Sep
24

Changes to the 2020 National Electrical Code

 The 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC) offers numerous changes that affect residential electrical installations. Get a review and analysis of key changes for dwellings in this Schneider Electric eBook. 


From four new and revised residential installation definitions to expanded GFCI protection for countertops and work surfaces, delve deeper into:
• Changing definitions
• Branch circuit requirements
• Updates for service equipment
• Wiring and equipment calculations

This resource also includes tips to help you boost your NEC expertise.

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74 Hits
Sep
17

Global Alliances Virtual Tour & Innovation Talk

Don't miss this Innovation Talk


Join Schneider Electric for a virtual tour of their edge data center solutions with the Alliance Partners. This session will feature demos of the latest Dell, HPE, and Cisco solutions for the edge computing solutions from the Innovation Executive Briefing Center.

Learn more >

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93 Hits
Sep
14

Eaton's New Pow-R-Line Xpert series: easier system integration through advanced metering.

Installing power distribution equipment is complex. With so many components to install, even "straightforward jobs" can get complicated. Eaton's made guarding the grid a lot less hassle. The new Pow-R-Line Xpert family of panelboards and switchboards simplifies installation through fully integrated advanced metering capabilities. That means less connecting of loose components and less time spent on each job.

Plus, the Pow-R-Line Xpert family does even more to help your customers monitor system health. With Eaton's advanced proprietary diagnostic algorithms, customers can discover anomalies, overloads and end-of-life breaker conditions before system shutdown. These predictive capabilities are a great service value-add and may help you increase service-call revenues. 

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73 Hits
Sep
08

NEC 2020 load calculation changes can make budgets more efficient and increase safety

Members of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently concluded discussions on updating Article 220.12 of the NEC (National Electrical Code) to align with a series of energy codes and to account for higher-efficiency lighting solutions in commercial and healthcare buildings.

Because many of today's lighting solutions are increasingly energy efficient, lower current demands exist for power systems. These efficiencies necessitate extensive revisions to the calculation table used to determine volt-amperes (VA) per square foot. Many commercial structures today are built to specific energy code editions or a standard established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). NEC 2020 updates now align the NEC with these energy codes, allowing for easier, more consistent installation in the field.

Not only do changes to Article 220.12 streamline industry codes and standards language, they also help design engineers create load calculations that recognize more efficient lighting loads. This, in my opinion, may result in lower infrastructure costs and help fund enhanced safety solutions.

Article 220.12's new load calculations do more to help designers get it right the first time.
Thomas Domitrovich, vice president, technical sales

The 2020 change

Changes were made for healthcare and commercial buildings. In healthcare, the NEC's Code-making Panel 2 (CMP2) removed demand factors from the lighting load calculation. Hospitals are drastically different from the large facilities that were common 40 years ago. Today, the healthcare industry looks to smaller surgical and outpatient facilities, which require a different approach to lighting load calculations. In addition, CMP2 lacked the data from ASHRAE and other organizations needed to validate regulations reducing hospital lighting to 32 percent. Without the data required to permit the reduction, the derating values for hospital lighting were deleted.

In commercial buildings, VA per square foot values were reduced (with some exceptions) to align with occupancy energy codes. Examples of VA per square foot changes include banks from 3.2 to 1.3; hotels and motels from 2 to 1.7; garages from .5 to .3; hospitals from 2 to 1.6; courthouses from 2 to 1.4. Armories and auditoriums were raised from 1 to 1.7.
Also, commercial occupancies now align with those set by ASHRAE. The calculation table includes footnotes that help NEC users understand the change in occupancy-type designations and clarify older vs. newer occupancy types and language translations. Here are some designation examples:

  • Armories and auditoriums, considered gymnasium-type occupancies
  • Lodge rooms, considered similar to hotels and motels
  • Industrial commercial loft buildings, considered manufacturing-type occupancies
  • Banks, considered office-type occupancies
  • Garages and commercial storage, considered parking garage occupancies
  • Clubs, considered restaurant occupancies
  • Barbershops and beauty parlors, considered retail occupancies
  • Stores, considered retail occupancies
  • The rationale for change

While Article 220.12 has changed little since its NEC adoption in 1971, technology and sustainability initiatives have greatly advanced. Because of energy-efficient technologies for structures, LEED and other energy conservation efforts and energy codes and standards updates, the NEC needed to create parity.

Industry chatter regarding the size of service entrance equipment in relation to actual load, transformers and the like has been heard for at least the last two code cycles. Industry professionals realized that energy-efficient technologies had advanced to a point where load calculations were suspect of being grossly overestimated. Some in the industry claimed load calculation results no longer represented what happens in real-world applications thanks to technologies that use less energy, such as LED lights, fluorescents, high-efficiency transformers and variable frequency drives. Lower energy footprints impact the load calculations used to determine branch circuit size, feeders and everything else associated with power delivery, thus prompting the NEC to make changes that better ensure safety. 

The rationale for change

While Article 220.12 has changed little since its NEC adoption in 1971, technology and sustainability initiatives have greatly advanced. Because of energy-efficient technologies for structures, LEED and other energy conservation efforts and energy codes and standards updates, the NEC needed to create parity.

Industry chatter regarding the size of service entrance equipment in relation to actual load, transformers and the like has been heard for at least the last two code cycles. Industry professionals realized that energy-efficient technologies had advanced to a point where load calculations were suspect of being grossly overestimated. Some in the industry claimed load calculation results no longer represented what happens in real-world applications thanks to technologies that use less energy, such as LED lights, fluorescents, high-efficiency transformers and variable frequency drives. Lower energy footprints impact the load calculations used to determine branch circuit size, feeders and everything else associated with power delivery, thus prompting the NEC to make changes that better ensure safety.

