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October 15, 2007 A Penton Media Publication Vol. 6, No. 20

Overall Construction Spending Up in August

ComEd Offers Discounts on CFL Bulbs for Homeowners

Oregon Proposes Roadside PV Installations

Westar Plans Wind Farms in Kansas

Wastewater Treatment Plant Project in Indiana

Approach Bridges Rehabilitation
in New York

Business Brief

Safety Program Planned for the Northeast in 2008

IEC National Convention
& Electric Expo

Electronic House Expo

IWCS Conference

EC&M Code Change Conferences

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    Around the Circuit
    Overall Construction Spending Up
    in August

    Construction spending in August totaled $1.167 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, up 0.2% from July but down 1.7% from August 2006, reports the Census Bureau. Private residential construction dropped by 1.5%, while private nonresidential construction spiked 2.3% and public construction rose 0.7%.

    For the first eight months of 2007 combined, total construction dipped 3.3% compared to the first eight months in 2006. Private residential experienced an 18% downward spike, slightly offset by nonresidential's 17% gain and public spending's 12% gain. Single-unit housing was down 27% year-to-date and multi-unit construction dropped 3.1%. The largest year-to-date gains in private nonresidential spending were in lodging (60%), office and power (22% each), and communication and education (20% each.) Education and highway and streets, which comprise more than half of public construction, were the two biggest public segments with gains of 12% and 5%, respectively.

    McGraw-Hill Construction recorded that construction starts rose 6% in August. The company reports that residential starts were down 6%, nonresidential building starts were up 16%, and nonbuilding construction starts were up 3%. Overall, year-to-date starts dropped 11%, compared to the first eight months in 2006. Residential was down 25%, nonresidential building was up 3%, and nonbuilding construction rose 8%.

    AEMC offers a broad range of Megohmmeters measuring up to 10T ohms with test voltages from 50V to 5,000V. Hand crank, battery, and line-powered models are available. Analog, digital, and graphical display show measurement results (model dependent). DAR, PI, and dielectric discharge ratios are automatically calculated models.
    A comprehensive software program that allows for system configuration, data storage, real-time testing, and report print out is included free on some models.

    ComEd Offers Discounts on CFL Bulbs for Homeowners
    Chicago-based Commonwealth Edison Co. (ComEd) is offering residential customers a 60% discount on compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs purchased at participating stores in northern Illinois. More than a million bulbs will be available for as low as 99 cents each at more than 350 retail outlets. Through the ComEd Discount CFL Bulb program, customers may purchase up to 12 ENERGY STAR-rated CFL bulbs at a $2 discount through Dec. 31 or while supplies last.

    Last year, ComEd customers exceeded program goals by purchasing more than 1.2 million discounted energy-efficient bulbs in less than six weeks. It is estimated that ComEd customers collectively reduced their overall electric use by about 79-million kilowatt hours and saved $7.4 million on electric bills this year as a result of using CFLs purchased during last year's campaign.

    Oregon Proposes Roadside
    PV Installations

    The Oregon Office of Transportation's (ODOT) Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding currently is planning pilot installations of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on state property, or highway rights-of-way. ODOT has issued a formal request for companies or agencies to offer options to demonstrate installations that would produce up to 250kW on road shoulders, noise barriers along highways, bridges, abutments, rest areas, or ports of entry. The first demonstration projects may be located in the Willamette Valley, around Salem or Portland. Larger future projects eventually may be located on the east side of Oregon, depending on where they could tie into regional electrical transmission lines.

    Incentive for the project comes from Gov. Ted Kulongoski's mandate that state agencies must get 100% of their energy needs from solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources by 2010. Overall, the state's goal is to meet 25% of its power needs through renewable energy by 2025.

    Westar Plans Wind Farms in Kansas
    Topeka, Kan.-based Westar Energy, Inc., recently reached tentative agreements with developers to build three wind farms in Kansas, totaling approximately 300MW to be available by the end of 2008. The company may also seek an additional 200MW to be available by 2010. The agreements with the developers are contingent upon receiving satisfactory regulatory pre-approval of the ratemaking principles from the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC). Westar has requested the KCC to issue its order by Dec. 31.

    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" and 3/8" threaded rods, eliminating the need for multiple hanger sizes. The Flip Clip requires only one nut and one tool for installation.

    Project Watch
    Wastewater Treatment Plant Project in Indiana
    Gary, Ind.-based Gariup Construction Co. is actively seeking qualified/certified MBE, WBE, and other subcontractors to bid on the construction, including electrical work, of the primary and aeration channel modifications project at the South Bend, Ind., Wastewater Treatment Plant. Bids must be received by Gariup Construction at 9:30 a.m. EST on Oct. 21. For more information, contact Rachelle Janssen at (219) 887-5233.

