Nov
12

Is it necessary for utilities to "go digital"?

New technologies are fundamentally transforming the utility industry. As this transformation occurs, it is necessary for utilities to "go digital" and to take advantage of the massive amounts of data being produced. In leveraging data, companies can make faster, better decisions; improve operational efficiency; and reinvent how they operate.

Discover how IBM is working with businesses to help develop digital strategies that leverage data to address the complex challenges companies are facing.

This executive summary contains insight from Paul Davis, Executive Partner, IBM and Bryan Sacks, Head of Work and Asset Optimization Solutions, IBM. It covers the following key takeaways:

  • ​Technology is driving fundamental change in the utilities industry.
  • Utilities need to go digital.
  • Mobility offers unrealized potential, especially for field workers.
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning are technologies that are coming fast.

See Below:​

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial full article at: https://www.tdworld.com/white-papers/data-renewable-resource-digital-reinvention?partnerref=UM_TDWUAIOct18_ES_004&utm_rid=CPG04000000918978&utm_campaign=22908&utm_medium=email&elq2=195afa440059413e81e2b758a65e0d65

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32 Hits
Nov
05

Trump names Chatterjee FERC chair

President Trump designated Commissioner Neil Chatterjee to be the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The White House announcement on Wednesday ends weeks of speculation over the status of McIntyre, who has not made a public appearance since July and missed FERC's monthly meetings in September and October.

In a letter dated Oct. 22, the outgoing chairman wrote to President Trump, proposing that he "step aside from the position of chairman and its additional duties so that I can commit myself fully to my work as commissioner."

McIntyre's decision to stay on FERC will allow Republicans to preserve partisan parity on the five-person commission until GOP nominee Bernard McNamee is confirmed by the Senate. If he left FERC entirely, the commission would be left with two Democrats and a Republican chair.

The reshuffling will allow Chatterjee, a former staffer for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a second chance to leave his mark on FERC.

During his first stint with the gavel, Chatterjee oversaw FERC's initial response to the Department of Energy's proposed coal and nuclear bailout, filed in late Sept. 2017.

During debate over the plan, Chatterjee ruffled feathers at the commission for floating a short-term coal and nuclear subsidy proposal to the press before notifying fellow regulators and their staffs.

Though he eventually voted against the DOE's proposal, Chatterjee's presentation of that plan and subsequent comments defending it were unusual for a FERC regulator, who typically do not comment extensively on pending issues before the commission.

Chatterjee also received some criticism for social media posts mocking pipeline activists that disrupted a FERC meeting, particularly actor James Cromwell.

"Come at me bro!" Chatterjee wrote on Facebook in response to a post from Cromwell.

In recent months, however, Chatterjee has stayed away from controversy, instead focusing on pipeline cybersecurity and energy storage, two emerging areas of FERC concentration.

Chatterjee also said in July that he believes humans are causing climate change, though he has refrained from factoring greenhouse gas emissions into FERC decisions to the degree of his Democratic colleagues.

Chatterjee will take the reins at FERC amid concerns in the power sector that the commission — typically a nonpartisan policymaking body — is falling under the political influence of the Trump administration.

The concern centers on a figure he brought to the commission — Chief of Staff Anthony Pugliese.

The controversy began in July when Pugliese appeared on a podcast run by the right-wing media outlet Breitbart, denouncing New York Democrats for opposition to pipeline infrastructure in a manner unusual for FERC staffers.

Then, at a nuclear energy conference in August, Pugliese told the audience that FERC was working to identify power plants critical for national security — the first step in a leaked White House memo from the spring detailing bailout plans for coal and nuclear plants.

The power sector widely took the comments as an indication that FERC was working with the White House on the plan. Leading Congressional Democrats wrote a letter to FERC saying the comments "call into question the impartiality and independence of the Commission."

McIntyre defended Pugliese in the press, but the controversy deepened the next month when E&E News published emails from the chief of staff lauding far-right European politicians. A former Republican FERC staffer called for the chief of staff to step down.

Chatterjee appointed Pugliese to FERC during his time as acting chair but has repeatedly refused to answer questions about the controversy since it emerged this summer.

Besides political concerns, the new chairman will have a full slate of issues to address.

FERC is in the middle of a high-profile investigation into grid resilience it ordered when it rejected the DOE bailout plan in January. It also has pending dockets to reform the capacity markets in PJM and ISO-NE, as well as ongoing reviews of its natural gas pipeline policy and its implementation of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, a key renewable energy law.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial full article at: https://www.utilitydive.com/news/trump-names-chatterjee-ferc-chair/540532/

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120 Hits
Oct
29

Haunted Encounters of the Electrical Kind

Halloween is right around the corner, so as our treat to you, we've unearthed 10 scary stories based on allegedly true events and involving — what else? — electricity. 
Read on if you dare!

 P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial full article at: https://www.ecmweb.com/accidents-investigations/haunted-encounters-electrical-kind?NL=ECM-06&Issue=ECM-06_20181023_ECM-06_635&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_1_b&utm_rid=CPG04000000918978&utm_campaign=22813&utm_medium=email&elq2=bb960727bb8644d7af0737f18ed19b30

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116 Hits
Oct
23

Battery Storage Becoming the Norm for Utilities

Even as recently as two years ago, utility-scale lithium-ion batteries were considered cutting edge technology, and just a few forward-thinking utilities were experimenting with the concept. These days, though, it seems there are few utilities that are not building, or at least not considering, the technology.

In some cases, batteries are being linked with solar generation (called solar+battery). In other cases, the batteries are part of microgrids, which can include solar and other sources of generation. Microgrids appeal to utilities for remote-location generation/storage, reducing or even eliminating the need for transmission or distribution wired systems through rough, isolated terrain. And in still other cases, battery projects are being designed and built as a way to store surplus generation from traditional baseload generation (such as coal) and make it available later when customer demand increases.

