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March 15, 2007 A Penton Media Publication Vol. 6, No. 5

House Approves Union Organizing Bill

Demand for Solar Energy Expected to Jump to $1.3 Billion by 2010

Philadelphia Licensing Bill Tabled

Potential Government Funding for Solar Power Technologies

Constellation NewEnergy Donates Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Illinois School District Seeks Bids for Lighting Retrofit

New York Needs Prison Housing Electrical System Upgrade

Business Brief

Connections: The Digital Home Conference & Showcase

Battcon International Stationary Battery Conference

ACEC Annual 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

View Q&A

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    Around the Circuit
    House Approves Union
    Organizing Bill

    The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that may make it easier for labor unions to organize non-union companies. The Employee Free Choice Act was approved by a 241-135 vote. The House vote split generally along party lines, with all but two Democrats voting for the bill -- and all but 13 Republicans voting against it. The White House issued a statement saying that President Bush would veto the bill if it makes it to his desk. The House vote falls short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto. There has been no action yet in the Senate.“We have to show our strength now to support the Employee Free Choice Act,” says Frank Voso, assistant business manager and organizer, Baltimore, Md., IBEW Local 24.

    Business groups such as Associated Builders & Contractors and the Independent Electrical Contractors strongly oppose the measure. It has been referred to as the "card check bill," because it lets workers sign a card to indicate their desire to join a union. Industry officials contend that the bill would be a blow to secret-ballot elections, as well as the rights of small business owners. "This legislation does a disservice to both the employee and the small business owner by tossing aside the values of free enterprise and democracy in favor of trying to halt the steady decline in union membership over 30 years," says Brian Worth, IEC national vice president of government affairs.

    AEMC New Ground Resistance Testers
    AEMC®'s new rugged Digital Ground Resistance Tester with automatic calculation of test results, Model 6470, performs grounding resistance, earth coupling measurement, soil resistivity, and bonding tests. This easy-to-use and accurate instrument measures up to 512 test results that can be stored in internal memory for later recall to the display or downloaded to a PC for analysis and hard copy reports with automatic fall of potential plots.

    Demand for Solar Energy Expected
    to Jump to $1.3 Billion by 2010

    The demand for photovoltaic modules, according to a recent study by Cleveland-based marketing research firm Freedonia Group, Inc., is expected to rise by more than three times the current level -- to $1.3 billion -- by 2010. Credit for the increased demand is given to the falling price of solar power, spurred by improvements in the technology, as well as increases in state and federal government tax incentives and rebates. Net metering programs, in which consumers are reimbursed at retail prices for the excess energy their solar equipment puts back into the power grid, is also a major factor. A potential shortage of polysilicon may cause a lag in inventory, but new technologies in development may eliminate the use of that material.

    Philadelphia Licensing Bill Tabled
    The bill requiring Philadelphia electricians and telecom workers to complete several years of study and apprenticeship has been put off indefinitely. Councilman Juan Ramos, who introduced the legislation in December, said he tabled the bill because "the issue is very complex, highly technical, and, I think, requires more work and further input." The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 had supported the bill, saying it would potentially reduce the number of fires in the city. Critics of the bill argued that a licensing requirement would give an unfair advantage to union workers and reduce job opportunities for independent contractors in the city.

    Potential Government Funding for Solar Power Technologies
    Up to $168 million in government funding could be available to companies developing advanced solar power technologies, says the U.S. Department of Energy. If they're found eligible, companies providing more than 50% of funding for 13 projects could receive the government support. The companies include Boeing Co., BP PLC, Dow Chemical Co., General Electric Co., and SunPower Corp. Congress would need to approve the money for the program after final agreements have been negotiated.

    Constellation NewEnergy Donates Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
    Baltimore-based Constellation NewEnergy recently donated 34,000 energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) to housing authority customers throughout New England. As part of a program promoting energy efficiency and the environment, the company bought the CFLs at a competitive rate and distributed them to 34 housing authorities and other customers in Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut.