The basis of ASHRAE alignment

When many structures are built, ASHRAE requirements adopted by a state or local jurisdiction dictate VA per square foot, and builders may not exceed those requirements. However, CMP2 understood that not every jurisdiction adopts the latest ASHRAE standard. Some states use older ASHRAE requirements, and some jurisdictions don't adopt the requirements at all. This played a factor in the language included in the NEC.

Lower VA per square foot values influence smaller feeder and service sizes, which, if incorrect, could be very expensive to fix after the fact. NFPA members looked at different types of buildings and ASHRAE research data. The task force associated with this effort plotted VA curves for buildings of various sizes. To gain consensus and achieve change, the NEC lowered the VA values somewhat to account for those jurisdictions that do not adopt the latest version of ASHRAE standards or other energy codes. A compromise was reached in using the 2000 version of ASHRAE 90.1 as the uniform reference for VA values.

Financial impacts and safety implications

Some industry professionals reported that, when placing an ammeter on a structure's service conductors, load currents showed a considerable margin between capacity and actual usage. Facilities typically consume less power due to higher-efficiency lighting equipment that's installed and conservative factors that design engineers may use to ensure future capacity for growth. (Energy-efficient solutions are not required by the Code but are installed because of the energy savings they offer.)

I believe it's important to include right-sized services in structures that meet design goals driven by customer wants and needs. The Code changes will offer financial relief for electrical infrastructures by foregoing equipment that's not needed—but the design engineer must always keep a close eye on the needs of the customer. The changes help the design engineer reduce the size of electrical distribution equipment where permitted by the design goals. This could translate into less wire and other related gear. With that, I hope a focus on providing safety technologies for our electrical workers will grow. Funding originally intended for power distribution can be reallocated to safety solutions for branch, feeder and service entrance equipment.

A thought on using the Code as a design guide

NEC Article 90 states that the Code should not be used as a design reference. Language in Article 220.12 exemplifies why. As mentioned, there's an informational note attached to 220.12. It states, "The unit values of Table 220.12 are based on minimum load conditions and 100 percent power factor and may not provide sufficient capacity for the installation contemplated." In essence, this means guidelines may not be sufficient for an installation. So, while the installation may be safe, it may not turn on because there isn't enough power to serve the load.

In my opinion, designers must focus on customer wants and create load calculations based on a distribution system's current and future needs. Many designers look to the Code before creating their designs, but they should do the opposite. I encourage all planners to meet customer wants and needs first and then check their designs against the Code to assure alignment.

Designers must focus on customer wants and create load calculations based on a distribution system's current and future needs.
Thomas Domitrovich, vice president, technical sales

What might the future hold?

While financial efficiencies and safety improvements were made, the NEC looks to do more to influence load calculations in healthcare environments and commercial structures.

Healthcare

Healthcare representatives believe load calculations are often high because, in an operating room, for example, many receptacles are installed. This makes sense—doctors never want to be without power options when lives hang in the balance. But the additional receptacles cause excessive infrastructure sizing. And practically speaking, many receptacles aren't used. The NEC is currently researching what, if anything, can be done to improve receptacle load calculations for hospitals and other occupancy types, such as clinics, medical offices and ambulatory care centers.

Commercial structures

A task group launched a research project in collaboration with the NFPA Research Foundation. The team is actively measuring the energy usage on receptacles in a variety of commercial buildings to determine if additional load calculation recommendations are an option. I believe the task group's report will heavily influence the public input phase for the 2023 code review.

Better calculations improve efficiency and safety

It's essential to strike a balance when calculating VA. If load calculations are too low, designers may likely plan for and install insufficient equipment, resulting in a situation that's expensive to fix after the fact. If load calculations are too high, it's possible to overpay for equipment that's not needed. I believe Article 220.12's new load calculations do more to help designers get it right the first time. The changes will help designers save money, which will hopefully inspire their clients to reallocate funds for the safety devices used to reduce maintenance on energized equipment in the field.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.eaton.com/us/en-us/company/news-insights/for-safetys-sake-blog/load-calculations.html

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Aug
31

The US has more power outages than any other developed country. Here’s why.

As storms sweep the US this month, millions of people were left without power. The outages went on for days in some places. As infrastructure crumbles, such blackouts may become more common. Outages have been on the rise in recent decades, and utilities might be ill-prepared to take on the dual challenge of responding to intensifying weather events and upgrading aging facilities.

The oldest American power lines date back to the 1880s, and most of today's grid was built in the 1950s and 1960s with a 50-year life expectancy. When these poles, wires, and transformers went up decades ago, the system was initially overbuilt, with growing demand anticipated, says Alexandra von Meier, an electrical engineer at the University of California, Berkeley. But now, it's reaching capacity and old equipment is flickering out.

Estimates on just how bad the problem is vary, though. According to an analysis by Climate Central, major outages (affecting more than 50,000 homes or businesses) grew ten times more common from the mid-1980s to 2012. From 2003 to 2012, weather-related outages doubled. In a 2017 report, the American Society of Civil Engineers reported that there were 3,571 total outages in 2015, lasting 49 minutes on average. The U.S. Energy Administration reports that in 2016, the average utility customer had 1.3 power interruptions, and their total blackout time averaged four hours. The reason these estimates vary may be related in part to the fact that private utilities tend to be guarded about sharing data, according to Sayanti Mukherjee, a civil engineer focused on energy resilience at the University of Buffalo. "If you do a detailed analysis you will see all these sources are different," she says. "There is a lot of discrepancy."

According to one analysis, the United States has more power outages than any other developed country. Research by Massoud Amin, an electrical and computer engineer at the University of Minnesota, found that while people living in the upper Midwest lose power annually for an average of 92 minutes, those in Japan experience only 4 minutes of blackouts per year. In a comparison by the Galvin Electricity Initiative, the average utility customer in the U.S. spent more time with their lights out than eight other industrial countries.