Last week, for example, Duke Energy announced plans to spend $500 million on battery storage over the next 15 years, increasing its current storage capacity 20-fold. Current projects include a 9-megawatt (MW) battery project in Rock Hill, N.C., and a 4-MW battery project (part of a solar-powered microgrid) in Hot Springs, N.C.

Up north, New York Power Authority (NYPA), which to date has never been involved in battery storage, just announced plans for a 20 MW battery project in the northern part of the state, largely because current transmission constraints in the utility's service territory often prevent energy from being delivered downstate.

"Storing renewable energy, by using a battery to absorb excess generation for later delivery through projects like this one, is a viable solution to this transmission constraint," states the NYPA press release.

NYPA also believes the project will help to kick-start energy storage adoption throughout the state, supporting Gov. Cuomo's Energy Storage Roadmap, a plan designed to achieve massive energy storage targets in the state, including construction of 1,500 MW of energy storage by 2025.

"The North Country Energy Storage Project will be a first-of-its-kind for the Power Authority," said Gil Quiniones, president and CEO of NYPA. "Developing, operating and optimizing a lithium-ion battery system of this size will help us advance energy storage development efforts at the Power Authority, as well as position us to lead storage adoption across the state."

Out west, Hawaiian Electric Cos. (Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, and Hawaii Electric Light) just announced seven solar+storage projects on three islands, representing the largest infusion of renewable energy in the state's history. The seven solar projects, totaling 255 MW, will be connected to battery storage systems that will be able to capture up to four hours of electricity for later use. 

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial full article at: https://www.ecmag.com/section/your-business/battery-storage-becoming-norm-utilities

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149 Hits
Oct
15

Omaha's first snowfall of the season causes slick roads, over 50,000 power outages

Kids played board games by flashlight, folks threw extra logs into the fireplace and at least one couple camped out in the driveway in their heated RV.

The wet, heavy snow that blew through eastern Nebraska on Sunday left thousands without power, yet people remained connected as they shared images via Facebook of their return to what some jokingly described as "pioneer days."

For others, especially the elderly and ill, the loss of power created anxiety and worry as people tried to sort out what to eat and how to stay warm overnight.

At the peak of the storm Sunday afternoon, the Omaha Public Power District reported 57,000 outages, according to spokeswoman Jodi Baker. About 10 p.m., that number remained at 27,000, according to the utility's website.

By 7:45 a.m. Monday, the utility was reporting 4,900 without power, most of those in Douglas County. Virtually all — perhaps 99 percent — should have power restored by midnight Monday, Baker said.

OPPD called in nearly 100 personnel to help with repairs. Additionally, the Nebraska Public Power District sent in crews to assist OPPD with power restoration, said Mark Becker, NPPD spokesman.

Eight school buildings in the Westside Community Schools district remained without power on Sunday night, and were at risk of not holding classes on Monday. The district said it would announce by 6 a.m. Monday if any school buildings were canceling classes.

The outage forced some grocery stores to scramble to save what refrigerated and frozen foods they could.

The Hy-Vee at 5150 Center St. had a generator kick in after losing electricity about 1 p.m., but the generator wasn't enough to power all of its freezers and refrigerators, a manager there said Sunday night.

Workers spent the early afternoon moving food to powered backup storage units on trucks, and what didn't fit had to be thrown out, the manager said.

Electricity was restored there about 8 p.m., he said. He expected the store to be restocked Monday.

The storm set daily records for snowfall, said Scott Dergan, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Omaha officially recorded 1.5 inches of snow, though some areas saw about 3 inches. Lincoln's official total was 3.5 inches. Before Sunday, Lincoln had never recorded snow on Oct. 14, and Omaha had seen only a trace on that date, Dergan said. Weather records date to the late 1800s.

It wasn't either city's earliest snow, he noted. Omaha's earliest snow was Sept. 29, 1985, when three-tenths of an inch fell.


The cold front that accompanied the storm was expected to usher in the season's first killing freeze, with lows forecast to drop into the upper 20s overnight. Delicate plants and flowers will disappear from the landscape, and the freeze may be enough to ease the misery of allergy sufferers.

A much nicer week is in store: Sunshine and highs in the 40s and 50s.

On Sunday, the sight of sagging trees, weighted down by the snow, and the random sounds of cracking of branches brought back memories of the Oct. 24-26, 1997, snowstorm that devastated trees in eastern Nebraska. In that storm, 13 inches of wet, heavy snow fell over two days, littering the ground with fallen trees, broken limbs and downed power poles and wires. At the peak of the 1997 storm, upward of 130,000 homes and businesses and about 300,000 people were without power — many for up to two weeks.

With that storm on their minds, a number of people headed outdoors Sunday to brush snow from their trees.

Omahan Vince Shay was among those. The sunset maple in front of his Dundee/Elmwood Park home still bears the scars from 1997.

"If you don't like interesting weather, you shouldn't live in Nebraska," Shay mused.

A block or two east, neurosurgeon Steve Doran took a chainsaw to a fallen maple branch.

"Not a good combination," he quipped as he cleared the branch from the driveway.

Sunday's storm brought the most outages OPPD has seen since June 2017, when storms bearing powerful straight-line winds and tornadoes caused 76,000 outages.

Other hazards from Sunday's storm included power lines starting fires after contacting trees in several locations, and tree limbs blocking roadways.

Many traffic lights were not working. By early afternoon, there had been enough fender-benders on snow-slickened streets that the Omaha Police Department stopped responding to minor property damage collisions.

The Nebraska State Patrol reported that it assisted more than 100 drivers on the state's roadways Sunday and responded to dozens of crashes.

Sunday's snow also caused cancellation of events and early closings. The "Support the Girls" breast cancer awareness event in Elkhorn was postponed to Saturday. Vala's Pumpkin Patch closed about 2 p.m. due to safety concerns.

