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March 30, 2007 A Penton Media Publication Vol. 6, No. 6

Electrical Contractor Testifies Before House Committee

Materials Costs Expected to Rise

IEEE-USA Offers Four New eBooks

LED Research Continues

Experienced Electrical Contractor Wanted in Key West

General Contractors Needed for Substation Construction in Montana

Business Brief

NETA Updates "Acceptance Testing Specifications"

IEEE/IAS Industrial & Commercial Power Systems Technical Conference

2007 LFI

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

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Bruce & Brian
Power Generation

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    Around the Circuit
    Electrical Contractor Testifies Before House Committee
    Mike Cavanaugh, owner and president of Cincinnati-based Queen City Electric, Inc. and member of the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), recently testified before the House Small Business Committee about the impact of health insurance costs on small business owners and their employees. The Committee hearing, chaired by Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), focused on the difficulty that most small businesses face in meeting the health insurance needs of their employees. The hearing also examined possible solutions to this problem, such as association health plans and tax credits for individuals and employers who purchase health insurance.

    Cavanaugh testified about the challenges he faces in providing competitive health insurance benefits for his 25 employees. "Small businesses are at a significant disadvantage because we cannot easily band together to form large pools of insured individuals similar to big companies," says Cavanaugh. The Committee's Ranking Member, Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH), specifically asked Cavanaugh about the impact these costs have on his company's bottom line. "The money and time associated with providing reasonable, quality health insurance for my employees is the largest uncontrolled cost that my business faces every year," Cavanaugh responded. When pressed for a possible solution to this problem, Cavanaugh agreed with Rep. Chabot's contention that allowing for more competition within the marketplace -- namely through pooling vehicles such as association health plans -- would create the incentive to offer more reasonably priced health insurance options for small business owners.

    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.

    Materials Costs Expected to Rise
    Construction cost increases experienced a slowdown in the last half of 2006 but the reprieve already may be over, says Kenneth Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Arlington, Va. By the end of 2007, materials costs could rise again at a 6% to 8% rate, with wages rising at a 5% rate. Simonson explains that construction is vulnerable to high price increases because the industry cannot avoid using materials that are in high demand -- and for which supplies increase unpredictably. The greater volatility in petroleum, concrete, and metals products means that highway and other heavy construction markets are more likely to pay for large price spikes than are the other construction segments. However, he warns that construction is at risk of higher materials cost increases than the general rate of inflation.

    IEEE-USA Offers Four New eBooks
    Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in the United States (IEEE-USA) has published a three-book series, "The Engineer's Guide to Lifelong Employability," as well as the single volume "Engineering a Communication Bridge" through its eBooks division. The employment series covers topics such as resumes and cover letters, the transition from school to the job market, and how to obtain adequate compensation as a technical professional employee. Ebooks are offered at a discount to IEEE members. To view the entire collection and to order, visit IEEE-USA's Web site.

    LED Research Continues
    Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, Tenn., in collaboration with the University of Tennessee, believe thin films of polymers will improve the next generation of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), making them more energy efficient. At ORNL, researchers are currently developing electrodes composed of carbon nanotubes and magnetic nanowires to enhance the light emission from polymer-based organic LEDs. Magnetic nanowires and dots have been shown to help control the spin of electrons injected into the LEDs to further improve efficiency and reliability. In early tests, carbon nanotubes improved the electroluminescence efficiency of polymer LEDs by a factor of four and reduced the energy required to operate them.

    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 into smaller panel board connectors. Go to and click on Compression Products to learn more

    Project Watch
    Experienced Electrical Contractor Wanted in Key West
    The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA), Key West, Fla., is seeking to retain licensed, qualified industrial electrical contractors to provide work that includes construction of, furnishing, and installing electrical systems to support the construction of reverse osmosis (RO) expansions and Floridian Aquifer water supply and disposal wells. The work in general includes electrical substations, 4,180 eBooks primary power feeds, yard electrical conduit and wiring, transformers, motor control centers, variable-frequency drives, raw and finished water electrical pumps, RO building, RO systems (feed pumps, control, electrical), chemical systems, control systems, telecommunications systems, and miscellaneous electrical and controls work. A copy of the qualifications package may be obtained from Peggy Medina, FKAA Department of Engineering at 1100 Kennedy Drive, Key West, FL 33040 or by phone at (305) 296-2454. The deadline for submission is 4:30 p.m. EDT on April 16. For additional information, e-mail Ray M. Shimokubo, P.E., director of environmental services for FKAA at

    General Contractors Needed for Substation Construction in Montana
    The Harrison, Mont., Volunteer Fire Department (V.F.D.) is requesting proposals from general contractors for the construction of substations in three locations: Norris, Pony, and State Highway 359 between Harrison and Cardwell. Each building measures approximately 30 feet by 40 feet with a 14-foot sidewall height. The electrical will include 100A service for 11 duplex 110V interior outlets, one single 220V interior outlet, up to six 4-foot heavy-duty fluorescent lighting fixtures, one low-temp sodium exterior light with photocell, and one GFI exterior 110V duplex receptacle. All proposals should be submitted to Harrison V.F.D., P.O. Box 200, Harrison, MT 59735 until 5:00 p.m. MDT on April 20.

    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
    Camarillo, Calif.-based SolarWorld AG recently announced plans to take over the silicon wafer production facility in Hillsboro, Ore., from Tokyo-based Komatsu Group. The California company will further develop the new site with an investment of about $400 million to establish an integrated solar silicon wafer and solar cell production, which may reach a capacity of 500MW by 2009. The SolarWorld Group plans to shift its solar crystallization activities from Vancouver, Wash., to Hillsboro and start up production in the summer of 2007. In the first stage of the expansion, capacities will be enhanced to 100MW.

    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 describe 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.

    Eye on Safety
    NETA Updates "Acceptance
    Testing Specifications"

    American National Standards (ANSI)-accredited InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA), Portage, Maine, recently released the 2007 edition of its "Acceptance Testing Specifications" (ATS). Shipping and installation damage, field and factory wiring errors, manufacturing defects, and systems and components not in accordance with drawings and specifications are some of the problems that can be detected by using the guide.

    The 2007 "ATS" addresses the latest technologies in acceptance testing of electrical equipment and covers revisions to applicable IEEE standards. Also in this edition, visual and mechanical test results and electrical test results are now listed in separate sections. The updated edition is available as a bound manual, CD ROM, or electronic download. For more information, contact Kristen Schmidt, technical services coordinator for NETA at (269) 488-6382 or by e-mail at

    Shows and Events
    IEEE/IAS Industrial & Commercial Power Systems Technical Conference
    The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Industry Applications Society (IAS) will present the Industrial & Commercial Power Systems Conference in Edmonton, Alberta May 6 to May 11. For 2007, the conference has been expanded to include more tutorials and vendor displays. Topics of papers to be presented include power systems protection, energy systems, codes and standards, and power systems engineering. For more information and to register, visit the conference's Web site.

    2007 LFI
    2007 Lightfair International (LFI) Tradeshow and Conference will take place May 8-10 in New York. Topics for conference seminars include trends in residential lighting, LED performance, solar energy, building skin technology, landscape lighting, lighting controls, and exterior lighting ordinances. For more information and to register, visit LFI's Web site.

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