-year, $3.2 billion incentive program for customer-sited solar installations.

    IEEE Launches Web Site Redesign
    Piscataway, N.J.-based IEEE has recently added several updates to its Web site. The changes are the first of several planned enhancements, which include additional search capabilities, a new design, shorter URLs, and migration toward a more streamlined navigation using information portals. The organization encourages visitors to tour the revamped site and to share feedback as the site evolves.


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    Project Watch
    Sacramento County Solicits Firm
    for Electrical and I&C System

    The County of Sacramento is seeking bids for the furnishing, installing, testing, documenting, and assistance with starting up the electrical and I&C system located on the two protective fenders of the Freeport Bridge for the Sacramento River on the River Flowmeter Replacement Project. Deadline for proposals is 3 p.m. PST on Feb. 15. To download the Request for Bid, visit the county's Web site.

    South Carolina County Seeks Bids
    for Ball Field Lighting Project

    The Beaufort County Purchasing Department, located in Beaufort, S.C., requests bids for improvements made to the lighting at its Dale Ball Field. A pre-bid conference will be held at 10 a.m. EST on February 9 at the office of the Beaufort County Engineer, 102 Industrial Village Road, Building #3, Beaufort, SC 29901. The deadline for proposals is 3 p.m. EST on March 2. To download a pdf of the proposal information, visit the county's Web site.

    Web Exclusives
    Buildometer
    The U.S. Census Bureau recently announced that construction spending during November was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,146.3 billion, a 1.2% increase from the previous month. The increase was led by new residential spending, which experienced a 1.8% spike, topping out at $641.9 billion, while non-residential spending jumped 1.0% to $250.4 billion.




    Business Briefs
    Englewood, Colo.-based CH2M was recently awarded an engineering, procurement, and construction contract for a new 514MW combined cycle facility. The contract, awarded by Sierra Pacific Power, Reno, Nev., is valued at more than $200 million. The generating station will use a two-on-one gas-fired combined cycle configuration, with combustion turbines, a D11 steam turbine, two heat recovery steam generators, and an air-cooled condenser. Construction will begin in March. At construction peak, the project may employ as many as 500 skilled workers.

    For more business briefs, visit EC&M's Web site.

    Eye on Safety
    OSHA Resumes Enforcement
    OSHA says it will resume regular enforcement of job safety and health standards throughout much of the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast. As of Jan. 25, normal enforcement will be conducted throughout Florida and Alabama, in Mississippi north of Interstate 10, and in Louisiana except in seven parishes in and around New Orleans. Following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, OSHA exempted a number of counties and parishes in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana from regular enforcement status. OSHA says the exemption allowed agency staff to provide faster and more flexible responses to hazards facing workers involved in the cleanup and recovery. Thousands of crews and individual workers received job safety and health technical assistance, according to OSHA. The agency limited inspections to cases involving fatalities, catastrophic accidents, or complaints.

    Shows and Events



    Electric West 2006

    Electric West 2006 is returning to the Las Vegas Convention Center from March 1-3. Electrical contractors, consultants, engineers, plant managers, and other electrical professionals may attend free sessions; participate in a low-voltage wiring challenge; tour the Exhibit Hall containing presentations from more than 250 exhibitors; and learn the latest information regarding the NEC, power quality, renewable energy, and home technology integration. For more information and to register, visit the Electric West 2006 Web site.









    2006 NFM&T Conference and Expo

    The 2006 National Facilities Management & Technology (NFM&T) Conference/Expo is scheduled to take place in at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore from March 7-9. Spotlight sessions featured at this year's event include "Selling an Energy Management Project to a CFO," "Onsite Generation Systems: Optimizing ROI," and "Solving the Abandoned Cable Problem." For more information on events and to register, visit the NFMT Web site.
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