"We were having some branches falling, and it was just unsafe to have people on the farm," Jan Vala said. "People were here having fun, but safety comes first."

The Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium announced that its "Spooktacular" was canceled. Guests who pre-purchased tickets for the event will be contacted by the zoo's marketing department.

The storm blanketed much of the state. In northwest Nebraska, 5 to 7 inches of snow was reported. The 3 inches that fell in Valentine was enough to set a daily record there, according to the weather service. The previous record had been a trace of snow.

Bitterly cold weather was forecast across much of western Nebraska, and the weather service warned that wind chills could drop below zero in some parts of the state by Monday morning.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial full article at: https://www.omaha.com/news/metro/omaha-s-first-snowfall-of-the-season-causes-slick-roads/article_e04e6ad3-d38c-582f-a70f-e2d7c0dd737b.html

A field of soybeans, nearly ready for harvest, are blanketed in wet snow in Sarpy County, NE.
A man helps clean up a large branch blocking part of a street in Papillion, NE
Maple leaves droop under the weight of snow clinging to them in a Papillion, NE neighborhood Sunday - October 14
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237 Hits
Oct
10

Don't miss Schneider Electric's Design Engineer Seminar

This is the last opportunity of 2018 to see the constantly evolving Schneider Electric Technology Center in St. Louis!

Join the Schneider team for an interactive and hands on education session. This includes lab time and break out of electrical and mechanical sessions, the latest in critical power and cooling trends, industrial applications, prefabricated data centers, and helpful design tools that will keep you on the cutting edge of the latest technologies.

8 PDH credits given at each complimentary seminar.


P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

For more educational opportunities, please visit P3's Power Quality University menu tab.

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240 Hits
Aug
13

Important FAQ about Arc Flash protection Clothing

What you need to know:

What does 8 cal mean when people say, ‘8 cal shirt or garment’?

This term is really an abbreviation of, or slang for, 8 calories/cm², which are the units of measurement of an arc rating. If someone is saying they need an “8 cal” flame resistant (FR) fabric or garment, what they might really be saying they need is an arc rating of at least 8 calories/cm² or greater to meet a personal protective equipment (PPE) Category 2 requirement as defined by standard NFPA 70E. However, the PPE Category 2 level of protection only starts at 8 calories/cm² and goes up to 25 calories/cm², or PPE Category 3. Obviously, the difference in protection at 8 and 24 calories/cm² is significant, so it’s important to conduct your risk assessment prior to specifying a protection level and to understand that PPE Category 2 is a broad statement.

Is it ok to use fabric softener on FR clothing?

The laundering instructions for all FR and arc rated fabrics prohibit use of fabric softeners because most softeners are flammable and will accrete (build up) on the garment over time. The fabric is still FR, but now a flammable contaminant has been added to the surface and can be ignited by a flash fire or arc flash.

Can you use bug repellent with FR clothing?

When applying insect repellents to garments, a waterborne, permethrin-based insect repellent has been shown in testing to not have an adverse effect on flame resistance. However, it is not recommended to use DEET or DEET-containing insect repellents on any FR fabrics. DEET and DEET-containing insect repellents can be flammable, and therefore, have an adverse effect on the flame resistance of FR garments. It is important to note that DEET and DEET-containing insect repellents do not remove or destroy the flame resistance of fabrics, but they mask it. Once the garment is laundered and the DEET and DEET-containing insect repellents are removed, the flame resistance is still intact.

Is it possible to buy one uniform that protects against both arc flash and flash fire?

Yes, there are fabrics that protect against multiple hazards. However, it’s important to remember that not every fabric does. As you’re putting together your FR clothing program, make sure you discuss your hazards with your supplier and you know the FR fabric brand used to make your garments.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial full article at: https://ecmweb.tradepub.com

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589 Hits
Aug
01

Hot Topics: Arc Ratings, NFPA 70E, & More

Is it ok to use fabric softener on FR clothing? Is it possible to buy a uniform that protects against both arc flash and fire? What does 8 cal mean when people say, ‘8 cal shirt or garment’?

In our all-new FAQS, industry technical experts address the questions surrounding the hottest topics of 2018: NFPA 70E, Arc Ratings, and FR.

Download Now>

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  392 Hits
392 Hits
Aug
01

Arc Flash Accidents

Take the time to read through these Forensic Casebook ar­ticles to help enhance practical safety les­sons for your own employees, using these case studies as a training resource for “what not to do.”

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  377 Hits
377 Hits
Aug
01

Safer by Design: Arc Energy Reduction Techniques

There are inherent risks associated with working with energized electrical equipment. Even inspecting electrical equipment can expose employees to shock and other risks.

To enhance safety, work on electrical systems should be performed when those systems are de-energized.

Additionally, Zone Selective Interlock (ZSI) technology protects equipment by intelligently selecting faster trip times in coordinated systems, an advantage which can keep operators safe and productive. Learn more by reading this whitepaper.

Download Now >

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  419 Hits
419 Hits
Jul
12

Eaton Issues Recall for Heavy Duty 30A and 60A Safety Switches

Eaton Heavy Duty Safety Switch Recall 0

Safety switches can potentially supply power when the handle is in the “off” position

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power management company Eaton has issued a product safety bulletin for certain Eaton Heavy Duty 30A and 60A Safety Switches intended for use in heavy commercial, utility, and industrial applications.

The safety switches referenced in the bulletin can potentially supply power when the handle is in the “off” position, subjecting the operator of the switch or any downstream equipment to risk of serious bodily injury or death. The company is not aware of any injuries at this time resulting from this issue,

The safety switches affected by the potential nonconformance were manufactured between Nov. 19, 2015, and Jan. 23, 2018, and primarily sold in the United States and Canada.