On top of that, utility companies have been slow to perform crucial maintenance, let alone upgrade their systems. Trees are to blame for most outages: high winds send their limbs swingings into lines. In forested places, utility providers are on the hook to trim back boughs so they don't become a hazard in windy and stormy weather. It seems straightforward, but where there's a lot of vegetation this can be a big ask. In forested areas, "The single biggest cost [for electric utilities] is tree maintenance," says B. Don Russell, an electrical engineer at Texas A&M University.

Most Americans—about 68 percent—obtain their electricity through distribution systems managed by investor-owned utilities. By nature, an investor-owned utility is beholden to both its customers and its shareholders, and while customers may prioritize reliable power requiring expensive new equipment, shareholders are generally interested in profit. And that means companies might push replacements off as long as they can. "It's a private industry," says Mukherjee. "So besides caring for the customer, they look for profit … so they try to stretch the lifespan [of equipment] as long as possible."

Some also argue that the companies tend to favor investors over customers. "By and large, utilities are profit-seeking entities which are granted monopolies," says Mark Paul, an environmental economist at the New College of Florida. "What we've seen time and time again is that utilities effectively charge ratepayers for maintenance and then delay that maintenance. And instead, they prioritize shareholder dividends." A case in point, according to Paul, is Pacific Gas & Electric, which serves a large portion of northern California. Earlier this year, PG&E pled guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter after regulators found that the 2018 Camp Fire was sparked by their poorly-maintained equipment. "This is directly attributable to failure to engage in proper maintenance," says Paul.

If performing basic maintenance now is a struggle, things will only get worse in years to come. The Atlantic Ocean may see double a "normal" years' worth of hurricanes this year, and our extra hot summer could fuel intense blazes in the West (Colorado is already on fire, with over 125,000 acres burning as of Monday); in an August 1 fire outlook, the National Interagency Fire Center found high fire potential in the Great Basin, California, Pacific Northwest, and northern Rockies. The effects of climate change in a given region or year will vary, but overall we can expect weather extremes like wildfires and storms to grow more intense, bringing greater potential to disrupt our already-fraying electrical grid (among many other impacts). "We've become more vulnerable," says von Meier. "Climate change in coming decades is going to have a profound impact."

Upgrading the system is no small task, however. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the American electric grid is the largest machine on the planet.

Putting wires underground, in so-called grid "hardening," can go a long way in places prone to high winds and fire. Some utilities are putting in work toward the goal; in Southern California, San Diego Gas & Electric has started burying wires in areas at high risk of fires. But it's not cheap. Per PG&E's estimate, converting overhead lines to underground lines costs $3 million per mile in urban settings, and $1 million in less densely populated areas. "Undergrounding an electrical system is extremely cost intensive, and that's why the utilities don't want to do that," says Mukherjee. Implementing such an upgrade may therefore require governments to partner with companies and develop ways to offset those high up-front costs.

But simply performing better monitoring can also go a long way. "We need improved situational awareness and monitoring," Russel says. "Most of the systems respond after a failure has occurred… Now there have been systems developed that are capable of detecting failures at a much deeper level." In his research, he has worked on developing algorithm-based monitoring systems that can essentially watch electricity circuits for abnormal patterns. This monitoring can catch a dying component before it causes an outage. Russel says that some private utilities are starting to implement such monitoring.

Microgrids may be part of the solution, too. These systems are fed by distributed sources, such as solar panels or diesel generators, which can sustain power to a local network when the main grid dies. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, "Local solutions, such as distributed generation and resilient microgrids, may offer lower-cost alternatives to major system investments particularly in areas at elevated risk from severe weather or other natural disasters." von Meier adds that microgrids can help keep the lights on in the event of a cyberattack on the main grid, too. But it's not a perfect solution. "When you think about who those [microgrids] are most accessible to, it tends to be high-income consumers," says Paul. "It's a failure to address what is a much broader issue."

Paul envisions a more system-level change. One part of that is strengthening the government entities—public utility commissions—that are tasked with regulating private utilities. While many other countries, including European nations and New Zealand, regulate electric distribution at the national level, in America that task is covered by a patchwork of state and local entities. Paul says that these commissions are highly influenced by lobbying. "Closing the revolving door is essential." Cities unhappy with their private electricity provider can also launch their own utility, giving residents a public option. This in turn puts pressure on private utilities to do better, as they would likely lose customers.

In the long-term, the hefty costs of upgrading electric facilities may be worth it. In the case of undergrounding wires, for example, Mukherjee says that those investments will pay off in 30 years by avoiding the economic costs of large-scale outages. While the lights are on over 99 percent of the time, sudden outages still cost at least $150 billion a year. Perhaps it's time to upgrade this aging system. 

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.popsci.com/story/environment/why-us-lose-power-storms/

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545 Hits
Aug
17

Iowans Continue To Struggle Following Deadly Derecho

Thousands of Iowans are still coping with the aftermath of a storm that pummeled the state last Monday with 100-mile-per-hour winds — a storm that flattened corn and soybean crops, damaged grain elevators and leveled banks, churches and homes.

More than 158,000 Iowans were still without power as of Friday evening, according to Iowa Public Radio. By Sunday morning, more than 98,000 continued to lack power, according to the monitoring site PowerOutage.US.

"The devastation is widespread. It's intense. Block after block of houses, every one with some amount of damage. Trees piled 6 to 10 feet high along the road. It's like walking through a tunnel of green with some fluorescent orange of placard houses that are unsafe to enter," Tyler Olson, a city council member from Cedar Rapids, told NPR's Weekend Edition on Saturday. "The city itself has been working hard to get roads cleared, so that has taken place in many parts of the city. But we're still without power. The majority of our citizens are without power."

