NEC 2020 to help better identify & understand equipment history

 Members of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have now completed the annual NFPA Conference and Expo, where a considerable amount of debate occurred around the topic of reconditioned equipment. Until now, this issue was not a focus of the National Electrical Code (NEC). The new updated code brings clarity and transparency to the table by educating customers around the equipment they're buying and installing. In my opinion, the electrical industry must work together to take this foundation to the next level. We now have a platform from which clarity and transparency pertaining to reconditioned equipment can be expanded upon to help buyers and sellers of refurbished electrical safety devices develop and adhere to best practices for safety's sake.

The use of reconditioned equipment and its safety implications

It's common for electrical professionals to source reconditioned equipment, especially contractors on large jobs or on those projects where a quick turn-around on older equipment is needed. The practice can be cost effective and, in instances where older legacy systems require devices that are no longer manufactured, often necessary to solve an immediate requirement. But with many counterfeit devices in the supply chain and devices and equipment that may have experienced flooding or other abnormal damage, the NEC has made it clear that safety must take a higher priority.

With that, NEC 2020 will end its silence on this topic and seek to assure proper reconditioning of electrical equipment. New requirements for are found across 20 sections of the document, with changes making it clear what equipment can and cannot be refurbished for safety reasons.

"A basic understanding of the term "reconditioned" is critical to success."

Thomas Domitrovich, Eaton vice president, technical sales

The one critical rule

Though 20 new requirements are under consideration, one is most important in my opinion: 110.21(A)(2). It states equipment must be identified as reconditioned and the original listing mark removed (though the original nameplate may remain in place). This means third-party testing marks (such as the UL listing mark) must be removed and the device identified as reconditioned.

This addition is tremendously important for the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to help them identify equipment that has been refurbished or reconditioned and ensure these NEC requirements are enforced. These changes raise the bar of safety for refurbished equipment and those that provided refurbished equipment. Refurbished products brought to market will carry the transparency needed for the specifier, installer, and ultimately the owner. A basic understanding of the term "reconditioned" is critical to success.

What does "reconditioned" mean?

As with many changes in the NEC, good definitions are necessary for proper enforcement of requirements. Discussions will occur across the industry to understand this new term. Three different Code-making Panels assembled what we have today as a definition for "reconditioned." These technical committees have done their part to create, what I believe is, a solid definition:

"Reconditioned equipment is electromechanical systems, equipment, apparatus, or components that are restored to operating conditions. This process differs from normal servicing of equipment that remains within a facility, or replacement of listed equipment on a one-to-one basis."

As with most new changes, especially those as significant as these, NEC 2020 will benefit from public review as it rolls out across the country. Many electrical professionals will learn of what NEC 2020 now requires and develop educational materials that support it. As more people review the updated code, the more we'll see ideas arise on how to improve this text. This process is one of the best in the industry – as the code evolves over time, it improves. My colleague, Jim Dollard, IBEW Local 98 in Philadelphia, said it best: "It's a solid definition, it is comprehensive. The first sentence clarifies that reconditioned means "restored to operating conditions." That means the equipment was not useable. This also clarifies that "used equipment" that is in operating condition is not considered to be "reconditioned equipment." The second sentence is extremely important. This text provides clarification with respect to "normal servicing of equipment that remains within a facility or replacement of listed equipment on a one-to-one basis." Any "normal servicing of equipment that remains within a facility" is not reconditioned. Keep in mind that a facility is a single building, a campus or a network of cell towers for example. Replacement of "listed equipment on a one-to-one basis" clarifies that piece of equipment that is not in operating condition can be restored to operating condition through the replacement of "listed equipment on a one-to-one basis" and is not considered to be "reconditioned equipment."

Here is my opinion on a breakdown of each aspect of the definition. Keep in mind that your Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) is the final say on all of these requirements including the interpretation of the definition.

Electromechanical systems

"Electromechanical systems, equipment, apparatus, or components that are restored to operating conditions." This first sentence is very broad. No matter the system, equipment, apparatus, or component, the key portion of this sentence lies in these four words; "restored to operating conditions." This means the equipment was not operable and something had to be done to return it to a functioning state.

In my opinion: If an electrical contractor removes a fully operational panelboard from a facility to either upgrade or install a larger panelboard, the contractor may reinstall that panelboard elsewhere in the facility. The panelboard is clearly used equipment and not reconditioned because no steps were taken to repair or modify it and return it to an operating condition.

Normal servicing

Continuing from the definition, "This process differs from normal servicing of equipment." There are numerous events that can affect devices including flooding, fires and other extremes. Servicing this equipment after these events will beg the question of whether or not this is "normal servicing." We won't find a definition in the NEC for "normal servicing" as commonly used, well-understood terms aren't defined. The question will remain for many though as to what exactly is meant by the use of the term "normal" in this context.

In my opinion: We have to apply common sense here. Equipment that's been underwater, in a fire, or other similar event is not normal in my opinion. Servicing equipment per manufacturer instructions for updates or maintenance reasons are normal activities. Equipment manufacturers help to define "normal" by working with service departments to identify common repairs performed on a regular basis. 


"That remains within a facility." Knowing the history of equipment is the next step of this definition. It's easier to understand the history of equipment that was purchased for and remained in a single facility during its entire life. This history is important for safety. Repairing and maintaining this equipment is not considered, "reconditioning." We can't forget too that we're talking about equipment that is ". . . restored to operating conditions."

In my opinion: This asserts that the owner of equipment has a better understanding of its history. If a technician removes a device from a facility and that device is in working order when reused within that same facility, that's use of used equipment. This equipment was not in a state of condition that requires someone to return it to operating conditions. If the condition of the device is not known, steps may have to be taken to modify the equipment to replace components to raise the level of confidence that this equipment is in operating conditions addressing areas of concern. This would then meet the definition of reconditioned equipment.

One-to-one basis

"Replacement of existing equipment on a one-to-one basis." The code making panels took time to ensure that the act of replacing components within equipment per manufacturer instructions does not fall under the reconditioned equipment umbrella. Contractors and IT managers often replace existing devices for many reasons, such as equipment end-of-life or for assembly capacity increases.

In my opinion: If equipment is listed for the same purpose as the original device being replaced, it's done on a one-to-one basis and, therefore, is not reconditioned. Let's take the example of an electrician replacing a circuit breaker in a panelboard with another per manufacturer instructions. The replacement is a one-to-one example and the application was not reconditioned. On the other hand, should this replacement occur in conjunction with cleaning the internal bus and other components within the enclosure after an event such as a flood, fire or similar, we're looking at refurbished equipment. 

What clarity means for the industry

These code changes were upheld at the annual meeting amidst extensive debate. Our electrical industry understands the challenges and safety concerns around reconditioned equipment. The requirements for reconditioned equipment were overwhelmingly supported on the floor of the annual meeting.

Proper governance starts with ensuring education for those focused on electrical safety. Organizations like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI) and others will be working to update and create their curricula based on these new changes. Consistency in what we all teach is important to success

Don't wait for the NEC. Here's what you can do now.

As with any NEC safety change, this will be a journey with many growing pains along the way. Future efforts will seek to clarify, expand and correct requirements for used and reconditioned equipment. This journey will continue over many review cycles.