For more information related to the recall, visit www.eaton.com/hdss-advisorybulletin, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call Eaton’s Technical Resource Center at 1-877-ETN-CARE.

 

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial full article at: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/global-surge-protection-devices-spd-market-analysis-by-technological-advancement-regional-outlook-and-forecast-to-2026-2018-07-07

 

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680 Hits
Jul
09

Global Surge Protection Devices (SPD) Market Analysis By Technological Advancement, Regional Outlook And Forecast to 2026

The new research from MarketResearch.Biz on Global Surge Protection Devices (SPD) Market Report for 2018 destined to provide target audience with the latest information on Surge Protection Devices market with the help of refined data and opinions from Surge Protection Devices industry experts. The information included in the Surge Protection Devices research report is well-organized and a report is assembled by industry professionals and experts in the Surge Protection Devices field to make sure the quality of research.

The Surge Protection Devices analysis is backed by intensive and detailed secondary research that involves respect to numerous applied Surge Protection Devices static databases, national government documentation, pertinent patent and Surge Protection Devices administrative databases, latest news articles, Surge Protection Devices press releases, company yearly reports, financial reports, and range of internal and external Surge Protection Devices proprietary databases. This evaluated information is cross-checked with Surge Protection Devices business consultants from numerous leading firms within the Surge Protection Devices market. When the complete authentication method is done, the Surge Protection Devices reports are shared with Surge Protection Devices industry professionals for adding additional data and values and to earn their perceptive opinion on the Surge Protection Devices analysis. With such sturdy method of information extraction, Surge Protection Devices verification, and closing, we have a tendency to firmly endorse the standard of our Surge Protection Devices analysis. With such intensive and detailed analysis and thorough coverage of Surge Protection Devices data, it’s always a probability of clients finding their desired Surge Protection Devices (data within the report with an enclosure of key elements and valuable statistics in all consideration.

Get Free Sample Copy Of Report @ https://marketresearch.biz/report/surge-protection-devices-spd-market/request-sample

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See the origial full article at: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/global-surge-protection-devices-spd-market-analysis-by-technological-advancement-regional-outlook-and-forecast-to-2026-2018-07-07

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519 Hits
Jul
02

Understanding the IEEE Standard 1547 Revision

In February 2018, IEEE 1547-2018 was approved. This new standard has a significant impact on the design and deployment of all DER systems, removes limitations from the original standard, and adds requirements for “smart inverters.” Are you prepared for these changes?

The IEEE Standard 1547 was created to establish a technical standard for interconnecting distributed energy resources (DER) with electrical power systems (EPSs). As technology became more sophisticated, the grid started experiencing increased levels of penetration. In order to maintain bulk system reliability long-term, 1547 was revised to establish new DER requirements.

The new revision, IEEE 1547-2018, is changing the testing standards for critical power-generation systems to create harmonized interconnection requirements and offer flexibility in performance requirements.

ComRent’s latest white paper Understanding the IEEE Standard 1547 Revision explains the changes implemented by the new standard and what you need to know to stay compliant.

Read or download the white paper here>

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial full article at: http://www.ecmweb.com/whitepapers/understanding-ieee-standard-1547-revision

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540 Hits
Jun
25

Microsoft: Don't Use Surge Protectors With Xbox One X, One S

Typically, when you hook up something as valuable as an Xbox One X you want to surge protect it. But Microsoft tells owners not to.

If you go out and purchase expensive electronic devices that require a power outlet to function, another key purchase is surge protection. This usually comes in the form of a power strip with surge protection built-in or a single outlet protector. They bring piece of mind and protect your gadgets. However, Microsoft does not want you to use one with the Xbox One X or One S.

That may sound crazy, but Microsoft does have a legitimate reason why and only itself to blame for not making it clearer to new Xbox One X ($483.00 at Amazon) or One S owners. It turns out both consoles have a built-in surge protector so they are protected without need of a separate device. If you decide to use one anyway, chances are your Xbox won't even turn on.
As Microsoft's Xbox support page explains, if you plug either Xbox One into a surge protected outlet, the console is not capable of reaching the full power draw it needs for "optimal performance." To the user, that presents as a broken Xbox, but it's really just the use of two surge protectors causing the problem.

This may be a more difficult fix than it first seems. If your entire setup is running off surge protected power strips it means buying a new unprotected cable, installing that, and hooking your Xbox up to it. That's an extra cost and some painful cable management depending on how many devices you have sat under your TV.

If you have already tried powering up your Xbox and nothing happened because of this double surge protection problem, your console may need a power reset. That's easy to do, simply unplug the console power cord, remove the external surge protection, wait 10 seconds, then plug the Xbox back in and press the Xbox button. The console should boot as normal.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial full article at: https://www.pcmag.com/news/357504/microsoft-dont-use-surge-protectors-with-xbox-one-x-one-s

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  561 Hits
561 Hits
Jun
18

10 Things about Arc Flash Safety

10 Arc Falsh

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial full article at: http://www.eaton.com/FTC/buildings/KnowledgeCenter/10Thingsaboutarcflashsafety/index.htm?utm_campaign=FTC_Buildings&utm_medium=Email_TDP&utm_source=TDP_Buildings_5&utm_content=Primary_10_Things_To_Know_About_Arc_Flash_Safety_Infographic&elqTrackId=f562e77a029f4812bb1c3c5f59e1d548&elq=ea3a6ffb6fd6464f8d3e54a2b38b79b2&elqaid=16940&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=8267

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877 Hits
Jun
11

Proposed NFPA Standards for Electrical Inspections In the Works

Electrical Inspector GettyImages 177311145 1024

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has two new standards in the works related to electrical inspections and the inspectors who perform them.

