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January 31, 2007 A Prism Business Media Publication Vol. 6, No. 2

2006 Construction Starts Equal 2005

North American Industrial Project Spending Forecast

New U.S. Coal-Fired Power Plants

Copper Recycling Helps Fund Children's Hospital

Builder Goes Solar Near Sacramento

Connecticut Seeks Generator Maintenance

California City Seeks Bids for Electrical Installation

Business Brief

Voluntary Recall of General Duty Safety Switches

EC&M e-Tradeshow

It's Time to Hit the Beach

Electronic House Expo

EGSA Spring Convention

Sponsored Q&A Partners
A panel of professionals answers your questions on a variety of topics
Tony Locker Tony Locker
Resistance Grounding

Frank Kiffin-
Bruce & Brian
Power Generation

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    Around the Circuit
    2006 Construction Starts Equal 2005
    New construction starts for 2006 were almost equal to 2005, reports McGraw-Hill Construction. This marks a slowdown from the double-digit growth experienced in 2004 and 2005 when the value of new construction starts increased 11% and 12%, respectively. Also in 2006, non-residential building starts grew 14% and non-building construction rose 19%, while residential building dropped 12%. Hotel starts spiked 89%, manufacturing plants increased 22%, educational buildings rose 10%, and health-care facilities experienced a 6% increase. After stalling in 2005, office construction rose 37%. Electric utility construction jumped 90%, ending a four-year decline. Greater contracting was present across a range of power-plant types -- fossil fuel, natural gas, wind, and solar -- as well as transmission line projects. Finally, in residential construction, single-family starts fell 14% in 2006, and multi-family starts decreased 1%.

    Power Quality Analyzer
    The Powerpad® Jr. model 8230 is a single-phase, power quality analyzer that is easy-to-use and shock-resistant. It is intended for electricians and engineers to measure and carry out single-phase and balanced three-phase power quality analysis. Users are able to obtain instant waveforms of the electrical network's characteristics and also monitor their variation over a period of time. All power quality parameters, including harmonics out to the 50th, can be recorded.

    North American Industrial Project Spending Forecast
    In 2007, more than 5,400 major projects with a total investment value of $314 billion have been identified to begin construction in North America, reports Sugar Land, Texas-based Industrial Info Resources (IIR). Using a confidence factor -- the percent change in total investment value from the initial forecast to the actual amount of spending money that reaches fruition -- IIR predicts that $136 billion in project activity will actually take place. In the United States, $254 billion in activity is scheduled for construction in 2007. Based on a confidence factor of 43.5%, it is estimated that $110 billion in spending will actually take place.

    New U.S. Coal-Fired Power Plants
    Utilities are planning to build more than 100 coal-fired power plants in the United States during the next 10 years, The Wall Street Journal recently reported. The paper states that more than 20,000MW of coal-fired plants are proposed for construction in western states during the next few years, but it is probable somewhat fewer will actually be built. At a meeting scheduled for next month, California utility regulators are expected to approve a measure that will prohibit utilities from entering into contracts to buy electricity from resources that emit substantial greenhouse gases, such as coal. Utilities in the state are already moving to meet or exceed the new standards.

    Copper Recycling Helps Fund Children's Hospital
    Two employees of Madison, Wis.-based University of Wisconsin (UW) Hospital and Clinics recently launched a copper-recycling program to raise funds for the American Family Children's Hospital being built next to the UW Hospital. Jeff Gertgen, electricians supervisor, and Terry Frink, transportation and labor manager, started Copper for Kids with a goal of $100,000. So far, they have donated $40,000, which totals about 20,000 pounds of copper at an average of $2 per pound. Copper for Kids receives anywhere from 60 cents per pound for copper wiring to as much as $2.62 per pound for copper tubing from All Metal Recycling in Madison.

    Before the program, copper was either recycled by the contractors or it was thrown away. Under the program, contractors have willingly turned over old copper wiring and tubing. "They've seen the benefit of what we are trying to do," says Frink. "They let us know whenever their bins are full." Hospital officials also have added language to building contracts that gives the hospital discretion over all salvage materials.

    Builder Goes Solar Near Sacramento
    Miami-based Lennar Corp. reports that 60 of the 650 solar houses planned for what's being called one of the nation's largest all-solar neighborhoods are under construction. The homes, located in three communities in west Roseville, Calif., and in two more communities near Sacramento, which has about 320 days of sunshine a year, will feature built-in rooftop solar panels as standard equipment. Lennar estimates its homebuyers will see monthly electricity bills fall by about 40% to 60% from those in conventional homes, to about $48 a month. Roseville Electric, the city's public utility, estimates the project's 650 solar systems may cut greenhouse gas emissions by 4.9 million pounds, equivalent to 920,000 newly planted trees. However, solar's average $20,000 price tag remains prohibitive for many builders and homebuyers. Prices may have remained high because of shortages of key materials for solar panels.