So, what can you do to protect yourself? I believe buyers and suppliers of reconditioned devices can do more to assure safety today:

Suppliers – differentiate yourself from others

  • Pay close attention to product standards and perform tests that establish performance, even if standards do not exist, and document it all. Share this with your customers as a differentiator. This helps bolster the supplier's brand image and create safer products that customers ask for by name.
  • Engage with the industry and join NEC and other requirement-making institution discussions. It helps to listen in on industry concerns, get first-hand feedback and refute claims you know are incorrectly positioned. It's also a great opportunity to highlight your safety processes, which may also influence future amendments.

Buyers – know where products are sourced

  • Buy only from reputable resellers. Devices purchased from unauthorized distributors who lack important safety certifications carry tremendous risk. Remember, the solutions you install in a facility reflect on you. Do your due diligence.
  • Note the products the NEC states cannot be refurbished. Less reputable resellers do attempt to sell molded case circuit breakers and other safety devices that can't be reconditioned. It's up to you to know the facts and act accordingly.
  • If a project bid includes reconditioned devices, make sure your customer is aware. Remember that reconditioned devices are now labeled as such with third-party listing marks removed, so they're easily noticed. Some clients may not take kindly to reconditioned devices after the fact.

While creating requirements for reconditioned equipment is in its infancy, understanding the differences between used and reconditioned equipment is a great first step toward helping educators, buyers and sellers ensure the safety of people and equipment.

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Schneider Electric's Enhanced Data Center Operations Services Improve Operational Efficiencies and Reduce Risk

  • Software-driven process boosts efficiency in operations up to 15 percent while mitigating risk at every stage of the data center lifecycle.
  • Experienced personnel supported with next-generation digital tools minimize human error to maximize uptime.
  • Full lifecycle management across IT and facilities delivers planning and management efficiencies to deliver CapEx and OpEx savings.
Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, expands its data center solutions portfolio with the introduction of enhanced, digitized versions of its Critical Facility Operations offers for cloud & service providers and large data centers operators. These new offers make Schneider Electric a leader in digitized data center operations as well as a single source for all Critical Facility Operation services from the IT space to the supporting infrastructure in the facility.

Software-driven process with 24x7 facility management

The new, digitized Critical Facility Operations approach couples a software-driven process with 24x7 on-site facility operations and remote support. Benefits for customers include:

  • Increased operational efficiency: implementation in real-world customer environments have resulted in operational efficiency improvements of up to 15 percent.
  • Lower risk and maximum uptime: qualified personnel operate and maintain the data center using powerful digital tools to ensure process standardization and minimize risk of human error.
  • Efficient IT planning: 'hands-on' tactical workflows are supported by centralized expertise for full life cycle management of IT assets.

Digitized operations reduce risks

"At Schneider Electric, we believe that digitization of data center operations will result in reduced risk of human error, improved efficiency, cost savings, and increased transparency in the data centers we operate around the globe for our customers," said Anthony DeSpirito, Vice President/General Manager of Data Center Operations, Schneider Electric. "As a single vendor for all critical operations in the data center gray and white space, Schneider Electric removes the silos frequently seen between facilities and IT staff, eliminating accountability issues and reducing risk." China Unicom is one of the world's largest telecommunication companies, providing cloud services in response to massive demand. China Unicom elected to outsource on-site critical power operation services for two of its sites to Schneider Electric. Today, more than 100 Schneider experts operate two of China Unicom's hyperscale data centers. "Schneider Electric's mature and customized Critical Facility Operations solution enabled us to improve greatly in terms of reliable operation, predictive maintenance, as well as risk control, achieving 100 percent uptime of the facilities," said Kang Nan, General Manager of Operations and Services Department, China Unicom. "We've also effectively reduced energy consumption, saving us up to 30 percent of cost."

Customized offer to meet specific site and business requirements

Critical Facility Operations for data centers is a customized offer with pricing based on size of facility, number of assets, and optional services selected. The offer includes:

  • 24x7 infrastructure operations and maintenance; emergency preparedness and response
  • Vendor management and oversight
  • Daily walk-through and monitoring, change management, and continuous systems optimization
  • Data center infrastructure engineering for strategic IT hardware capacity planning, power and cooling optimization, and monitoring day to day operations.
  • Rack and stack for standards-driven IT asset lifecycle management services, including installation, moves, adds, changes, and asset decommissioning.
  • Smart hands for on-site technical support, fault identification and resolution, and preventative maintenance. 

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Eaton’s intelligent power technology advances healthcare modernization

Healthcare providers can experience greater resiliency, efficiency and safety with Eaton technologies at 2019 ASHE Conference

PITTSBURGH, PA… With the continued adoption of digital innovation by healthcare providers to transform the patient care experience, power management company Eaton is helping facility operators understand the potential for intelligent power to improve the resiliency, efficiency and safety of the infrastructure powering these advancements. Eaton is educating healthcare facility leaders on the critical role of intelligent power in healthcare modernization at the 2019 American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) Annual Conference & Technical Exhibition from July 14 through 17 in Baltimore, Maryland.

"Healthcare providers continue to look for ways to leverage technology to improve the reliability and resiliency of the hospital's essential electrical system," said Justin Carron, global segment manager for healthcare and life sciences, Eaton. "Our intelligent power solutions play an essential role in enabling energy management and achieving compliance, while providing a safe work environment. This technology innovation helps healthcare facilities provide better patient care and aid the personnel who are delivering it."

Eaton's Carron is contributing to the ASHE panel discussion "Powered for Patients DHS NIPP Security & Resilience Challenge Project to Boost Emergency Power Resilience" on Tuesday, July 16. The discussion provides insight into the Powered for Patients initiative, which seeks to leverage intelligent power solutions to help enable faster government response to facilities impacted by power outages due to natural disasters.

Eaton will provide healthcare facility operators with insights into how they can fuel their efforts to modernize their approach to patient care with innovative solutions that include:

  • Eaton's new Pow-R-Line™ XD switchboard, an intelligent solution featuring a compact design that enhances safety and reduces downtime with improved breaker change-out capability.
  • Eaton's Arc Quenching Magnum DS switchgear, industry-first technology that extinguishes arc flash more than 10 times faster than traditional approaches and substantially reduces downtime resulting from arc flash events.
  • A preview of Eaton's Pow-R-Line™ Xpert Series, an intelligent switchboard and panelboard series featuring built-in communications, energy metering and circuit breaker health diagnostics to support a safer, more reliable electrical system.
  • Bypass isolation transfer switches, designed to maintain continuous power and personnel safety during routine maintenance, inspection and testing procedures.

Eaton will also highlight its services from one of the largest and most experienced teams of power system engineers in the industry. Eaton's experts provide services for every stage of a healthcare power system's life cycle, from design to build to support, enabling customers to tailor their systems to best serve the needs of patients.

For more information about Eaton's healthcare solutions learn more at www.eaton.com/healthcare

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OSHA Seeks to Increase Awareness of Workplace Hazards in Electrical Industry

OSHA wants employers to work to reduce the number of serious injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among engineers, electricians, and other professionals who perform electrical operations 

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking to raise awareness of hazards in the electrical industry in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. OSHA wants employers to work to reduce the number of serious injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among engineers, electricians, and other professionals who perform electrical operations, including work on overhead lines, cable harnesses, and circuit assemblies.

OSHA has resources to help keep workers safe from industry hazards, such as electrocutions, falls, fires and explosions. Its Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs can assist employers with identifying and fixing hazards before they cause serious or fatal injuries.

From January 2015 through September 2018, OSHA conducted inspections in the three states after reports of 15 worker hospitalizations and two amputations. Six electrical and wiring installation contractors suffered fatal injuries between October 2012 and September 2018.