The NFPA Technical Committee on Electrical Inspections began work on the proposed standards a year and a half ago. NFPA 78: Guide on Electrical Inspections, and NFPA 1078: Standard for Electrical Inspector Professional Qualifications, both received public input through mid-February this year, and the technical committee is working now on finalizing the first draft of the standards, according to Jeff Sargent, Regional Electrical Code Specialist at NFPA, in a live seminar this afternoon.

The first drafts of the two proposed standards will be released Aug. 22, 2018. If there are no amendments the committee expects to have the final standard by August 2019. If there are certified amendments, the standards will go through a second draft process and be released in August 2020, Sargent said.

He added that the Technical Committee on Electrical Inspections is still looking for more committee members.

NFPA members can find more information, including applications to join the committee, at the NFPA site:

NFPA 78: Guide on Electrical Inspections

NFPA 1078: Standard for Electrical Inspector Professional Qualifications

 

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the origial full article at: http://www.ecmweb.com/national-electrical-code/proposed-nfpa-standards-electrical-inspections-works?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ECMMostRecent+%28Electrical+Construction+%26+Maintenance%29&sfvc4enews=42&Issue=ECM-01_20180607_ECM-01_472&cl=article_1_b&NL=ECM-01

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579 Hits
Jun
04

The 10 Biggest Grounding Mistakes to Avoid

There’s more to proper grounding and bonding than meets the eye. When tackling this type of work, the end goal is obviously to prevent unwanted voltage on non-current-carrying metal objects and facilitate the correct operation of overcurrent devices. But that doesn’t mean wiring everything to a ground rod and calling it a day. In order to provide safe installations to the public, there are certain subtleties you must follow in order to meet applicable NEC rules.

Proper grounding and bonding prevent unwanted voltage on non-current-carrying metal objects, such as tool and appliance casings, raceways, and enclosures, as well as facilitate the correct operation of overcurrent devices. But beware of wiring everything to a ground rod and considering the job well done. There are certain subtleties you must follow to adhere to applicable NEC rules and provide safe installations to the public and working personnel. Although ground theory is a vast subject, on which whole volumes have been written, let's take a look at some of the most common grounding errors you may run into on a daily basis.

1Photo4

Failure to Install a Second Ground Rod Where Required

A single ground rod that does not have a resistance to ground of 25 ohms or less must be augmented by a second ground rod. Once the second ground rod is installed, it's not necessary for the two to meet the resistance requirement. As a practical matter, few electricians do the resistance measurement and simply drive a second ground rod. If you install a second rod you must locate it at least 6 feet away from the first rod. Greater distance is even better. If both rods and the bare ground electrode conductor connecting them are directly under the drip line of the roof, ground resistance will be further diminished. This is because the soil along this line is more moist. Ground resistance greatly increases when soil becomes dry.

2GroundingMistakesGroundingSatellite


Installation of a Satellite Dish Without Proper Grounding

If you look at all of the satellite dish installations out there, you’ll inevitably find many that are not grounded. Of those that are, there is still a good chance that the installation is not fully compliant. Common mistakes installers should avoid include making the grounding electrode conductor too long or too short, using unlisted clamps at terminations, having excess bends, or connecting to a single ground rod but not bonding to other system grounds. The grounding means for a satellite dish must be located at the point of entrance to the building. In this particular installation, the grounding conductor is integral with the coax from the dish, but the installer did not bond it to other system grounds.

3Photo1

Improperly Connecting the Equipment-Grounding Conductor to the System Neutral

The grounded conductor (white) and the grounding conductor (bare or green) should not be connected together except by the main bonding jumper in the service equipment. You must connect a grounded neutral conductor to normally noncurrent-carrying metal parts of equipment, raceways, and enclosures only through the main bonding jumper (or, in the case of a separately derived system, through a system bonding jumper). Make this connection at the service disconnecting means, not downstream. It's a major error to install a main bonding jumper in a box used as a subpanel fed by a 4-wire feeder. It's also wrong not to install it when the panel is used as service equipment.

4Photo3


Failure to Properly Attach the Ground Wire to Electrical Devices

Wiring daisy-chained devices in such a way that removing one of them breaks the equipment grounding continuity is a common problem among electricians. The preferred way to ground a wiring device is to connect incoming and outgoing equipment-grounding conductors to a short bare or green jumper. The bare or green insulated jumper is then connected to the grounding terminal of the device.

5GroundingMistakesLocknut


Failure to Properly Attach the Ground Wire to Electrical Devices

Wiring daisy-chained devices in such a way that removing one of them breaks the equipment grounding continuity is a common problem among electricians. The preferred way to ground a wiring device is to connect incoming and outgoing equipment-grounding conductors to a short bare or green jumper. The bare or green insulated jumper is then connected to the grounding terminal of the device.

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Improperly Grounding Frames of Electric Ranges and Clothes Dryers

This image shows two NEC-compliant 4-wire receptacles and an obsolete 3-wire receptacle in the middle. Before the 1996 version of the NEC, it was common practice to use the neutral as an equipment ground. Now, however, you must ground all frames of electric ranges, wall-mounted ovens, counter-mounted cooking units, clothes dryers, and outlet or junction boxes that are part of these circuits by a fourth wire — the equipment-grounding conductor. An exception permits retention of the pre-1996 arrangement for existing branch circuit installations only where an equipment-grounding conductor is not present. If possible, the best course of action is to run a new 4-wire branch circuit from the panel. If you must keep an old appliance, be sure to remove the neutral to frame bonding jumper if an equipment-grounding conductor is to be connected.

7Submersible pump 30 07 2012

Failure to Ground Submersible Well Pumps

Once upon a time, submersible well pumps were not required to be grounded because they were not considered “accessible.” Over the years, however, people started pulling the pump out, laying it on the ground, and energizing it to see if it would spin. As a result, if the case became live (due to a wiring fault), the overcurrent device would not function, causing a shock hazard. Per the 2008 NEC, a fourth equipment-grounding conductor is required that you must now lug to the top of the well casing. Although many electricians assume that one wire is a “ground” in a 3-wire submersible pump system, in actuality, submersible pump cable consists of three wires (plus equipment-grounding conductor) twisted together and unjacketed. Yellow is a common 240V leg, black is run, and red is start, which the control box energizes for a short period of time. Prior to the new grounding requirement, everything was hot.