The storm system that flattened crops and toppled trees is called a derecho, a particularly damaging and severe kind of wind storm that can cause hurricane-force winds, tornadoes and heavy rains. As many as 14 million acres of farmland were damaged by the storm, The New York Times reported.

"It's by far the most extensive and widespread damage that we've seen on this farm," Aaron Lehman, who grows corn and soybeans in Polk County in central Iowa, told Harvest Public Media. Lehman, who serves as president of the Iowa Farmers Union, said the damage was worse than a typical tornado.

"Unlike a tornado, which is a mile wide, this stretched for a width of really intense damage — of approximately 40 miles, probably closer to 60-70 miles wide," he said.

In Cedar Rapids, some families were left living in tents. At one badly damaged apartment complex, displaced children played outside amid shredded shingles, rusting nails and the chunks of fiberglass insulation, Iowa Public Radio reported.

"I didn't hear no sirens until our electricity went off. And then we went out and looked out the window and then it just all happened," said 14-year-old Lenberg Phillip in an interview with Iowa Public radio. "We were just watching out the window and then minutes later the roof came off."

Olson says they're still hoping to get a presidential disaster declaration.

"We need electricity," Olson said. "The [Iowa] National Guard arrived a couple of days ago to assist with utility with power back on, but we have citizens without food, without medicine. And we're working as hard as we can as a city to meet those needs but we really need the federal government and their resources." 

President Donald Trump has not signed an emergency declaration yet. On Tuesday, he tweeted: "Sad to see the damage from the derecho in Midwest. 112 mile per hour winds in Midway, Iowa! The Federal government is in close coordination with State officials. We are with you all the way - Stay safe and strong!"

At a press conference in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said the soonest she'd be able to submit an application for a disaster declaration is on Monday, according to Iowa Public Radio.

"We're moving forward, we're coordinating efforts, we're working with the local emergency managers and working with city officials and the mayor," Reynolds said. "They're on the ground. They need to let us know how we can supplement and help them with the work that they're doing and that's how we can efficiently and effectively serve citizens."

This all comes as Iowa continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. While the rate of infections appears to be decreasing, now averaging 458 new cases a week with more than 52,000 cases and 975 deaths, experts are worried about how the state will be able to handle two disasters at once.

"[The pandemic] has complicated relief efforts," Olson said. "It's hard to gather people together. It's hard for repair companies, insurance adjusters, to go into homes. Obviously protections that are in place because of the pandemic. And it really, the city's resources were strained before in trying to deal with that and now we're dealing with this probably historic disaster."

 P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.npr.org/2020/08/16/902868884/the-devastation-is-widespread-iowans-continue-to-struggle-in-aftermath-of-storm#

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341 Hits
Aug
10

Nebraska utility won’t convert power plant to run on hydrogen

A customer that planned to sell surplus hydrogen to the Nebraska Public Power District finds another buyer instead.
Correction: Monolith Materials expects to start operating a small demo plant next year but the full factory isn't expected to come online until 2024. An earlier version of this story misstated the timeline.

Nebraska's largest electric utility and the manufacturer that will soon be its largest private customer have agreed to abandon a potentially innovative plan to partially convert an aging fossil fuel power plant to run on hydrogen.

The Nebraska Public Power District in 2018 said it had contracted with Monolith Materials to buy all of the hydrogen byproduct produced at a new factory under construction near the utility's 225-megawatt Sheldon Station power plant, about 20 miles south of Lincoln. The power district planned to convert a 120-megawatt boiler to burn hydrogen, something that's never been done before.

In a joint statement this month, though, NPPD and Monolith said a better suitor had been found to purchase the hydrogen, which will result from manufacturing carbon black from natural gas.

"It was determined that there are alternative uses for the hydrogen that will yield greater economic benefit for the State of Nebraska, the southeast region of the state and for Monolith. NPPD understands and supports the practical business decision made by Monolith," the statement says.

Monolith would not identify the alternative use nor the other buyer.

The decision leaves major questions about how the companies will meet a commitment to source all of the factory's electricity from carbon-free sources. A demo plant is scheduled to start operating next year with the full plant online by 2024.

NPPD spokesperson Mark Becker said clean energy resources to power the Monolith plant "have not been determined at this time."

NPPD President and CEO Tom Kent said he regretted that the company has lost the opportunity to potentially generate carbon-free electricity from a new technology, but he conceded it may have been a stretch at the scale it was proposing at the Sheldon plant.

Kent didn't rule out fueling part of the plant with hydrogen at some point. The utility may also explore carbon capture and storage, advanced biofuels, and battery storage, he said. But for now, the plan is to stick with fossil fuels.

"Our current plan is to continue to operate the facility in its current configuration," Kent said. "We are still looking at various opportunities with other types of technology moving forward."

John Crabtree, who represents the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign in Nebraska, has in mind a different alternative: closing Sheldon Station.

Several years ago, the Sierra Club urged NPPD to shutter Sheldon Station, which has units built in 1961 and 1968, because the utility has substantially more generation than it needs. In June, for example, Southwest Power Pool figures indicate the the NPPD had 244 MW of excess capacity, as pointed out by John Romankiewicz, a senior analyst with the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. That's about 20 MW more than Sheldon capacity.

The utility wasn't ready to let go, and proposed the Monolith project as a "last huzzah" for Sheldon, Crabtree said. "Monolith was an effort to repurpose Sheldon Station instead of retiring it."

The power district said at the time that it never would burn coal in the plant again, according to Crabtree. It apparently did not rule out natural gas, which the turbines also are equipped to burn.

With hydrogen power off the table, Crabtree thinks it's time for NPPD to evaluate Sheldon's future, to resume the conversation he said was terminated when Monolith and hydrogen entered the picture. The utility's board of directors voted in June to hire two consultants to do separate analyses of the possible impact of various federal policies regarding CO2 emissions.