"Working with electricity can be safe if employers provide workers with adequate training, and implement appropriate systems to reduce the risk of workplace injuries," says OSHA Regional Administrator Kimberly Stille, in Kansas City, Missouri.

OSHA's On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small- and medium-sized businesses to identify workplace hazards, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs. On-Site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations.

For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

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NEC 2020 code new standards in GFCI protection

During the recent 2020 code review, panel members of the National Electrical Code (NEC) approved changes to ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection. Those changes dramatically reduce the dangers associated with electrical hazard and shock. The most significant change is the increase of amp protection ratings across all receptacle outlets, both indoor and outdoor, wherever GFCI protection is required. In this blog, I'll discuss how that change informs:

GFCI language expansion
Better protection for basements
Safer equipment maintenance for workers
Safer outdoor outlets
Sweeping global language changes
Further expansion of 50-amp protection

Some updates highlighted in this discussion apply to long-standing requirements. With that, a need for further clarity may still exist in the Code. However, I can say without hesitation that the NEC's 2020 GFCI updates significantly enhance electrical safety for homeowners and electrical workers alike.

GFCI language expansion

The 2020 change

Code-making panel 2 (CMP 2) updated text to read, "All 125-volt through 250-volt receptacles installed in the locations specified in 210.8(A) (1) through (11) and supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts or less to ground shall have ground fault circuit interrupter protection for personnel." In layman's terms, the NEC removed amp values across all amp-rated receptacle outlets requiring GFCI protection in the areas listed in this section.

The rationale for change

NEC 2017 language only accounts for 15- and 20-amp receptacle outlets for dwelling units. During 2020 code review meetings, panel members agreed that hazards always exist; if 15- and 20-amp receptacle outlets present a hazard, that hazard also exists on 30-amp and higher receptacle outlets. However, it was difficult to understand the likelihood of a hazardous occurrence when weighed against expanded requirements. Recent home-based electrocution accidents – a 10-year-old girl behind an energized appliance, a child in Oklahoma retrieving a pet behind a clothes dryer, a 10-year-old Houston boy playing hide and seek — helped panel members realize the need for change. In light of these tragic events, we now have a requirement that sets a higher standard across more areas of the Code, though there are some exceptions discussed later in this blog.

What might the future hold?

The NEC mandates GFCI protection in many areas of the home: bathrooms, garages, outdoor receptacles, crawl spaces, basements, kitchens and anything within six feet of a sink or water source. While that may seem like a lot, the entirety of a home is not covered. The reality is when people have a problem with a tripped circuit, it's entirely possible they'll use an extension cord to plug into a receptacle outlet that's not GFCI protected. Doing so does nothing to eliminate the original hazard potentially caused by the device in use. I hope that NEC members account for the human factor and require GFCI coverage throughout the home during the next code review.

Better protection in basements

The 2020 change

The NEC expanded GFCI protection for dwelling units with basements both finished and unfinished.

The rationale for change

Often afterthoughts that present unique hazards, basements are typically not as well maintained as other areas of the home. Further, environments are often wet and damp, and moisture is a great conductor. These code updates help ensure that accidents due to factors such as leakage current and contact with water are considerably lessened or eliminated.

What might the future hold?

Many rooms in a home are already required to have GFCI protection. While it feels like the most logical code progression, others in the industry still pushback on requiring GFCIs throughout a home claiming financial concerns or installation problems. As with the parental language update, I believe this code change can inspire discussions to include GFCIs throughout the home.

Safer equipment maintenance for workers

The 2020 change

The NEC expanded GFCI protection under Article 210.63(A) for HVAC equipment and Article 210.63(B) for indoor service equipment and indoor equipment requiring dedicated space.

The rationale for change

Equipment location is at the crux of this update. While HVAC equipment in the basement is covered now that all basement circuits are GFCI protected, HVAC equipment located in attics and other areas would likely not have GFCI protection. CMP 2 recognized that many HVAC areas are typically tight working spaces where technicians perform justified energized work (they can't troubleshoot a de-energized circuit). In essence, the update assures equipment requiring service has a GFCI-protected receptacle outlet for ready access.

What might the future hold?

Because this is the NEC's first venture into expanding 210.63, I expect some inspectors and contractors may not see eye to eye on code language. Industry discussions across the country and during future review cycles will help the NEC make future improvements.

Safer outdoor outlets

The 2020 change

The NEC updated the Code for outdoor outlets supplied by single-phase branch circuits rated 150 volts to ground or less, 50 amps or less. Key to this update: it extends beyond receptacle outlets to include all outlets. Now all hard-wired equipment falls under the Code's purview.

The rationale for change

One downfall of the electrical business is that it's more reactive than proactive, with accidents often the catalyst for change. Numerous incidents inspired this code change, including an accident involving a 12-year-old boy who jumped over a fence and touched an AC condenser unit with an electrical fault. The outer metal housing was electrified and the child was fatally electrocuted immediately upon coming in contact with the condenser and fence simultaneously.

What might the future hold?

GFCI technology is unforgiving in that it's built to detect even the slightest power variance, and when expanded to include outlets impacting new types of loads, questions arise. With GFCIs installed, leakage-current trips may be near constant, rendering large equipment unusable. In the future, I hope industries rethink products with acceptable leakage current, hertz and frequency values to reduce future compatibility issues.

Further, this change will likely spur discussions related to current GFCI requirements focusing only on receptacle outlets. Hardwiring equipment does not eliminate the electrical hazard. I venture someone will propose public inputs during the next code-review cycle to challenge details about receptacle outlets versus outlets requiring GFCI protection.

Sweeping global language changes

The 2020 change

The NEC reviewed all locations with a GFCI requirement and aligned with Article 210.8. Updates were made in many locations to include text, such as "in addition to the requirements of 210.8" and similar, to clarify language and eliminate misinterpretation.

The rationale for change

The NEC included Article 210.8(B) for other than dwelling units in 1993. Before its inclusion, builders relied on requirements in later chapters of the Code (chapters five through seven), for safety guidance. For example, RV Park GFCI requirements added in 1978 aligned with 210.8's 15- and 20-amp receptacle outlet GFCI protection philosophy at that time. NEC 2017 created some confusion when 210.8(B) increased GFCI protection requirements beyond 15- and 20-amp receptacle outlets for other than dwelling units. This presented a challenge: a chapter two requirement applied a generally wider level of GFCI protection. This conflicted with chapter five, which has less coverage of GFCI protection.

The correlating committee recognized similar conflicts exist across industries and formulated a task group that challenged every code panel to look at their GFCI requirements and attempt to align them with 210.8's 50-amp increase.

What might the future hold?

Each code panel performed their review; some made changes, others did not. There is room for discussion in future revisions of the Code regarding shock hazards in the special other than dwelling unit applications. I believe the NEC will soon increase its focus on GFCIs and hopefully add clarity as each application in chapters five through seven approaches GFCI protection differently.

Further expansion of 50-amp protection

NEC articles to watch

While representatives in agriculture and RV industries have valid concerns about nuisance tripping, I believe the NEC should revisit Article 547 for agricultural buildings and Article 551 for RVs and RV parks to address valid shock hazard concerns and consider increasing GFCI protection to 50 amps.

The rationale for change

Farming and RV industries rely on circuits that operate at well over 20 amps, yet no safety requirements exist. Much of the equipment used in these industries can be quite old with leakage current a serious concern. In my opinion, the Code lacks parity in how safety requirements exist in some industries and not in others. That must change.