7GroundingMistakesNon GroundingReceptacle

Here is a non-grounding type receptacle typically found in older homes. The NEC doesn’t say you have to immediately replace all noncompliant equipment with each new edition of the Code. Although it’s acceptable to leave the old “two prongers” in place — because an intact functioning equipment ground is such an obvious safety feature — most electricians tend to replace them. When you find yourself working with non-grounded receptacles, your best course of action is to run a new branch circuit back to the panel, verifying presence of a valid ground. Another possibility is to replace the two-prong receptacle with a GFCI. If replacement is necessary — and acquiring a ground is not feasible — you can also install a new non-grounding receptacle.

9GroundingMistakesWaterPipeClamp

Failure to Bond Equipment Ground to Water Pipe

How many times have you seen an improper connection like this in the field? Here someone used a water pipe clamp to improperly connect a ground wire to this ground rod. Screw clamps and other improvised connections do not provide permanent low impedance bonding. The worst method would be to just wrap the wire around the pipe or to omit this bonding altogether. In a dwelling unit, a conductor must be run to metallic water pipe, if present, and connected with a UL-listed pipe grounding clamp. This bonding conductor is to be sized according to Table 250.66 of the NEC, based on the size of the largest ungrounded service entrance conductor or equivalent area for parallel conductors.

GFCI Outlet1

Not Installing GFCIs Where Required

With the passage of each new Code cycle comes the increased use of GFCIs in more applications. As an electrician, make sure you know when and where these devices are mandatory. In dwelling units, for example, the 2008 NEC notes that GFCIs are required on all 125V, single-phase, 15A and 20A receptacles in: bathrooms; garages; accessory buildings with a floor at or below grade level not intended as a habitable room, limited to storage, work and similar areas; outdoors; kitchens along countertops; within 6 feet of outside edge of laundry, utility, and wet bar sinks; and boathouses. In other than dwelling units, GFCIs are required on all 125V, single-phase, 15A and 20A receptacles in bathrooms, kitchens, rooftops, outdoors, and within 6 feet of the outside edge of sinks.

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May
21

The Evolution of Electrical Safety and NFPA 70E

Examining significant changes in the 2018 edition of the standard

It’s that time of year again — when the days start to get a little bit longer and for those of us up north, a little warmer, too. It is also that magical time every three years when we get to celebrate the latest revision of NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, hitting the bookshelves and digital marketplaces in its various forms.

The 2018 edition of NFPA 70E seems to be everywhere you turn in the electrical industry as companies dive in and get to work on updating safety programs to the newly revised requirements. The good news is that safety directors need not panic, as there were few changes that substantially shift the concept of safe work practices around electrical equipment. Many of the revisions in this cycle were aimed more at a continued effort made over the course of the last few cycles. For instance, there’s the hierarchy of risk control methods, an increased emphasis on preventive maintenance for personnel safety, and Art. 120, which was entirely rearranged to follow a more logical progression for establishing an electrically safe work condition.

Many of the more significant changes, though, have happened within Art. 130: the idea of risk assessment and the importance of accurately assessing what hazards to employee health exist when performing tasks in the field; old tables are gone, and new tables with increased usability for the NFPA 70E user have surfaced; and material that lived within the Annex is now incorporated within the document. Let’s break these revisions down, and look at the potential impact they will have on how electrical professionals approach electrical safety.

The hierarchy of risk control methods

The concept of a hierarchy of risk control methods is by no means new. It has been a concept within OSHA and was also in an informational note in previous editions of NFPA 70E, which has provided guidance on how employees are protected from hazards in the workplace. However, for the 2018 cycle, a section was added within Art. 110 for the risk assessment procedure to require preventive and protective measures to be implemented in accordance with the following hierarchy:

  1. Elimination
  2. Substitution
  3. Engineering Controls
  4. Awareness
  5. Administrative Controls
  6. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

This requirement comes in the form of Sec. 110.3(H)(3). Again, this is not a new concept, but is new to the requirements of NFPA 70E. The addition of this hierarchy mirrors a shift in the attitude toward electrical safety. For years, electrical contractors across the country have been adopting a “No Live Work” policy. As nice as it might be to dream of a world where there is never energized work being performed, the reality is at times there simply is no other option. Imagine trying to troubleshoot a roof top HVAC unit without being able to check voltage and current levels. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to say the least.

So, what does this mean for risk assessment procedures going forward? Simply put, it means that all other possibilities must be exhausted prior to an employee being exposed to a hazard. In other words, dressing up in an arc flash suit is the absolute last resort for protecting employees from arc flash hazards. This should come as refreshing news, since the tests that arc-rated PPE must pass allow for a 50% probability that the clothing will allow enough thermal energy to pass through and cause a second-degree burn.

The purpose of NFPA 70E is to provide a practical safe working area for employees relative to hazards arising from the use of electricity. With this in mind, it helps to simplify the process of risk assessment and follow the hierarchy of risk control methods. The priority is to de-energize equipment. This eliminates the need to expose employees to electrical hazards because the hazard is no longer present. It should be noted, too, that during the process of establishing an electrically safe work condition, one of the steps includes verifying the absence of voltage; the hazard cannot be considered eliminated until after it has been proven that voltage has been removed and operation of the test instrument has been confirmed. This might mean that an employee would need to dress in appropriate PPE to perform this test because until it has been verified that the hazard is gone, it must be assumed that one still exists. However, even this process has seen new and innovative technology emerge and aims at protecting employees from ever having to be exposed to an assumed potential hazard. Permanently mounted absence of voltage testers are emerging to assist employees in verifying the hazard has been removed, without being exposed to a hazard during the verification process.