"Resource plans will be developed based on low cost, resilient and reliable criteria for CO2 scenarios that range from no CO2 reductions to NPPD becoming net CO2 neutral by 2050," Becker said.

Reports are due by the end of the year.

With the hydrogen plan no longer an option, Crabtree said, "that sort of pushes Sheldon up near the top of that page." 

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See the original full article at: https://energynews.us/2020/07/23/midwest/nebraska-utility-wont-convert-power-plant-to-run-on-hydrogen-after-all/

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246 Hits
Jul
06

Utility Outages Prediction and Vegetation Management

 What if you could more precisely predict outages and infrastructure damage to optimize restoration efforts and minimize disruption? Using advanced predictive models allows you to predict more than just the number of outage tickets.


Watch this on-demand webinar by IBM and learn how to take a smarter, more proactive approach to outage management by utilizing a better and more accurate view of weather, vegetation insights and damage forecasts.

Watch now >>

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403 Hits
Jun
29

When and Where to Install a Power Quality Monitor

Basic guidelines on how to quickly pinpoint electrical problems with and without PQ monitors

Having and using the proper tool for the job is always the tradesperson's main objective when working a project. Power quality (PQ) monitoring is no different.

When I began my career in this field, it was easy to set up a PQ monitor and let it record for two weeks, hoping to capture data. However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing — data, that is. I'd like to share some basic guidelines on how to quickly pinpoint electrical problems with and without PQ monitors.

Tip No. 1. Inspect the electrical installation for damage, wear, equipment installation mistakes, and NEC wiring violations. All of these problems can manifest as a PQ anomaly, causing equipment misoperations. Wiring violations to be on the lookout for are downstream neutral-to-ground bonds past where the NEC allows and grounding errors in separately derived systems. These two specific violations likely cause many types of equipment misoperations. Repairing all wiring problems before monitoring will save countless hours of data analysis.

Tip No. 2: If the customer only had one equipment misoperation in the last year, setting a monitor may not provide you with the data to understand equipment sensitivity since you would need another event to occur. The most beneficial first step is to contact the serving electric utility to investigate the date and time of the past event. Most electric utilities have all circuit breaker operations logged, and they know the speed of the circuit breaker opening. For example, a distribution circuit breaker may open in 30 cycles, whereas a transmission circuit breaker may open in 6 cycles. (Note: These are only examples; each electric utility has different protection settings). Mitigation can be selected based on how sensitive the equipment was to that event, either at the distribution or transmission level.

Tip No. 3: Ongoing problems are the most ideal for setting PQ monitors and getting the most out of the tool. It is always helpful to set multiple PQ monitors to collect data. The two best locations are at the main service and the equipment. By using two monitors, you will be able to isolate internal and external problems quickly. Set the monitor to record long enough to capture a few events. Remember that when you set a monitor, it will record many different events. Most events may not even cause a problem with the equipment so don't get bogged down by data. This is why a log must be kept near the equipment to record the time and date of each misoperation. Using that log look for PQ events or low/high voltage that correlates with the misoperations to identify the best correction or mitigation type.

These basic tips should save you many hours of mind-numbing data analysis and help identify the problem faster.

 P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.ecmweb.com/power-quality-reliability/monitoring-measurement/article/21133461/when-and-where-to-install-a-power-quality-monitor

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458 Hits
Jun
22

Updated Practical Guide to Data Center Planning & Design Booklet

​Schneider Electric and P3 are dedicated to providing you with the best products and services and the tools to utilize them. To ensure customers and potential customers have the most accurate and current information on the ever progressing field of data center design, we offer the latest update to the Schneider Electric Practical Guide to Data Center Planning & Design as a FREE download. Click the cover image link below to down load your copy of this informative publication.

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  394 Hits
394 Hits
Jun
11

Eaton & 2020 NEC Code Compliance


2020 NEC Code Compliance The National Electrical Code (NEC) establishes guidelines for electrical safety in residential, commercial and industrial applications. P3's supplier, Eaton, prides itself as being a source of expertise on the NEC® and offers content to help educate yourself and your customers on the 2020 code and the Eaton product solutions which help to meet the code. When it comes to electrical safety, we are all in this together. 
Find Eaton's helpful, extensive library of downloads and references at the link below (click image): 

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news. 

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488 Hits
Jun
04

Expand your Knowledge with Schneider Electric Online Events

Online Events and Webinars

Attend live sessions or browse our on-demand library for the latest information and innovative solutions for homes, buildings, data centers, infrastructure, industries and machines.


Upcoming Webinars:

Innovation Talk: Arc Flash Mitigation: Designing for Safety

Wednesday June 3 @ 10 AM ET


Innovation Talk: Simplifying the Maintenance of Safety Instrumented Systems
Tuesday June 2 @ 11 AM ET


Innovation Talk: The Cost of Implementing Resilient Technologies

Thursday June 11 at 1 PM ET



Innovation Talk: Making Efficient Use of Your Maintenance Resources

Thursday June 4 @ 11 AM ET


Innovation Talk: What Makes a Good HMI? Debunking the Myths of Advanced/ High Performance Graphics

Tuesday June 9 @ 11 AM ET


Microgrid Knowledge Virtual Conference

June 1 - June 3


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514 Hits
May
28

Free Ebook: Data Center Design Trends

EC& M is offering an e-book that examines everything electrical professionals need to know about the future of these mission-critical facilities. 

When you think of mission-critical facilities, data centers definitely top the list. Along with hospitals, air traffic control centers and financial institutions, data centers demand redundant reliable power 24/7. Downtime is simply not an option; neither is vulnerability.