The studies needed to promote change exist. The University of Iowa and the University of Nebraska have uncovered many incidents where farmers lost their lives due to faulty agricultural electrical equipment. Further, RV "hot skin," a situation where the entirety of an RV's outer housing becomes energized due to electrical faults, can kill in an instant, as was the case when a young boy died when touching an RV. If RV parks and farms running 30- to 50-amp receptacles without GFCI protection is not deemed a concern worth addressing, how can anyone claim running 30- to 50-amp receptacles outside of dwelling units is a hazard? Common sense dictates both are hazards and change is necessary.

What might the future hold?

I appreciate that equipment compatibility issues on farms and at RV parks may require much time and financial capital to resolve. However, I cannot condone sitting idle as lives are lost. I hope a series of discussions during the next code review cycle inspires commissioning an NFPA Fire Protection Research Foundation study to further understand the implications of expanding GFCI protection beyond 15 and 20 amps in RV parks and farms. Let's study the problem, understand the challenges and determine solutions that increase safety.

Let's continue to make great strides in safety

Extending the amp requirement across all receptacles is a milestone that cannot be understated — it will change how industries work. Many of the changes I've discussed represent the first step toward increasing safety, with industry feedback being critically important in making improvements in 2023. With that, we already have some of the data needed to suggest the changes desperately needed in the RV and farming industries. I call on my NEC colleagues to begin safety conversations now so that we as a group can protect more lives from electrical shock.

Article by Thomas Domitrovich, P.E., LEED AP, Eaton vice president, technical sales, May 29, 2019

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 IEEE PES ESMO 2019 is coming up, June 24-27 in Columbus, Ohio. The event features two days of technical sessions and an indoor trade show and another two days of outdoor demonstrations. 

The 14th international conference on transmission and distribution construction, operation and live line maintenance offers opportunities to network with your peers and learn about best practices in the utility industry.

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NEMA releases Surge Protection Guide

The first in a new series of publications intended to provide guidance on the evaluation, specification, and use of surge protective devices.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, Va., has released the first in a new series of publications intended to provide guidance on the evaluation, specification, and use of surge protective devices (SPD) in low-voltage power distribution system applications.

"Surge Protective Device Specification Guide for Low-Voltage Power Distribution Systems, Part 1" (NEMA SPD 1.1-2019) is written for those who use or specify SPDs and others affiliated with the low-voltage SPD marketplace, "so that uniformity of specifications and parameters will improve comprehension, application, and utilization," said Saad Lambaz, Global Standards Manager at Littelfuse, Inc., NEMA Low Voltage Surge Section Member.

The guide includes SPD ratings related to the operating system and performance, a specification checklist, and information on surge current ratings, modes of protection, and general grounding practices.

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Top 14 Reasons Electrical Service Installations Get Red Tagged

Whether located inside or outdoors, premises wiring systems powered by an electric utility have what is known as an electrical service. It is the portion of the electrical system from the utility-defined point of connection to the input terminals of the main overcurrent device — although strictly speaking (not included in this definition), the entrance panel is generally considered part of the service.

Because the service components carry a substantial amount of current and their overcurrent protection is much higher (less sensitive) than the ampacities of service conductors and terminals, design and installation are critical. Typically, an electrical inspector will take a good hard look at the service to make sure all is in order prior to signing off on the installation. It's your job to avoid these all too common "red tag" failure points.

This list shows some common missteps electricians, and other non-professional installers, make in electrical service installations across the country. 

1. No Cover on Panelboard

An energized electrical panel should not be operated with the cover removed because: 

  • A complete enclosure is necessary to contain sparks in case of line-to-line or line-to-ground fault. 
  • Exposed energized terminals are a shock hazard. 
  • The cover helps hold the main and branch circuit breakers firmly in place, preventing arcing at the bus bars.

2. Missing or Incomplete Directory on Panelboard

A complete and accurate directory is needed to selectively de-energize branch circuits for maintenance. Entries should not refer to current occupants (e.g., John's Room).

3. Meter Enclosure Out of Plumb

All boxes, including the entrance panel, must be plumb and firmly secured.

4. Missing Knockout Closures

Unused knockouts that have been removed must be fitted with closure blanks (made for the purpose) to ensure integrity of the enclosure.

5. Missing Bonding Connection on Water Pipe

The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires metal water piping to be bonded to the electrical grounding system. This is usually accomplished by connecting to the grounded conductor at the service equipment enclosure. The bonding conductor is sized in accordance with NEC Table 250.66. The points of attachment of the bonding jumper(s) must be accessible.

6. Insufficient Grounding

The NEC requires that a single rod, pipe, or plate electrode be supplemented by an additional electrode if its resistance to earth is greater than 25 ohms. Rather than go through the hassle of measuring ground resistance, many electricians simply drive a second ground rod [as required by NEC Sec. 250.53(A)(2)], and call it a day. In addition, the grounding electrode conductor raceway, which is metallic, should extend below grade and be bonded at the bottom. Most electricians use PVC raceway here to eliminate the need for bonding.

7. Lack of Corrosion Inhibitor with Aluminum Wire

Aluminum conductors are generally used instead of their copper counterparts between the utility point of connection and the main breaker. Including the meter socket, which is usually part of this scenario, there are numerous aluminum terminations. Each one of these requires corrosion inhibitor to ensure that the connection does not oxidize with attendant heat and arcing. Manufacturer's instructions, which are incorporated in the UL listing, state that the metal is to be wire brushed before applying the inhibitor.

8. Main Bonding Jumper is Missing

The main bonding jumper is to be field-installed. It is not to be used if the box is not used as service equipment (i.e., as a downstream load center).

9. Improperly Sized Service

The service size is based on the lighting load plus other loads. Calculation requirements are detailed in NEC Art. 220. Residential and commercial occupancies are figured differently.

10. Service Wire Not Sized Properly

Service conductor sizing is based on the connected load, with different sizes for dwellings and non-dwellings. This is critical because the service conductors are not protected for their ampacity by up-stream overcurrent devices.

11. Telephone or Data Wires Attached to Masthead

A very common Code violation is connection of non-service conductors or other equipment to a masthead. The problem here is that they add to the lateral load on the masthead raceway, especially if there is ice build up or wind load present on the span.

12. Coupling in Masthead Raceway Placed Above the Roof

Because strength of the masthead is critical, there should not be a coupling between the point at which the raceway emerges from the roof and the point of attachment, which is where the lateral loading occurs. Waterpipe should never be used as a masthead.

13. Inadequate Ground Clearance

The point of attachment at the building must be 10 ft above the finished grade and high enough so that the required clearance above grade level is maintained for the entire span. For overhead service conductors over residential property and driveways — and those commercial areas not subject to truck traffic where the voltage does not exceed 300V to ground — this clearance is 12 ft.

14. No Arc Fault Breakers in Panelboard

Just as the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protects individuals against electric shock, the arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) mitigates the hazard of electrical fire. Neither of these life-saving devices is effective if not in place. NEC requires specific locations in dwellings and non-dwellings to be so protected. AFCI protection usually takes the form of specialized circuit breakers installed in the entrance panel. Because of their distinctive appearance with an extra white pigtail that is to be connected to the neutral bar, it is obvious when they are missing.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.ecmweb.com/contractor/top-14-reasons-electrical-service-installations-get-red-tagged

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Why do I need a personal Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)?