    ILSCO Pigtail Adaptors
    Popular Again

    With the recent increased use of aluminum conductors, ILSCO's ACM, ACO-90, CPM, and CPML pigtail adaptors are in high demand. The pigtails give contractors the flexibility of using a less- expensive aluminum conductor and then converting the conductor so that it can be installed into a copper connector. Pigtails also reduce the size of the conductor to allow installation of the conductor into smaller panel board connectors that may have been supplied. Go to and click on Compression Products to learn more.

    Project Watch
    Connecticut Seeks Generator Maintenance
    The State of Connecticut's Procurement Services, Department of Administrative Services, Hartford, Conn., is currently requesting proposals for repair, maintenance, and inspection of transmission, distribution, and rotating power equipment (standby/stationary) generators on a semi-annual basis for the DMR North Region. Bids will be accepted until Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. EST. A pdf of the bid documents are available for download from the state's Web site.

    California City Seeks Bids for
    Electrical Installation

    The City of Orange, Calif., currently is soliciting bids for Well #26 electrical installation. The question cut-off date is Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. PST. All bids are due Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. To request additional information on this project, fill out the online form on the city's Web site.

    New Flip Clip From Cooper B-Line
    The fastest, most inexpensive way to securely hang and level wire basket tray, saving installers time and money. The Flip Clip can be used with 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch threaded rods, eliminating the need for multiple hanger sizes. The Flip Clip requires only one nut and one tool for installation.

    Web Exclusives
    Business Brief
    Washington D.C.-based Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) recently formed a partnership with Enterprise Fleet Management (EFM) to provide AGC members with discounts up to 15% on fleet vehicles and operations. Under the partnership, members may receive discounted fleet pricing on all makes and models of cars, trucks, and vans, as well as other services, such as flexible funding, maintenance programs, fuel management, aftermarket equipment, fleet card program, corporate rental, risk management, registration, reporting, and disposal. To be eligible for participation, companies must be an active AGC member in good standing. For more information, visit AGC's Web site, or contact EFM directly at its Web site.

    For more Business Briefs, visit the EC&M Web site.

    Eye on Safety
    Voluntary Recall of General Duty Safety Switches
    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Square D, Palatine, Ill., recently announced a voluntary recall of around 27,600 General Duty Safety Switches. The recall indicates that the switch can continue to supply electricity even after being placed in the "off" position, posing a risk of electric shock. Manufactured in Mexico for Square D, the switches were eligible to bear the UL and cUL listing marks. For the full report, visit the CPSC's Web site.

    Shows and Events

    Enter the "You Be the Electrical Inspector" Contest at the
    EC&M e-Tradeshow

    Here's your chance to win a $100 American Express gift certificate and to prove your knowledge of the National Electrical Code by acting as an electrical inspector and citing every Code violation appearing in an actual electrical installation. Visit the EC&M e-Tradeshow, a virtual online exhibition and live conference center. Also available is a live conference scheduled for February 15th on "Ground-Fault Coordination" and a special presentation by Generac on "Sizing Commercial Generators." And take a look at the archive of various past conferences, such as "Claim Litigation" and "Harmonics: Causes, Symptoms, and Remediation Techniques."

    It's Time to Hit the Beach
    If it's your job to make sure all systems are "go," you need to go to Electric West. This show and conference offers the right information and product mix to meet all of your information needs. Do you maintain and operate electrical systems in a facility? If so, you have to make plans to attend the Electric West conference program in Long Beach, Calif. Check out this event's 40+ seminars in the areas of power quality, safety, Code changes, and industrial applications, and make plans to meet 200+ leading suppliers. Or register now.

    Electronic House Expo
    The Spring 2007 Electronic House Expo (EHX) is scheduled for March 8-10 in Orlando, Fla. Of specific interest to electrical contractors, this year EHX will offer the Residential Electrical Expo, a "show within a show," and a track of seminars about opportunities and requirements in the sector. Sponsored by the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) Association, the Residential Electrical Expo will feature suppliers of lighting fixtures, power cabling and outlets, load centers, whole-house surge suppression, back-up power, alternative energy sources and tools, accessories, and software systems related to electrical work. For more information, visit the EHX Web site.

    Improve Your Electrical Construction Management Skills!
    Learn about claim litigation and how to bolster your case to retrieve owed money. Also, find out about tips for good project management to increase profit margins. Attend the IEC Training Conference sponsored by IEC Chesapeake Apprenticeship & Training, in conjunction with strategic alliance partner EC&M, scheduled for March 14 from 2 p.m.–6 p.m., at the Rexel CDC in Upper Marlboro, Md. Two training seminars are scheduled: “Claim Litigation: Strengthening Your Case Through Good Project Management” and “Improving Profits Through Good Project Management,” both presented by John DeDad, senior director, editorial and EC&M dSevelopment. Registration fee is $50 for IEC members and $75 for nonmembers. For more information, click here

    EGSA Spring Convention
    The Electrical Generating Systems Association (EGSA) Spring Convention will be held in Savannah, Ga., from March 18-20. This year's event will feature addresses such as "Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project Engine Emissions," "New Technologies & Applications for On-Site Power Generation," "The Modern Tug/Barge Unit - Power Requirements & Electrical Outfitting," and "Standby Power and Wireless Telecommunications." For more information and to register, visit the EGSA Web site.

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