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June 15, 2006 A Prism Business Media Publication Vol. 5, No. 11

Cast Your Vote Now!

Give Us Your Input!

AGC's Simonson Predicts Higher Materials Cost Inflation

Architecture and Engineering Hourly Billing Rates Escalate

California State Legislature Rewrites Solar Initiative

Massachusetts Residents Support In-State Alternative-Energy Initiatives

Seattle Zoo in Need of Facility Assessment

Pennsylvania Technical Institute Requests Trainers

Business Brief

American Workers Rank Accidental Injury Third in Safety Concern Poll

H&PQ Conference: Seattle

NSPE 2006 Annual Convention

Sponsored Q&A Partners
A panel of professionals answers your questions on a variety of topics
Chris Meadows
Wiring Duct

david_murray David Murray
Ground Fault

david_morrison David Morrison
Labeling &

Gregorec Jim Gregorec
Test &

Frank Kiffin-
Bruce & Brian
Power Generation

View Q&A

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    To find out how to advertise in this newsletter, e-mail David Miller or call him at (312) 840-8487.
    Product of the Year Competition
    Cast Your Vote Now!
    Do you want the opportunity to win $100? Then visit the EC&M Web site by June 30 to cast your vote in EC&M's Product of the Year competition and help us to identify the best new product introduced for the electrical industry in 2005.

    When you visit the EC&M Product of the Year page, an automatic poll will pop up. (Note: If you have a pop-up blocker program, it may prevent you from seeing the poll. Temporarily disable the program to allow the poll to appear on your computer.) You then need to type in your contact information, choose your favorite product, and click submit. It's that simple.

    A panel of nine judges narrowed the field from 114 entrants to 24 category finalists, and now we need your help to determine the Platinum Award winner. The competition has honored innovation and excellence in product development in the electrical industry for the past six years.

    The Multi-Tasking Power Quality Analyzer!
    Wouldn't it be nice if you could look inside your electrical system and see what's going on? Troubleshooting would be so much easier if you could see the volts, amps, and harmonic content in real time and take pictures to document and analyze. Now you can do just that and more with AEMC's PowerPad Model 3945. Record trends and capture transients, events, and screen shots all at the same time. Review it on screen or download a complete database for thorough analysis on your PC with the DataView software provided. Call (800) 343-1391 or e-mail for your free PowerPad brochure. AEMC's brochure is also available online at

    Contractor Electronic Connectivity Survey
    Give Us Your Input!
    Are you concerned about billing accuracy? Does your distributor send you electronic invoices? Would you like to start receiving them? Let us know what you think about this latest trend in distributor billing by participating in this simple survey.

    Take 10 minutes out of your busy day to fill out the Contractor Electronic Connectivity Survey. Make your opinion count!

    Tests Every Line But Your Bottom Line
    Adopting the latest generation of Gigabit Ethernet technology, SIGNALTEK is the ultimate value performance tester that allows you to measure link performance according to the industry's toughest standards. SIGNALTEK provides an easy-to-read interface that lets you perform a full suite of active LAN diagnostic tests. Visit to learn more.

    Around the Circuit
    AGC's Simonson Predicts Higher Materials Cost Inflation
    In a recent report, Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Chief Economist Ken Simonson warns owners and contractors of higher materials cost inflation. Simonson based his prediction on the producer price index (PPI) for May issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "The PPI for construction materials and components jumped 1.2% last month and 7.8% over 12 months," says Simonson. "By project type, the 12-month increases range from 8% for new single-unit residential construction to 16% for highway construction."

    Simonson also noted that several materials are contributing to the increase in costs. In the last 12 months, copper and brass mill shapes have increased 87%, asphalt jumped 48%, diesel fuel spiked 40%, gypsum products were up 26%, plastic construction products increased 18%, and cement was up 15%.

    Architecture and Engineering Hourly Billing Rates Escalate
    Architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms are charging more for their employees' time than ever before, a recent report shows. Data in Natick, Mass.-based ZweigWhite's 2006 "Fee & Billing Survey of Architecture, Engineering, Planning & Environmental Consulting Firms" show that across the 29 employee positions reviewed for the report, hourly billing rates increased an average of 17% since 2003. Seven percent of that increase has come in the past year.

    Data in this new edition of the annual report were compared to data from the 2003 edition, revealing that median hourly billing rates increased the most for senior architects (32%), senior scientists (28%), mechanical engineers (27%), senior process engineers (26%), and senior planners (25%). Senior landscape architects, senior civil engineers, senior mechanical engineers, architects, and planners all increased from 20% to 22% each over the same time period. At the other end of the scale, structural engineers, senior interior designers, and senior structural engineers saw the lowest percentage increases from 2003 to 2006 -- all less than 10% over their 2000 rates. No position saw a decrease.

    To obtain a copy of the 2006 report, visit the ZweigWhite Web site.

    California State Legislature Rewrites Solar Initiative
    In the next two weeks, the California State Legislature is expected to vote on Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), a solar bill that makes a variety of changes to the solar plan enacted in January by the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The PUC proposed to spend $3.2 billion over the next 10 years to subsidize the installation of one million solar rooftop systems across the state. The subsidy funding would be raised by surcharges on utility bills.