With all the bad weather we have had in the area - and it doesn't look like it will lighten up soon - consider the benefits of having a UPS:

Imagine you are working on an important job for your company's most profitable client. Or perhaps you are in college and working on a final term paper. Maybe it is a massive spreadsheet or a multiple page document that you have spent hours working on. Suddenly the power at your office or home goes out! All your hard work has been lost. If only your computer was connected to a UPS, your data may have been saved.

What is a UPS?

In computer terminology, UPS stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply. An Uninterruptible Power Supply is an electrical device, typically with internal batteries, that store power to supply energy to connected devices if normal power is interrupted.

In the event of a power failure, the UPS will instantaneously switch over to its batteries to continue to provide power to connected devices for a period of time to allow the user to save data, shut down properly, or turn on a backup power source such as a generator. The period of time that a UPS will provide power to connected devices ultimately depends on the capacity of its batteries and the load that is connected to it.

Why do I need one?

So why do you need a UPS? Consider it like an insurance policy. People and property have insurance in case something bad or unexpected happens. Most people do not want to get sick, involved in a car accident or worse but in the event that something like this happens insurance policies make us whole again.

Having a UPS is like an insurance policy for your electronics. Power outages are random, brown-outs happen unexpectedly, so why would you not want to protect your PC, server, or even just your big screen TV in your living room at home! It's better to be safe than to be sorry. 

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://sandstormit.com/why-do-i-need-an-uninterruptible-power-supply-ups/

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Avoid Counterfeit Electrical Parts & Equipment

If you go to eBay to buy a voltage relay, you might choose Omron—oops, actually that's Omrch. It's a counterfeit part. It looks like Omron. Except, it's fake.
Omron relays are real. Omrch relays are fake. On the technology and software media website Hackaday, Al Williams describes the fakes: "Your ear can detect the counterfeits by the varying sounds they make during operation." He writes the investigation went deeper after the relays were tested at their rated voltages and heat dissipation measured.

"The results were not surprising," he writes. "At lower voltages, the relays seemed to do okay, but closer to the maximums it's obvious the components in the fakes are not rated for enough power to work. You can even see some charring of a resistor and its plastic holder from having too much power for the component's rating."

Then the clincher: "The conclusion was that these relays might work for light-duty projects, but for commercial projects or operating near the edge of the ratings, you want to give these a pass."

Scenarios like this are becoming more common, and there is no telling how many electrical products are fakes. But they are for sale all over the internet and aren't always easy to detect. In fact, it's hard to know if a website, which offers what you're looking for, is legit at all. Many are set up to sell products that are made from fabricated intellectual property.

In May 2018, Rogelio Vasquez, the owner of PRB Logics Corp. in Orange County, Calif., seller of electronic components, was arrested for selling counterfeit integrated circuits. Worse, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, the products could have been used in military applications.

Vasquez used discarded integrated circuits from Chinese suppliers. They were repainted and remarked with counterfeit logos. Then they were remarked with altered date codes, lot codes or countries of origin and relabeled with more recognizable names like Xilinx, Analog Devices and Intel. It was outright deception. Customers would think they were new.

In the report, "Trends in Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Illicit Trade," the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) presented a comprehensive look at this issue. Electrical contractors need to be fully aware of the prevalence of fakes and counterfeits available for sale from global sources.

The report states: "The volume of international trade in counterfeit and pirated products could amount to as much as U.S. $509 billion. This represents up to 3.3 percent of world trade. This amount does not include domestically produced and consumed counterfeit and pirated products, or pirated digital products being distributed via the Internet. The previous OECD-EUIPO study, which relied on the same methodology, estimated that up to 2.5 percent of world trade was in counterfeit and pirated goods in 2013, equivalent to up to U.S. $461 billion."

The report refers to various products and equipment—not just electrical related. Many such items are on websites that appear legitimate. The prices are attractive, but the products are fake. In 2018, approximately 33,600 website domain names were criminally seized through a joint effort with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security, Europol, Interpol and police agencies from 26 different countries.

"Caveat emptor"—buyer beware—says it's the purchaser's responsibility to research goods before buying them. For the average person, the consequences of not heeding this advice is usually benign, but electrical contractors can't afford to risk purchasing any product that is fake or counterfeit. While officials work hard to sift such products out, they still end up in finished goods, original equipment and installed systems.

In 2017, Mary Denison, trademark commissioner of the Congressional Trademark Caucus, raised caution about the cost of counterfeit goods and the safety risk they pose.

"Counterfeit goods cost the United States billions of dollars and countless jobs annually," she said. "They also undermine consumer confidence in brand integrity when purchasers encounter knock-off goods of inferior quality. They reduce tax revenue, support organized crime and terrorism, undermine national security, reduce brand owner profit and innovation, increase prevention and enforcement costs, and yes, sometimes even kill people."

The best defense is awareness and skepticism. If a price seems too good, it very well may be. If a product looks brand name, but something is missing, it may be fake. Unless a product has your full confidence, proceed with caution.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.ecmag.com/section/safety/fakes-and-frauds-counterfeit-electrical-parts-and-equipment

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2020 NEC First Draft Now Open for Review and Public Comment

The National Electrical Code (NEC) is the most important and comprehensive document created for the practical safeguarding of persons and property from the use of electricity and its hazards. Right now, the 2020 edition is headed through the standards development process, and you have a chance to review the changes and submit public comments.

"The NEC is developed using an open consensus process that is governed by ANSI," said Michael Johnston, executive director of standards and safety for the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). "The NEC is the industry's electrical code, the best and most widely adopted electrical code in the world. As such, the NEC development process is transparent, allowing everyone to view what is being changed for the next edition and providing an opportunity to weigh in."

Johnston encouraged everyone to be part of the solution and tremendous work that goes into each edition of the Code.

The closing date for the public comment period is Aug. 30, 2018. Any objections or change requests must be made during this period.

After the public comment period, the technical committee will review the comments and meet to develop the second draft, which is scheduled to be posted on Apr. 5, 2019, beginning the period for notices of intent to make a motion (NITMAMs). During this time, the public may review the second draft and submit NITMAMs. The NITMAM closing date will be Apr. 26, 2019, and the posting date will be May 17, 2019.

This will conclude the public input and public comment stages; however, the NFPA Technical meeting, which is held each June at the NFPA Conference & Expo, provides a final opportunity to comment and discuss the 2020 NEC. For an opportunity to discuss proposed changes at this time, further NITMAMs must be submitted before the conference.

After that, the 2020 NEC is scheduled for issuance in August 2019.

Stay tuned for more as the 2020 NEC makes its way through the development process.

For more information and to submit a comment visit https://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/all-codes-and-standards/list-of-codes-and-standards/detail?code=70&tab=nextedition

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.ecmag.com/section/codes-standards/2020-nec-first-draft-now-open-review-and-public-comment 

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Previewing Changes from the NEC 2020 Code Review

Every three years, members of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) meet to review, modify and add new National Electrical Code (NEC), or NFPA 70, requirements to enhance electrical safety in the workplace and the home. This year's code review is well underway: the second draft of NEC 2020 is complete and the annual NFPA Conference and Expo is scheduled for late June.
What follows is a preview of what are, in my opinion, the most significant code changes on track to pass. In this blog, I'll explore the reasoning for each change and the future steps the NEC may take beyond 2020 regarding:

• Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection
• Service entrance equipment
• Reconditioned equipment
• Performance testing
• Load calculations
• Available fault current and temporary power

This is a high-level overview. In the coming months, my Eaton colleagues and I will dig deeper into each topic as part of a continuing series on the 2020 code review cycle.