    Approach Bridges Rehabilitation
    in New York

    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is accepting proposals for Contract LT-481, Lincoln Tunnel, rehabilitation of the New York approach bridges. Scope of work consists of replacement of electrical conduits, as well as replacement of concrete utility sport slabs and sidewalks, repaving of asphalt concrete pavement, patching concrete spalls and cracks on the bridge substructure surfaces, replacement of bridge deck joints and joint seal, and spot cleaning and painting bridge structural steel. Proposals must be received by the Port Authority by 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 30. For questions, call Jessamma Vatakencherry at (212) 435-3953 or e-mail her at

    New Megger MIT400 Series 1kV Insulation Testers
    The perfect high-performance tester for commercial and plant electricians. It features a CAT IV, 600V rating, digital and analog arc display, adjustable insulation test voltages, and exceptional measurement range from 20 G-ohms to 200 G-ohms. Six models to choose from with a three year warranty.

    Web Exclusives
    Business Brief
    Portland, Ore.-based Robert A. Amey Co. recently entered into an agreement to be the sole representative of Grayslake, Ill.-based Harger's lightning and grounding products in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. Harger designs, manufactures, and markets a number of products for lightning and grounding protections for many residential, commercial, communication, transportation, and computer applications.

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

    Belden® Offers a Full Line of 2-Hour Rated Fire-Resistive (Circuit Integrity) Cables for a range of applications: UL2196/NEC-listed industrial cables are PLTC-CI shielded multi-conductor types; shipboard cables are ABS-type approved shielded multi-conductor cables with low-smoke zero halogen jackets; shielded/unshielded multi-conductor Safe-T-Line® EVAC system cables meet all applicable survivability requirements. For New Product Bulletin #249, call 1.800.BELDEN.1 or

    Eye on Safety
    Safety Program Planned for the Northeast in 2008
    OSHA recently announced plans to conduct a no-notice safety program during its fiscal year 2008 campaign to prevent construction-related fatalities in the southeastern part of the United States. Under the Swept Up in Safety Weeks program, agency compliance officers will focus enforcement efforts on construction sites in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The agency hopes to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities resulting from the four leading causes of accidents: falls, struck-by, crushing events, electrocutions, and caught-in-between events.

    During 2007's Swept Up in Safety Weeks campaign, officers conducted immediate inspections when unsafe working conditions were observed at construction sites. Officers also entered work sites to provide outreach and training and encouraged employers to continue safety practices. The campaign helped reduce fatalities at construction sites overseen by federal OSHA offices to 10.4% compared to fiscal year 2006, says OSHA. During the four designed safety weeks in 2007, the agency conducted 2,086 compliance inspections and 1,294 onsite interventions where no inspections were performed.


    ClearTrax® Lay-In Connectors
    ILSCO has introduced ClearTrax® lay-in connectors. ClearTrax range taking connectors feature easy lay-in installation of aluminum or copper conductors and accommodate a wire range of 1000kcmil - 6. Benefits are a faster and safer connection resulting from reduced cable manipulation during installation. Fabricated from 6061-T6 aluminum alloy to ensure strength and conductivity, ClearTrax is clear plated for low contact resistance. The compact body is designed as a single piece and is engineered for heat dissipation.

    Shows and Events
    IEC National Convention & Electric Expo
    Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) will present its 50th annual National Convention & Electric Expo from Oct. 24-27 in Houston. The organization will once again presents its IEC University sessions. This year's session topics include construction scheduling for electrical contractors, NFPA 70E, risk management, estimating, and overcurrent protection. For more information and to register, visit IEC's Web site.

    House Expo

    The Electronic House Expo (EHX) Fall 2007 event will take place from Nov. 7-9 in Long Beach, Calif. Sessions for this year include sales and marketing mini camps, a business workshop, and fiber-to-the-home summit, as well as a one-day review for technicians seeking the Electronic Systems Professional Alliance (ESPA)-certified Electronic Systems Technician (EST) certification. Fore more information and to register, visit the EHX Web site.

    IWCS Conference
    The International Wire & Cable Symposium, Inc. (IWCS) will presents its 56th annual conference from Nov. 11-14 at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort & Convention Center in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Professional development courses at this year's event will cover topics such as bend-resistant fibers, coaxial cables for wireless systems, extrusion technology and equipment, and fundamentals of copper conductors, metallic cable designs, and optical fibers. For more information and to register, visit the IWCS Web site.

    EC&M Code Change Conferences
    Where do you turn when you need accurate information on changes to the National Electrical Code? Acknowledged as the leaders in providing information on the NEC, EC&M magazine and EC&M seminars have been the preferred sources of this information for more than 60 years. Seven Code change conferences have been scheduled in the fall of 2007. Host cities include: Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Orlando, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Seattle.

    As an approved provider with the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), through its Registered Continuing Education Provider Program (RCEPP), our 2008 Code change conferences will provide professional engineers Professional Development Hours (PDHs), a requirement for re-licensing in many states. The conferences are also approved by every state that has a continuing education requirement for contractors and electricians.

    For additional information on the dates and locations of these events, download a pdf of the schedule from the EC&M Web site.

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