    According to the legislature, SB 1 addresses technical issues, such as changes needed to continue the sale of power from newly installed rooftop systems to local utilities, and broader public policy issues not addressed by the PUC plan. Under SB, 1 about $150 billion from the subsidy fund would pay for research and development of photovoltaic technology. The bill would also extend the solar initiative to municipal utilities, which provide about 27% of the state's electricity but fall outside the jurisdiction of the PUC. Critics of the bill say that the bill proposes no additional funding for the expansion of the program — and that the reduction in subsidies for customers of San Diego Gas & Electric and other investor-owned utilities would be about $800 million. Supporters of the bill note that the surcharge won't be imposed on low-income ratepayers.

    Massachusetts Residents Support
    In-State Alternative-Energy Initiatives

    Nine out of 10 Massachusetts residents want the Bay State to emerge as a national leader in alternative energy, including wind power projects such as the proposed Cape Wind offshore project, according to a recent Opinion Research Corp. poll for the Newton, Mass.-based Civil Society Institute. The survey found that residents think it would be a good idea for Massachusetts to be "a national leader in using cleaner and renewable energy on a large scale by moving ahead with offshore wind power and other alternative-energy initiatives."

    More than 81% of Massachusetts adults and 61% of residents of the Cape/the Islands now support the proposed Cape Wind offshore wind farm project. Opposition statewide is just 14% and only slightly more than 36% in the Cape/the Islands. About three out of four of all Massachusetts residents and more than half of Cape/Island residents pick wind power "to provide electricity for Cape Cod and the Islands" as their top choice over such alternatives as nuclear power (10%), coal (4%) and other energy sources (4%). To read the full survey findings, visit the Civil Society Institute's Web site.

    Contractors Earn Free Merchandise From B-line
    Introducing the Great Gear program, a way to acquire free gifts by collecting and redeeming B-Line Bucks found on B-Line's fastener product boxes. Simply remove your B-Line Bucks from the box label and use them to select from a wide assortment of gear in B-Line's Great Gear catalog. To obtain a catalog and order forms, see your local B-Line distributor or visit our Web site at

    Project Watch
    Seattle Zoo in Need
    of Facility Assessment

    Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo requests qualifications from professional services firms for a comprehensive facility condition assessment that will include a review of the fire and security systems, as well as the electrical and electrical distribution systems of the location, which comprises approximately 128 existing facilities that occupy an estimated 302,650 square feet. A pre-proposal conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. on June 21. Proposals must be submitted no later than 3 p.m. PDT on July 10. A pdf of the proposal is available for download on the zoo's Web site.

    Pennsylvania Technical Institute Requests Trainers
    The Lehigh Technical Institute in Schnecksville, Penn., is soliciting bids for electrical technology trainers. Bids will be received at the Business Office, 4500 Education Park Dr., until 2 p.m. EST on July 7. For more information and specifications, contact Randy Hensinger at (610) 799-1337 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

    E-Mon D-Mon® Meters
    How Much Could You Save ...

    If you could monitor actual electric, gas and, water usage facility-wide?
    If you could allocate energy costs to tenants, departments, or equipment?
    If you could identify energy-saving opportunities and lower utility costs?
    Leverage E-Mon's 25 years of experience to increase efficiency and improve your bottom line. Call (800) 334-3666 or visit

    Web Exclusives
    Business Brief
    Las Vegas-based Harris Consulting Engineers recently expanded its operations to include a Lighting Design Department. Janelle Beuttner-Drouet, IESNA, joins the company as senior lighting designer and founding member. John Cumiskey joins the new department as lighting designer and theatrical lighting specialist.

    For more Business Briefs from the week of June 5 2006, visit EC&M's Web site.

    ClearTrax range-taking connectors feature easy lay-in installation of aluminum or copper conductors and accommodate a wire range of 1000MCM - 2. Benefits are a faster and safer connection resulting from reduced cable manipulation during installation. Visit our web site at for additional product information.

    Eye on Safety
    American Workers Rank Accidental Injury Third in Safety Concern Poll
    Accidental injury is the leading cause of death for people under 40 and the fifth-leading cause for all ages. But in a recent survey of more than 400 American workers conducted on behalf of the National Safety Council (NSC) by Atlanta-based Infosurv, American workers ranked accidental injury No. 3 in terms of their top safety concerns -- following violent crime and natural disasters. The organization's "2006 American Worker Safety Survey" also found that more workers feel safer at home than they do at work. However, according to 2004 NSC statistics, twice as many workers -- or 6.8 million -- were seriously injured while off the job than were injured while working. Of the 49,000 injury-related deaths in 2004 involving workers, roughly 90% occurred while employees were off the job, according to NSC.

    Shows and Events
    H&PQ Conference: Seattle
    EC&M, PowerQuality, and PQNewsBeat present the 2006 Harmonics & Power Quality (H&PQ) conference in Seattle from July 20-21. Presenters at this year's conference will include William Bush, director of engineering, Signals, Power & Grounding Specialists, Inc.; Bruce Lonie, president, PowerCET Corp.; Chris Melhorn, engineering manager, EPRI Solutions; and Alex McEachern, president, Power Systems Lab. For more information and to register, visit the conference's Web site.

    NSPE 2006 Annual Convention
    The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) presents its annual convention from July 6-8 in Boston. This year's event includes general sessions on the future of engineering, ethical dilemmas in the profession, handling media attention, and accounting for engineers. Participants in the education sessions can ear up to 20.5 PDHs. For more information and to register, visit the NSPE Web site.
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