GFCI protection
The 2020 change
Code-making panel 2 (CMP 2) removed the reference to 15A and 20A recognizing protection for any amp-rated receptacle outlet in the identified locations.
The rationale for change
This is a movement toward streamlining both 210.8(A) for dwelling units and 210.8(B) for other than dwelling units. Feedback suggested electrical engineers, suppliers and contractors now realize it doesn't matter where a GFCI is installed and that we need not identify different locations. CMP 2 also recognized that a hazard doesn't change when a circuit is greater than 20 amps. Whether an installation is 15 to 20 amps or 60 amps, circuit risks still exist and protection is warranted.
What might the future hold?
As GFCI requirements continue to change, product compatibility (unwanted tripping) still consumes some professionals, often without cause. Nevertheless, I believe the industry will continue to create new products that align with GFCIs. In addition, some believe it's prudent to extend GFCI protection to all branch circuits. I expect spirited debates regarding increased safety versus cost as the industry contemplates future code reviews.

Service entrance equipment
The 2020 change
NEC changes continue the mission of aligning code with product advances. Updates will address an array of safety issues:
• Service panelboards with six disconnects are no longer permitted
• Fire-fighter disconnects for one- and two-family dwellings are now included
• Line-side barrier requirements are expanded to service equipment beyond panelboards
• Arc reduction for services 1200 amps and greater must ensure arcing currents activate arc reduction technology
• Short-circuit current ratings (SCCR): pressure connectors and devices must be marked "suitable for use on the line side of the service equipment" or equivalent
• Surge protective devices are required for all dwelling units
The rationale for change
The NEC recognized the vulnerabilities and hazards associated with equipment and changed many longstanding rules. Because there's no protection from a utility, the NEC began changing service codes in the 2014 cycle and today is more aware of technologies and solutions that help mitigate and reduce the likelihood of arc flash and shock.
What might the future hold?
Rules that we have lived with and accepted for years are now in question as technology continues to advance. With that, safety knowledge within our industry and the NEC will continue to challenge norms.

Reconditioned equipment
The 2020 change
Updates will establish a foundation for future efforts to add clarity, expand and correct requirements within the NEC for reconditioned and used equipment. The changes are the NEC's first foray into ensuring proper reconditioning for electrical equipment.
The rationale for change
While reconditioned equipment has its merits, not all rebuilt devices are re-created equally. With that, the correlating committee put out a public comment to all code panels, asking each to consider equipment in their purview and determine what can and cannot be reconditioned per National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) allowances for refurbished equipment.
What might the future hold?
I see challenges on two fronts. First, the NEC will need to add more clarity to terminology around "reconditioning," "refurbishing" and the like. Secondly, changes do not dictate how resellers must refurbish equipment, which presents a safety concern. With that, resellers must rely on original manufacturer documentation. I believe the industry will see an increase in documentation awareness and raise more questions, such as listing refurbished equipment to one standard or many. The creation of additional listing marks may also stir debate.

Performance testing
The 2020 change
The NEC now requires primary current injection testing for some Article 240.87 equipment after installation. Following manufacturer instructions is also permitted as primary current injection testing may not always make sense.
The rationale for change
The stage was set with existing NEC requirements for field testing of ground-fault protection of equipment technologies upon installation, and no requirements exist for testing 240.87 equipment after installation. During public input phases, some in the industry expressed concerns with the cost of transporting test equipment, testing the correct areas of functionality and making sure manufacturers' test instructions are followed. The rule change addresses some of these concerns and, more importantly, advances worker safety.
What might the future hold?
The NEC determines what must be done; how changes are implemented is not something the NEC often defines. In that light, I'm working with NEMA to create testing processes and guidance and look forward to discussions that influence post-installation best practices.

Load calculations
The 2020 change
CMP 2 will reduce load calculation multipliers to account for higher-efficiency lighting solutions in other than dwelling units.
The rationale for change
The electrical industry has a strong focus on sustainability, reducing carbon footprints and creating technologies that reduce energy use. However, the NEC had yet to change load calculations to accommodate. 2020 code changes will account for lower VA usage of lighting loads and adjust calculations accordingly. Energy codes drive the changes; jurisdictions across the country enforce a variety of energy codes (or possibly none at all), and the proposed solution considers them all. Thus, the NEC will take a conservative approach toward reducing multipliers to assure circuits do not trip under normal conditions.
What might the future hold?
Opportunities exist to improve load calculations for other applications such as mission-critical healthcare systems, but the industry must proceed cautiously. The healthcare environment is one where power cannot go out, especially during medical emergencies. I believe the industry will work to understand worst-case load scenarios and determine a reasonable approach to load calculations for devices like feeders, branch circuits and service entrance equipment.

Available fault current and temporary power
The 2020 changes
The NEC will require marking available fault current on all equipment, including switchboards, switchgear and panelboards. Changes will impact temporary power equipment:
• Article 408.6 will extend to temporary power equipment and require markings for available fault current and the date of calculation
• Article 590.8(B) for temporary overcurrent protection devices between 150 volts to ground and 1000 volts phase-to-phase will be current limiting
The rationale for change
Panelboards, switchboards and switchgear were not part of the 2017 code update for marking available fault current. The NEC continues to take steps to increase the likelihood that ratings are higher than available short-circuit current. This is especially important for temporary power equipment that moves from job site to job site and experiences tremendous wear and tear. To ensure proper function, temporary equipment will reduce the power system stresses no matter where a given temporary system is installed.
What might the future hold?
The NEC continues to focus on the basics. Interrupting ratings and SCCR are important for safety, but they're not receiving proper attention in the field. I expect field marking of panels with SCCR and available fault current to drive change in the industry and raise awareness on how equipment is labeled to determine the SCCR rating. Some equipment base SCCR on the lowest interrupting rating overcurrent protection device, but inspectors and installers must be mindful of that scenario to ensure proper installation. Equipment labeling will come under scrutiny, as will the methods used to calculate fault currents.

Looking to the future

2020 code changes will be substantial in that the code-making panel looks to soon modify tried-and-true requirements—some of which have existed for decades. Of course, there are many details to consider both now and in the future. As part of this continuing series, my Eaton colleagues and I will dig deeper into each of the topics I've listed and offer opinions on where the NEC may take safety tomorrow. 

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/the-NEC-2020-code-review.html

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Harold P. Kopp, 77, invented the first electronic surge protector

This month P3 hosted the Power Quality University seminars on Surge Protection. It is only fitting that we acknowledge the inventor of SPDs: 

Harold P. Kopp: May 31, 1941 — Aug. 16, 2018

When Harold P. Kopp got his initial patent, it was for a device called the Zap Trap. It was the first electronic voltage surge suppressor, the predecessor to the power strips in widespread use today.

David Quagliana, his high school classmate and longtime friend, said it was inspired by a visit to the Standard Electronics store on Main Street in Buffalo to purchase metal oxide varistors, which protect electronic devices from power surges.

"They're the size of a dime," Quagliana said. "The store told him to solder them to the wire coming from a power plug and ground the other wire and if a surge comes along, instead of blowing up your television, these little things will absorb the shock. He invented this little box. You plug it into the wall and you plug the TV into the box."

It was enormously successful.

"I was at his office one day," Quagliana said, "and he showed me an order for a million of these surge protectors."

When Mr. Kopp discovered Radio Shack copied his design, he filed a successful lawsuit for patent infringement and received royalties for the device.