To combat the possibility of downtime, design is a critical component of success — considering that data outages are common, costly and typically preventable. Taking a closer look at how the latest design trends affect this mission-critical market, the compilation of articles in this e-book, hand-picked by the editors of EC&M, offer new insight into this market. From technical analysis on how and why data center design, operations and delivery must evolve with the latest technology to regional/national revenue opportunities for electrical professionals to tips every contractor needs to remember when working with end-users on data center projects, this e-book offers something for everyone in the electrical industry.

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May
20

Eaton's touchless tool

Eaton is committed to meeting the critical needs of customers during this crisis. To help reduce health risk, Eaton has designed the Touchless Tool. This new tool helps protect all essential workers by reducing the risk of exposure to potentially harmful surface-dwelling viruses and other substances.


Easily able to be cleaned and sanitized between uses, the Touchless tool is reusable, multi-purpose and comfortable to use. Clean using soap and water or run through a dishwasher cycle.

Core features
  • Ergonomically designed to fit your hand
  • Made from durable materials, easily able to be cleaned and sanitized between uses
  • Hook design opens most standard doors and handles
  • Top of the tool includes a protrusion for pressing buttons
  • Bottom of the tool includes a slot for lanyard or key fob attachment
  • Customizable color and branding options

PROTECTED
Antimicrobial material

APPROVED FOR USE
University hospitals

REUSABLE
Cleanable. Washable.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.eaton.com/us/en-us/catalog/personal-protective-equipment/ppe.html

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May
12

Trump's Order to Secure Power System Met with Favor, Uncertainty in Utility Industry

Utilities remain uncertain on how the order intended to secure the bulk power system from foreign cybersecurity attacks will impact current projects and the installed infrastructure base. 

 U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on May 1, 2020, that establishes oversight of foreign-made equipment used in the United States bulk-power system. The order stated that Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette would assemble a task force to examine current procurement policies, identify threats to security, and establish risk-management protocols to inform future procurement.

This direction comes as little surprise to the power industry, following the Administration's previous crackdowns on telecommunications providers sourcing foreign-made systems and equipment deemed by the Secretary of Commerce as posing a national security risk.

The order will affect future power equipment purchases and potentially existing installed and commissioned components at the generation and transmission level. It builds on a July 2019 North American Electric Reliability Corp. request for bulk-power system asset owners to inventory telecommunications devices manufactured by Chinese technology companies, as part of an investigation into components made by Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE Corp.

"This is much broader; it reaches across the entire industry, not just the telecommunications infrastructure," said Jason Johns, an energy market attorney with Stoel Rives, LLP. "At the same time, it is particularly broad and imprecise in terms of its application."

Still, many electric utility industry stakeholder groups took a favorable stance toward the order. In a May 1 statement, Edison Electric Institute President Tom Kuhn said, "EEI and our member companies appreciate that President Trump, through his new Executive Order, continues to make energy grid security a priority for his Administration and our nation. We have long maintained that grid security is a shared responsibility, and addressing dynamic threats to the grid requires vigilance and coordination that leverages both government and industry resources."

"This is primarily about information systems," Johns said. According to a 2018 report by Protect Our Power, a not-for-profit organization focused on advancing cybersecurity in the U.S. power grid, the convergence of IT and OT poses the most significant threat to the security of bulk power. The report, co-authored by Ridge Global, states that "[IT/OT] integration can provide greater and more efficient ease of access for a wide array of malicious actors if modern IT/OT system components are not properly secured across their 'cradle-to-grave' life-cycle."

The report warns of the "globally distributed, highly complex, and increasingly interconnected set of supply chains," including products and services, that pose a risk at many points. Additionally, it states that "the process of maintaining hardware and updating or 'patching' software products that support IT/OT systems within the U.S. electric industry also represent critical points of vulnerability." Integration, maintenance, and updates pose potential areas of risk once installed.

"A lot of the connected devices [used by utilities] are assembled in the United States," said Jeff Pack, a senior product engineer and cybersecurity expert with POWER Engineers, "but each component will have something, whether it be memory chips, boards, or processing chips, that are manufactured in foreign lands." Pack indicated that this is an area that we can start to investigate relatively quickly.

The value this order will add to existing cybersecurity frameworks, namely NERC CIP, and particularly CIP-013, which establishes supply chain standards, is still unclear. "Perhaps after the Task Force is able to issue some guidance or directives, we will be able to determine if the Executive Order provides any risk reduction or resilience to the BPS beyond what the scope of CIP-013 provides," Pack said.

The degree to which the order will establish oversight and regulation of pre-installed infrastructure is also unclear. "It could pose substantial challenges to utilities if asset owners are required to rectify existing installed infrastructure that may have technological components embedded from one or more 'adversarial countries,'" said Chuck Newton, principle at Newton-Evans Research, who tracks power equipment supply chain.

At the bulk power level, experts say many utilities are already highly informed about the equipment that exists today. "Utilities are mindful of components and equipment, and where many of the underlying parts originate. Many utilities, especially larger ones, have done a lot of supply chain investigation," Pack said.

According to Newton, very few Chinese or Russian assets exist in the field today. "Utilities are not willing to invest in Chinese equipment at this time," he said. "Over the past several years there have been some new plants built to produce large and very large power transformers in the United States, which include SPX, Hyundai, VA/GA Transformers, and MEPPI. Subsequent M&A activity has expanded foreign ownership of [United States-based] plants."

Pack was optimistic that "If [utilities] are directed to take a risk-based assessment, a lot of existing equipment could be grandfathered in and left in place if due diligence was done at the time of procurement."

Uncertainty Rules

"Right now, the biggest impact is uncertainty across the industry as far as the impact it will have on transactions," Attorney Johns said. "However supportive the industry, clarity must be provided as soon as possible, long before the 150 days allotted to the [Secretary of Energy Brouillette's] task force."

This can create perplexity for anyone who is currently sourcing components. "What about those facilities that have already signed agreements before the May 1 order? How are those impacted? Utilities will struggle to meet their current timelines, and capital expenditure planning will be impacted," Johns said.