The Risk Assessment Procedure might also lead what was previously thought to be “justified” energized work to become unjustified during the planning process. For example, as a matter of preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, often it is necessary to develop an alternative plan just in case an unforeseen and catastrophic event occurs. Think about this for a moment: How would we care for patients in the ICU wing of a hospital if energized work were to cause an unexpected shut down of the system? If a back-up plan can be determined for when the system has an unplanned shutdown, it makes sense to implement this plan first and never expose employees to the hazard. This hierarchy now requires that elimination of the hazard to be the priority, and your well-crafted back-up plan just became the first step in ensuring safe work practices.

Re-organization of Art. 120

Previous editions of NFPA 70E had all the right pieces for establishing an electrically safe work condition, but it needed a little tweaking for all the requirements to fall into the right order. The technical changes within Art. 120 are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, with the exception of permission to use the aforementioned permanently mounted test device for verification of absence of voltage. However, by re-arranging the order in which tasks are listed in Art. 120, the process for establishing an electrically safe work condition is easier to implement.

Previously, the Article started out with the section on verification of an electrically safe work condition. This was leading to some confusion as users of NFPA 70E were jumping around Art. 120 to find the different requirements they needed (as they were following the steps outlined in Sec. 120.1). With the new arrangement, however, Art. 120 is reorganized to increase usability and to provide a more logical flow with the following section layout:

• Section 120.1 (Lockout/Tagout Program)

• Section 120.2 (Lockout/Tagout Principles)

• Section 120.3 (Lockout/Tagout Equipment)

• Section 120.4 (Lockout/Tagout Procedures)

• Section 120.5 (Achieving an Electrically Safe Work Condition)

Now all the requirements for each of these important topics can be found in one place. In addition to reorganizing the requirements that belong in Art. 120, certain requirements were removed and relocated to other sections of NFPA 70E as appropriate. For example, lockout/tagout training and auditing requirements were moved into Art. 110 under the appropriate sections that deal with training and auditing.

The continued evolution of risk assessment

Assessing the amount of risk of injury or damage to health that an employee will face during any given task can be a monumental undertaking; until only a few cycles ago, it was almost impossible. Then something amazing happened. The evolution of risk assessment, in my opinion, is the number one indicator that a fundamental shift in the safety culture of our industry is taking place. Only a few short years ago, certainly at times throughout my career, the attitude toward performing energized work was cavalier at best. I can remember as an apprentice being asked to perform work in switchgear that was energized. I had no PPE, no justification for performing energized work, and certainly no formal risk assessment procedure. The guidance from my journeyman was simply: “Don’t drop your wrench or touch any of the bus bars over here. This stuff is expensive, and takes a long time to get. And, oh yeah, it will hurt, A LOT!”

Fast forward to today, and the procedures in place would never have allowed a conversation like that to take place. However, only with a significant change in the way our industry views safety can we appropriately and accurately assess the risk associated with given tasks and take the necessary steps to minimize our exposure to hazards. The concept of risk assessment has forced employees and employers to be honest with themselves and with each other about what could happen if a wrench is dropped or
accidental contact is made with energized components. The days of such a “macho” attitude of invincibility have given way to more informed discussions about how bad it could be and whether it is worth the risk.

The latest evolution in the risk assessment arena is a major shift in the approach to minimizing the worker’s exposure to hazards. In earlier editions of the standard, the PPE Category method contained a table that specified whether arc flash PPE was required based upon a list of common tasks. However, with the addition of the hierarchy of risk control methods being included in the requirements, now the appropriate method to protect the worker might not be PPE. In fact, PPE must be the last resort for protection. In addition, there was nothing to specify whether additional measures were required to protect workers from equipment that had undergone an incident energy analysis; many users wanted to use a hybrid of the PPE Category “Yes/No” table and the values determined for incident energy — a practice that NFPA 70E specifically prohibited.

This confusion was discussed at length by the committee, and the result is a new Table 130.5(C). This table now applies to either method employed for arc-flash risk assessment. However, it should be noted that this table no longer tells the user whether arc flash PPE is required. Rather, this new table helps in determining if additional measures are needed to protect workers by specifying whether an arc flash is likely to occur for given tasks. This process works in parallel with the hierarchy of risk control methods as well, which is why the table no longer specifies a need for PPE. Per the hierarchy, PPE is only to be used after the other five methods have been exhausted.

One more important distinction about this table is that it does not end the risk assessment procedure. This table is only an estimate of the likelihood of an arc flash occurring, as opposed to the former table, which specified that for some tasks PPE was not required. The risk assessment procedure can still determine there is a need to take additional steps to protect employees, even though Table 130.5(C) lists the likelihood of an arc flash as a “No.”

Let’s look at the example of performing thermal imaging during a maintenance inspection. Per the table, the process of removing the equipment covers does pose an increased likelihood of causing an arc flash; however, once the covers are removed and the thermography is performed outside the restricted approach boundary, the likelihood of occurrence changes to “No.” But does that mean there is no situation where an arc flash could injure the thermographer?

Let’s consider a motor control center (MCC) with automatic control features. If the covers are off and the motor starters are being operated through automatic means, an arc flash hazard might still exist and must be accounted for in the protection of the worker performing the thermography. Unfortunately, there is no “easy” button when it comes to electrical safety, but being armed with knowledge of how the risk assessment procedure is intended to protect workers will go a long way in reducing loss and injury due to electrical incidents.

An increased emphasis on maintenance

The need for proper maintenance of electrical equipment is not a new idea. However, this is one of those areas where the equipment in question is often an “out of sight, out of mind” situation until it fails. There is even equipment where the common course of action is to “set it and forget it.” Equipment failure is the indication that it needs attention, like a light bulb. The maintenance issue continues to surface through risk assessment procedures; however, it is becoming an ever-increasing cog in the personnel safety wheel. If the safety of employees depends on proper operation of certain electrical components, how can it be known whether equipment will operate if there is no record of maintenance?