He died Aug. 16, 2018 after a short illness in Banner Gateway Medical Center, Gilbert, Ariz. He was 77.

Born in Buffalo, as a teen he led ponies for a children's ride, was a golf caddy, set pins at a bowling alley, sold baked goods door-to-door, bused tables, shined shoes and bagged groceries.

He graduated from Seneca Vocational High School in 1959 and enlisted in the Navy as a radio repair technician, attaining the rank of petty officer second class. He was stationed in St. John's, Newfoundland, maintaining radar equipment, when he met Sarah Boland in a restaurant near the base. They were married in 1961.

Returning to Buffalo, he began working for Ross Pfaff at Sharpe Instruments and the two became not only close friends, but business partners. Forming a company called Sarron, they developed a speech compressor to improve citizen's band (CB) radio transmissions.

He went on to work at Magtrol, Delevan Electronics, Gaymar Industries and Taber Instruments, where he developed and fabricated a variety of electronic items.

He also had been repairing electronics in his basement until 1970, when he purchased a television repair shop at Cleveland Drive and Union Road in Cheektowaga. H. P. Kopp Electronics became one of the earliest factory-authorized warranty repair shops, eventually working with 86 different companies.

After joining with a childhood friend in Polytronics — which produced the Zap Trap — he founded Industrial Commercial Electronics Inc. in 1979, initially offering electronic repair services to industrial and commercial customers. It went on to develop and manufacture more of his inventions.

One of them was SureTest, a portable device for testing power circuits. Another was the Motor Miser, which reduced the use of energy in industrial electric motors.

Writing about the company, Buffalo News reporter Brian Meyer noted: "The SureTest analyzer is to wiring what smoke detectors are to homes. Plug the bright yellow analyzer into an electrical outlet and it will detect deficiencies that could cause fires, equipment malfunctions or other problems."

"Every electrical inspector in New York City has one of those SureTests," Quagliana said. "It will verify if a line can carry 15 amperes or 20 amperes."

Mr. Kopp stepped down as president of Industrial Commercial Electronics in 1993 and continued as executive vice president for engineering until it closed in 2000.

As a result of radiation from radar, he developed cancer and underwent surgery while still in the Navy. He was stricken with esophageal cancer in 1997.

"The surgery was 13 hours long," his daughter, Sarah "Sally" LaPorte said. "When he woke up from the surgery, he was blind."

In recent years, he occasionally regained partial sight in his left eye as he worked on developing Tuff Block, an unbreakable LED lighting system inside glass blocks for driveways and landscaping.

A lifelong amateur radio operator, he got his first license at age 9 and at the time was the youngest person in the United States to receive one. With call letters K2YZO, he was known around the world.

After he and his second wife, the former Kay Metz, moved from Clarence to Gilbert in 2008, he changed his call sign to K7YZ0.

In Gilbert, Mr. Kopp was a mentor to many start-up business owners and was always ready to share stories of his successes and failures.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://buffalonews.com/2018/09/26/harold-p-kopp-77-invented-the-first-electronic-surge-protector/

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Become part of the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES)

P3 works in coordination with IEEE and provides seminars through Power Quality University offering IEEE educational credits. If your work involves engineering or working with engineers in electric power and energy, consider belonging to IEEE Power and Energy Society.

As a member of PES, you can make a significant impact on the future of the industry, and thereby humanity. IEEE PES provides numerous ways to make a difference, including lending your expertise to develop standards and other technical works, mentoring young engineers, publishing research, educating your colleagues, participating in humanitarian and other volunteer activities.

Just as importantly, a PES membership can really help you:
• Grow and maintain your technical expertise
• Keep you connected to other like-minded professionals
• Provide ways for you contribute to the future of our industry
• Save you money
... and ultimately help advance your career.

Join the IEEE PES global 38,000+ member organization -- the leading provider of information on electric power and energy for the betterment of society. 

 P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

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Crazy Electrical Miracle Cures of the Past

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the mysterious power of electricity was promoted as a secret to health and vitality with some pretty wacky devices.

A century and more along the way, it's difficult to recapture the excitement that surrounded electricity in the early days, when it first became widely available and visionaries and hucksters began exploring its many possible uses. But the Internet bears some hints.

Here is a gallery of some of the fanciful, frightening and truly strange devices that were promoted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as miracle cures for just about any ailment you can name. It's a reminder of how far we have come in the scientific testing and verification of claims about the health effects of electricity, and perhaps a cautionary note that we shouldn't take modern cures at face value either.

Since that time, of course, many medically valuable forms of electrotherapy, such as electrical muscle stimulation used in physical therapy, have brought relief to many patients, but a look back at the way it all started provides some valuable context. Enjoy. 

"Hercules" Tesla Coil 

A high voltage Tesla coil used for patient treatment in the Victorian era quack medical field of electrotherapy around 1907. This was the "Hercules" model manufactured by Frederick Finch Strong. It produced radio frequency voltages of several hundred thousand volts and low current levels at frequencies of around 1 MHz. A pointed electrode connected by a wire to the high voltage terminal of the coil was held by the physician, and the luminous sparklike brush discharge was played over parts of the patient's body to treat various medical conditions. This was not painful for the patient, because electric currents with frequencies over 10 kHz do not cause the sensation of electric shock.

​ The Electra-Vita Therapeutic Electric Belt

"To people who suffer from chronic troubles of any kind...we offer a cure at a price within the reach of all. We have no drugs to sell you. The remedy we offer is electricity - that's nature's medicine...Electra-Vita is a scientific device for saturating the nerves and vitals with a steady, unbroken current of electric life for hours at a time while you sleep, without the least shock or unpleasant situation," says the ad. University of Washington, Special Collections

Auto-Conduction Cage​ 

"Treatment of a patient with high frequency electric currents using an "auto-conduction cage" in 1903, used in the Victorian-era quack medical field of electrotherapy. A Tesla coil in the cabinet (left rear) produces high voltage high frequency alternating current which is applied to the metal cage with the patient inside." Wikimedia Commons description.

 Treatment of Cancer by Cytolsis

"The treatment of cancer by high frequency cytolysis using the d'Arsonval-Gaiffe apparatus." Wellcome Collection description

 Oudin Coil for Electrotherapy

An Oudin coil used for 'electrotherapy' treatment of a patient's knee around 1907. The Oudin coil (left), invented in 1893 by physician Paul Marie Oudin, was a spark-excited resonant transformer circuit similar to a Tesla coil which generated very high voltage, low current radio frequency electricity, used until perhaps 1925 in the Victorian era field of electrotherapy.

 Electrotherapy Machine for Home Use

This ornate machine looks like an elaborately made clock but is actually used for electrotherapy. This involved the delivering of electric shocks to the patient for its supposed therapeutic value. It was very popular during the 1800s and was claimed to help a wide variety of illnesses, including neuralgia, asphyxia, sciatica, toothache, rheumatism, and tic douloureux; which are painful nervous spasms in the face. The electric current is created by electromagnetic induction. The machine could have been used by doctors, professionally qualified or not, but was also intended for home use.