    "We are making the installation of these light bulbs a top priority so that we can see an immediate and positive impact on our energy costs and carbon footprint," says Greg Russ, director of the Cambridge Housing Authority, one of the housing authorities included in the program.

    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 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
    Illinois School District Seeks Bids for Lighting Retrofit
    The North Wamac School District #186 Board of Education currently is requesting bids for upgrades at the North Wamac Grade School, Centralia, Ill. Work covered by the bid shall include retrofitting all existing lighting, exhaust fan installation, office renovation including new gypsum board, carpet, and acoustical ceiling tile, downspout installation, playground renovations, and partial sanitary sewer replacement. Sealed bids are to be delivered to the Unit Office located at 1500 Case St. in Centralia prior to 2 p.m. CST on March 22. Bid documents may be obtained from Lunsford Architects, Inc., 403 N. Court St. in Marion, Ill.

    New York Needs Prison Housing Electrical System Upgrade
    The New York State Office of General Services is soliciting bids for the upgrade of electrical systems in Housing Units A, B, 5, and 7 at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, N.Y. Bidders interested in attending a pre-bid site inspection scheduled for March 29 at 10 a.m. EST may call the office of Shannon Landolfa at (845) 831-3111 a minimum of 72 hours in advance of the date. Bidding and contract documents are available by calling (877) 647-7526. Bids will be accepted until 2 p.m. on April 4.

    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
    CyrusOne, Houston, recently selected Lee Technologies, Inc., Fairfax, Va., to build-out the expansion of CyrusOne's 60,000 square-foot Tier 4 enterprise data center. Located within the technology campus, the new high-density facility is designed from the ground up to provide 250W of power per square foot to support the demands of the blade servers.

    "We're essentially taking a warehouse and converting it to one of the most sophisticated data centers in Houston," says Project Design Engineer Chuck Prichard, president and owner of Prichard Consulting, East Lansing, Mich. "Over 35,000V of power will be delivered to the site to meet capacity requirements. However, the proper integration, installation, and ongoing maintenance of the site's critical systems is the key element that will drive the project's success."

    According to Nemertes Research, Mokena, Ill., companies are finding they need to bring in more servers to support a growing demand; however, this affects power, heat and cooling -- issues that are becoming increasingly important in designing today's data centers. "The increased demand for high availability and dense computing enterprise data centers has never been stronger," says Dave Ferdman, president and CEO, CyrusOne.

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


    The Basics of Voltage Sag Immunity
    By John DeDad
    Sponsored by Caterpillar

    This podcast will discuss the various causes of voltage sag, industry studies such as System Average RMS Variation Frequency Index (SARFI), equipment sensitivity performances (CBEMA and ITIC), and solutions to voltage sag at the end user level.

    Shows and Events
    Connections: The Digital Home Conference & Showcase
    Dallas-based Parks Associates, in partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Arlington, Va., will present Connections 2007 from May 1-3 in Santa Clara, Calif. Topics for this year's sessions include remote home monitoring, home controls, the evolution of powerline technology, and the connected home market and technology. For more information and to register, visit the event's Web site.

    Battcon International Stationary Battery Conference
    Battcon 2007 will take place in Tampa Bay, Fla., from May 1-3. Papers to be presented at this year's conference will cover topics such as embedded DC power distribution architecture, rate-adjusted battery capacity testing and calculations, IEEE 1491 battery monitoring standard, metal hydride fuel cell technology for UPS / emergency power applications, and the IEEE standard on electrolyte spill control. For more information and to register, visit the Battcon Web site.

    ACEC Annual Convention
    The American Council of Engineering Company's (ACEC) 2007 Annual Convention will take place May 6-9 in Washington, D.C. Presentations will be given on the status of federal markets, limitation of liability, merger and acquisition activity in the A/E/C industry, and 2007 industry trends. For more information and to register, visit the ACEC Web site.
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