In the 2015 edition of NFPA 70E the concept of “Normal Operation of Equipment” was added to justified energized work. This included tasks such as operation of SWD/HID circuit breakers to turn on and off lights in a warehouse or jogging a motor starter in an MCC. Normal operation has very specific conditions that must be met for a normal operating condition to exist. The equipment must meet the requirements outlined in Sec. 130.2(A)(4), including the need to be properly installed and maintained. This thrusts maintenance firmly into the forefront when it comes to what is considered “Normal Operation” of equipment.

In addition to the normal operation requirement, the evolution of the risk assessment procedure is also pushing maintenance to the top of the priority list. After all, if all my assumptions and calculations are based on specific operating parameters of given equipment, it is very important that the equipment work as advertised. The only way to be certain that this will happen is to ensure that equipment has been properly maintained and the maintenance documented. Documentation is crucial to track the history and accurately assess what level of risk the future holds.

Honorable mentions

With so many things going on in the evolution of electrical safety, it becomes difficult to spend meaningful time discussing them all in one place. But there are a few additional changes worth noting:

• Two new steps in establishing an Electrically Safe Work Condition.

• Release stored electrical and mechanical energy.

• PPE conformity assessment

• Annex H PPE table incorporated into the requirements.

• Risk assessment must account for human error.

This is by no means meant to be a complete list of all the changes within the 2018 edition of NFPA 70E. By starting a conversation about some of the more important concepts in electrical safety, we can continue to support the shift in attitude of an entire industry segment. At the end of the day, we are all after the same thing. Everyone wants to go home in one piece. Evolving standard work practices take time and buy in from those affected. Only by spreading this message of a revised electrical safety culture can we ever hope to work in a field where nobody gets a ride in an ambulance due to taking an unjustified risk.

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May
14

What Is Electrical Grounding?

Electrical grounding or “Grounding” originally began as a safety measure used to help prevent people from accidentally coming in contact with electrical hazards. Think of your refrigerator. It is a metal box standing on rubber feet with electricity running in and out of it. You use magnets to hang your child’s latest drawing on the metal exterior. The electricity running from the outlet and through the power cord to the electrical components inside the refrigerator are electrically isolated from the metal exterior or chassis of the refrigerator.

If for some reason the electricity came in contact with the chassis, the rubber feet would prevent the electricity from going anywhere and it would sit waiting for someone to walk up and touch the refrigerator. Once someone touched the refrigerator the electricity would flow from the chassis of the refrigerator and through the unlucky person possibly causing injury.

Grounding is used to protect that person. By connecting a green ground wire from the metal frame of the refrigerator, if the chassis inadvertently becomes charged for any reason, the unwanted electricity will travel through the wire back to your electrical panel, and tripping the circuit-breaker stopping the flow of electricity. Additionally, that wire must be connected to something that is in turn connected to the earth or ground outside. Typically this connection is a grounding electrode, such as a ground rod.
Grounding and Earthing

A typical grounding electrode

The process of electrically connecting to the earth itself is often called “earthing”, particularly in Europe where the term “grounding” is used to describe the above-ground wiring. The term “Grounding” is used in America to discuss both below-grade earthing and above-grade grounding.

While electrical grounding may have originally been considered only as a safety measure, with today’s advances in electronics and technology, electrical grounding has become an essential part of everyday electricity. Computers, televisions, microwave ovens, fluorescent lights and many other electrical devices, generate lots of “electrical noise” that can damage equipment and cause it to work less efficiently. Proper grounding can not only remove this unwanted “noise”, but can even make surge protection devices work better.

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May
07

Best States for Energy

Energy Rankings: Measuring states' energy infrastructure

Energy represents one-third of the weight in ranking the Best States for infrastructure. This subcategory evaluates three major metrics: renewable energy usage, reliability of power grids and the average cost of electricity. Metrics were evaluated using the most recent data from the Department of Energy. Most of the energy consumed in the U.S. comes from fossil fuels, including petroleum, coal and natural gas, while about 10 percent of energy consumption comes from renewable sources. In 2016, 29 percent of all energy usage was in transportation, while 6 percent came from the residential sector and just 4 percent from the commercial category, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Oregon, which ranks No. 1 in energy, comes in third for infrastructure. Five of the top 10 states for energy also rank in the top 10 Best States overall: Iowa, Minnesota, Washington, Nebraska and North Dakota. And West Virginia, which is the worst state for energy, is also one of the poorest-performing states overall, coming in at No. 47. Montana, however, falls in the bottom half of states for infrastructure despite being top 10 states for energy.

Best States for Energy

Energy Rank State Electricity Price Power Grid Reliability Renewable Energy Usage
#1 Oregon 13 17 1
#2 Washington 2 25 2
#3 South Dakota 28 6 4
#4 Nebraska 17 1 10
#5 Iowa 10 15 6
#6 North Dakota 15 3 11
#7 Montana 14 30 5
#8 Nevada 7 5 15
#9 Arizona 34 2 21
#10 Minnesota 32 14 12

Power Grid Reliability

The Department of Energy measures the number of minutes of power outages each customer experiences on average every year. Excluding major events, customers in both Nebraska and Arizona experienced less than an hour of power outages in 2016. With 439 minutes – or more than seven hours – of hours of power outages in 2016, West Virginia was the No. 50 state in reliability of power grids, far exceeding No. 49 Maine's nearly four and a half hours, or 264 minutes. The Southeast had the greatest power disturbance by far, with an average of more than two hours per customer, while the average for the Great Plains region was only 86 minutes.

Best States for Power Grid Reliability

 

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