POWER Engineers' Pack points out that the devil is in the details. "Overall, the order is probably overdue, but right now there are a lot of missing details as to what types of assets, owned by who is involved and how [Secretary Brouillette's] task force starts to put its arms around [the order] and issue guidance or directives on how it will be implemented. If the task force takes a risk-based approach, we won't see as much disruption to the industry, but right now, we don't know."

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Apr
30

Schneider Electric's Innovation Experience: Live Weekly Series

Experience live video sessions with Schneider Electric experts for PDH credit!

We are happy to bring you Innovation Experience: Live on Engineering Tuesdays!
Stay up to date with the emerging market trends and technologies, discuss customers' challenges, and present our latest products and solutions. We are here to provide education that will help you solve your customers problems. These sessions offer engineers 1 PDH credit that will be shared with you on the Specifier Portal within one week of taking the session.


The purpose of these live webinars is to offer innovative learning along with live demos, tours, and more!

As the Edge moves from a buzzword to a tangible computing ecosystem that needs resources and tools, more and more questions arise around resiliency including physical security, staffing, standardization and integration, and monitoring and management of distributed IT equipment. In this session, with the power of Schneider Electric's Innovation Experience: LIVE experience, you will learn and about and see actual examples of how customers are approaching these rapidly evolving critical environments.

 May 5th

IEBC Experience: Live - Building resiliency at the edge 

As the Edge moves from a buzzword to a tangible computing ecosystem that needs resources and tools, more and more questions arise around resiliency including physical security, staffing, standardization and integration, and monitoring and management of distributed IT equipment. In this session, with the power of Schneider Electric's Innovation Experience: LIVE experience, you will learn and about and see actual examples of how customers are approaching these rapidly evolving critical environments.

 May 5th

IEBC Experience: Live - Building resiliency at the edge 

Digital and technology disruptions and transformations are happening everywhere including in commercial, industrial, and telco applications which are driving increasingly more compute to new locations away from traditional data centers. In this session, with the power of Schneider Electric's Innovation Experience: LIVE experience, we will review the wide variety of infrastructure architectures for the many unique environments encountered. A review of micro, row-based, pod-based, modular and more are reviewed.

May 19th
IEBC Experience:Live- Power Solutions for LV and MV Mission Critical Environments

Join John Gray on a journey into our Low and Medium Voltage Offers in Mission Critical Environments.Presenter: John Gray Power systems manager w guests.

 P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

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Apr
23

Electrical Industry vs. COVID-19

See how product manufacturers, electrical contractors, industry associations, and individuals are helping during the coronavirus crises.

Innovative, intelligent, industrious, and inspirational are just a few words that come to mind when describing the army of individuals who make up the U.S. electrical industry. Undoubtedly, COVID-19 is presenting us (and most others across the nation) with unprecedented challenges. Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of the pandemic, P3 is giving a well-deserved shout out to all those industry members who are helping to make a difference in the battle against coronavirus. Thank you!


Schneider Electric ensuring power continuity & matching employee donations

Schneider Teams in the field are working in record time to deliver and serve hospitals and grid infrastructure. They are joining forces with other industrial companies to manufacture ventilators. Schneider's main contribution is ensuring power and IT connectivity in US Field Hospitals in the fight against COVID-19.

Schneider Electric commits the first investment to relief funds and will match donations of employees. Stakeholders, shareholders, suppliers and clients, also have the opportunity to participate.

Eaton donating​ manufactured supplies, providing power management expertise​, & matching employee donations​

Eaton is using its manufacturing, producing a number of much-needed materials, including non-contact door openers and face shields, for healthcare workers. They have developed a touchless tools that helps medical workers avoid contact with surfaces. Eaton has reached out to academic institutes and industry partners to offer assistance in the production of ventilators and powered, air-purifying respirators. Eaton employees are gathering personal protective equipment, including safety glasses, gloves, goggles and N95 face masks available at their facilities and delivering these supplies to local collection sites. Eaton is also matching 2:1 any donation employees make to organizations providing COVID-19 relief.

Milbank Manufacturing

Milbank Manufacturing is producing personal protection equipment (PPE) to be used by first responders and medical care providers in the Kansas City metro area. The company used 3D printing capabilities to produce nearly 500 face shields, all of which were donated to health care workers.


Graybar Electric 

As a leading distributor that works in a critical infrastructure industry as defined by the Federal Government, Graybar is doing everything they can to maintain their normal work schedule in accordance with CDC guidelines around workplace health, safety and social distancing. Graybar has been helping in a number of ways, one of which involves donating essential supplies to hospitals.

MidAmerican Energy suspending disconnections, waiving late fees

MidAmerican Energy, a major utility serving Iowa, will be giving customers relief from delinquent payment shutdowns until further notice in response to hardships from the spread of the novel coronavirus. MidAmerican Energy said they would stop disconnecting customers for non-payment, as well as waive deposits and late fees.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

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Apr
16

Do you know how to calculate branch-circuit loads?

Mike Holt, National Electrical Code (NEC) expert discusses how to calculate branch-circuit loads in his latest article:

Article 220 of the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC) contains the requirements for calculating demand loads for branch circuits, feeders, and services. Table 220.3 lists references for branch-circuit calculations for specific equipment in Chapter 4.

Calculate your branch-circuit, feeder, and service loads using nominal system voltages, (e.g., 120V, 120/240V, 120/208V, 240V, 277/480V, 480V) unless other voltages are specified [Sec. 220.5(A)].

What if you do a calculation and get a fraction of an amp? You can round the answer to the nearest whole number, with decimal fractions smaller than 0.50 dropped [Sec. 220.5(B)].

Calculate the floor area from the outside dimensions of the building, dwelling unit, or other area involved [Sec. 220.11]. For dwelling units, the calculated floor area does not include open porches, garages, or unused or unfinished spaces not adaptable for future use.

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P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

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Apr
09

Live Demos from the Schneider Electric Innovation Briefing Center

Starting in April, Schneider Electric will be hosting a series of interactive webinars broadcasted live every Wednesday from the Schneider Electric Innovation Experience Briefing Center in St. Louis. The purpose of these live demo webinars is to keep you up to date with emerging market trends and technologies, discuss customers' challenges, and present our latest products and solutions. Check the agenda from the link below and register for the webinars of your choice! 

​Date ​Topic
​April 1st, 2020 ​The Power of Data Center Modernization: Identifying & Capitalizing on this Opportunity
​April 8th, 2020​Considerations for Small to Mid-Sized Data Centers, Commercial Buildings and Industrial Facilities
​April 15th, 2020​Innovation at the Edge with Micro Data Center Solutions
​April 22nd, 2020​Why remote IT infrastructure management is critical to your business — and your customers
​April 29th, 2020​Battery Talk: VRLA vs. Lithium Ion
​May 6th, 2020​Industrial Solutions in Mixed & Converged IT-OT Environments
​May 13th, 2020​Monitoring and Dispatch + Netbotz
​May 20th, 2020​Data Centers: Row, Pod, Modular & Beyond

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

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Apr
06

COVID-19’s Impact on the Construction Industry

 Cities halt construction while country faces economic downturn

As the coronavirus disease advances across the United States, various industries and nearly all aspects of the supply chain continue to be impacted, including the construction industry – and by default, skilled workers, electricians, engineers, and more.

According to a Boston Globe report from March 16, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh ordered a stop to all construction projects within the city in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, the first move of its kind in the nation. Chief Executive Officer of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Stephen E. Sandherr responded in a press release, arguing the city's actions will undermine the construction industry's efforts to add hospital capacity.

Additionally, Sandherr said construction workers already take many precautions to protect themselves and others from the spread of infection, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), gloves, and increased hygiene. "Given the precautions already in place, halting construction will do little to protect the health and safety of construction workers," he said in the release. "But it will go a long way in undermining economic vitality by depriving millions of workers of the wages they will need over the coming days. At the same time, these measures have the potential to bankrupt many construction firms who have contractual obligations to stay on schedule or risk incurring significant financial penalties."

Other states and cities are bound to see significant construction decline, as well. According to a March 19 report from Engineering News Record (ENR), all construction operations in the state of Pennsylvania were ordered to stop, which includes heavy/civil, building, institutional, residential, and specialty trade work. Likewise, New York City officials are calling for a pause to non-essential construction within all five boroughs, a Curbed New York article from March 20 says. A Chicago Tribune story also predicts a slowdown to Chicago's 10-year construction boom due to added safety precautions being implemented on job sites in an attempt to avoid a complete construction shutdown. Meanwhile, in California, a March 20 article from Politico says plans are underway to deploy thousands of construction workers in order to retrofit hospitals, hotels, and buildings in response to the outbreak.

Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), is predicting coronavirus will cause a sharp economic downturn that may also be short. 2Q 2020 GDP growth will be markedly negative and probably the country's worst performance since 3Q 2008, during the great recession. A weak 3Q will likely be followed by a rebound at the end of 2020.

Even if cities or states do not call for direct halts to construction, the effects of coronavirus as a pandemic are far-reaching. According to a report from Construction Dive, Chief Economist for Dodge Data & Analytics Richard Branch estimated that 30% of building products in the U.S. are imported from China, making it the nation's largest single supplier. While China seems to be slightly rebounding from the disease, its decreased manufacturing output is still expected to impact construction in the United States.

On March 20, AGC held a webinar called "The Latest Developments on the Coronavirus and What That Means for the Construction Industry." Hosted by Sandherr, several national staff members addressed various aspects of the industry, including safety measures, contracts/legal information, economic impacts, and more. Following is a summary of some of the webinar's key points.

Member survey results. AGC's Chief Economist Ken Simonson delivered coronavirus survey results from the organization's members, with a total of 909 responses as of March 19. Notable results include 28% of respondents being asked by an owner or government agency to stop current work; 11% were asked by an owner or government agency to stop future work; and 22% received a notice from suppliers that deliveries will be late or cancelled. Regarding project delays or disruptions, 16% experienced a shortage of materials, equipment, or parts; 11% saw a shortage of craftworkers, including subcontractors; 18% saw shortage of government workers; and 8% received information that an infected worker has potentially infected a worksite.

Positive and negative economic impacts. The COVID-19 outbreak is expected to bring several long-lasting and short-term negative consequences. Simonson said these may include disruptions to work or cancelled projects; potentially less demand for "non-essential" projects like offices, entertainment, and sports facilities; reduced/missed payments by owners; and a slow economic rebound across many industries. On the positive side, Simonson cited selected new projects to respond to the crisis, like healthcare and lodging; substantial price reductions for commodities like fuel; and a slow rebound for commodity prices.

Safety standards. Kevin Cannon, AGC's senior director, safety & health services, said the Department of Labor (DOL) and OSHA issued new guidelines on preparing workplaces for COVID-19 and recording workplace exposures to the disease. Since information and news on the disease keep evolving, OSHA has already updated this information once and may likely do it again.

Coronavirus and contracts. Brian Perlberg, senior counsel, construction law and contracts, discussed this outbreak as a "force majeure," as it is an unforeseeable event that no party controls or is at fault. He advises contractors to read back through the contract to see if it makes an adjustment for time or money. Each contract is different, and its verbiage will show what is allowed. For example, the ConsensusDocs 6.2.1(j) specifically listing epidemics as an excused delay, while AIA A201 General Conditions has a catch-all for acts beyond the contractor's control as determined by the architect.

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