​Hydro-Electric Bath​ 

he hydro-electric bath is useful in many diseases for its stimulating and tonic effects as well as for its trophic influence. It is applicable in anaemia, chlorosis, rickets, rheumatism, gout, sciatica, etc." From Röntgen rays and electro-therapeutics: with chapters on radium and phototherapy, by Mihran Krikor Kassabian (1910)

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See the original full article at: https://www.ecmweb.com/galleries/electric-snake-oil-quack-miracle-cures-past

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NFPA 70E takes a leap forward in defining risk assessment for energized work

Understanding the improvements

Just a few years ago, the standard was comprised of five "hazard-risk" categories that outlined the required personal protection equipment (PPE) a worker had to wear to reduce electrical arc flash exposure. But today's version addresses hazard and risk separately, to help site managers and technicians better understand the dangers of energized work via a series of linear steps.

For this process to work, all parties must have an understanding of "hazard" and "risk."

  • A hazard is the calculated heat energy at any given point of an electrical system and is used to determine the correct level of PPE. A hazard is either present or not present.
  • Risk is the combination of likelihood and severity of a potential injury while performing the work task.

To further illustrate risk, consider an electrician at a manufacturing plant operating a circuit-breaker disconnect on a 480-volt low-voltage motor control center (MCC) with the enclosure door closed. The likelihood of a shock injury is near zero, with no exposure to energized conductors, and the likelihood of an arc flash event is extremely low. Now consider a task where the electrician is testing or troubleshooting using a multi-meter to test phase voltages with the MCC enclosure door open. The hazard is the same, but the risk of electrical injury from shock hazard and arc flash is higher because the electrician is exposed to energized conductors.

Know the chances of an arc flash with a thorough risk analysis

NFPA 70E requires an exhaustive risk assessment before energized work begins — a great safety advancement. A risk assessment reviews electrical hazards, the planned work task and the protective measures required to maintain an acceptable level of risk. In practice, this means scheduling a work-plan meeting to discuss and document issues for the task at hand, the tools required, maintenance history of the equipment, test records of the equipment requiring energized work and the calculated amount of heat-energy exposure. The following summarizes the steps technicians should follow before performing energized work:

  1. Characterize the hazard or the electrical process involved.
  2. Identify the energized work to be performed.
  3. Define failures that could result from exposure to electrical hazards and the potential for harm.
  4. Assess the severity of the potential injury.
  5. Determine the likelihood of the occurrence for every hazard. This includes consideration of the resulting impact of possible human error based on the planned work task, such as a tool dropped near energized conductors at a worker's feet.
  6. Define the level of risk for the associated hazard.
  7. Wear appropriate PPE as determined during the hazard analysis. If the risk is too great, do not perform the energized task.

"The changes result in a clearer understanding of energized work and help reduce electrical incidents."
David B. Durocher, global mining, metals, and minerals industry manager

We're all human… and NFPA 70E takes that into account

One new and important aspect of NFPA 70E's prescribed risk analysis is the recognition of human error, as seen in step five, above. Per the standard, "Risk assessment procedures shall address the potential for human error and its negative consequences on people, processes, the work environment and equipment." With that, standard users should not only look to have a detailed process for performing energized work, but also maintain some method of quantifying human error.

In my opinion, accounting for error is an important addition to this evolving standard. To this end, some organizations require the issuance of energized work permits that account for the human element. This puts the onus on site leadership to double-check every detail before giving energized work the go-ahead, ensuring an extra level of business accountability. If work involves unacceptable levels of hazard and/or risk, a decision to perform the work during a future planned outage can be made.

Leadership must take the lead on safety

NFPA 70E is an industry-consensus guide, not binding law, so it's up to an individual business to choose to implement a site-specific electrical safety program. And it's important to note that industries do exist where turning off the power can lead to more severe problems. There are instances in the oil and gas industry, for example, where turning off the power can lead to a greater hazard than working on energized equipment. That said, I believe it's in everyone's best interest to wait for a planned future outage whenever possible instead of working on energized electrical equipment.

Of course, leadership teams have the right to make their own choices. While one group may choose to issue energized work permits, another may skip that step, which is completely within its purview. However, organizations that forego work permits can pay a price. If someone is injured or killed during energized work, regulatory organizations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) may require an explanation as to how the work was allowed and ask for detailed safety program documentation, including a work permit.

Beyond the standard, new technologies support recent trends of performing energized work outside a defined NFPA 70E flash-protection boundary. Site managers can look to network-connected devices, such as motor management relays, partial discharge on-line monitors and motorized racking technologies, to gather the information they need to troubleshoot electrical systems without requiring workers to suit up and work on energized equipment.

To increase safety, follow NFPA 70E

While it's always better to wait for a planned outage to work on electrical equipment, that's not always an option. Should you need to perform energized work, be sure to identify the hazards and risks and complete a thorough risk analysis that considers all potential risks, including human error. With a clearer understanding of the consensus standards and maintenance/troubleshooting requirements of a defined energized task, you can do more to advance a safety culture at your site, helping to reduce the chances of future shock and arc flash events. 

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

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Up to Code: LED Lighting and Compliance Standards

Evolving guidelines for building energy usage, occupant comfort increasingly put LED lighting systems at the heart of code compliance

In a world where building energy efficiency is increasingly prized, pursued and rewarded, it's no surprise that it's also becoming not only expected, but mandated.

Energy-related codes and standards developed by entities committed to setting a high, but attainable bar for efficiency in new and refurbished structures are gaining more visibility and buy-in from jurisdictions that oversee and regulate development.

From the ASHRAE/IES 90.1 building energy standard to ICC's International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) to California's Title 24 Energy Code, needlessly wasted energy in buildings is in the crosshairs, becoming less tolerable with each revision cycle. They all continue to raise the performance bar, reflecting heightened interest in environmental stewardship and operational cost savings, as well as technology advancements.

Over time, many states have incorporated these energy standards and codes into their building codes. But most have been slow to regularly adopt updated versions, resulting in a patchwork of codes of varying rigor. But the pace and breadth of modernization could begin to pick up in the wake of the U.S. Department of Energy's decision last year to anoint the 2016 version of ASHRAE 90-.1 – ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2016 – as the national energy reference standard, and to require state building codes to incorporate it, or an equivalent standard such as the 2018 IECC, by February 2020.

Then, presumably, many state building codes will become more demanding in terms of how structures are designed and built from an energy efficiency perspective. Building designs will have to advance to the next level, incorporating upgraded materials, architecture, mechanical equipment and other components of the infrastructure that together reduce structures' energy footprint.

And a prime focus will continue to be building lighting, a big energy user that has drawn increasing amounts of attention in energy code revisions over time, especially as solid-state lighting technology has advanced and brought energy-saving LED lighting into the mainstream. More demanding energy codes, required to be reflected in more state building codes, translates to the near-inevitability of LED becoming the default lighting choice.

Lighting gets a wealth of attention for good reason: it's one of the single largest contributors to a building's energy load and overall electric grid demand. DOE estimates from 2016 put the annual energy consumption from the nation's 7-billion installed lighting systems at about 5.5 million quads, or 15 percent of the nation's total electricity usage.

Lighting, in other words, is low-hanging fruit ripe for the picking in energy savings pursuits. And it's been made much more possible with the advent of solid-state lighting technologies. Advances in LED lighting that have improved performance and lowered costs of solutions have propelled adoption and yielded significant energy savings for users replacing traditional incandescent or fluorescent lighting. DOE says that installed LED lighting systems in the U.S, estimated to number 874 million in 2016, probably saved some 458 trillion BTUs of source energy.

Little wonder, then, that LED lighting is becoming a foundational element of energy codes and standards. While energy savings is still achievable with enhancements to legacy lighting system design and products, LEDs provide the most direct, though often not the cheapest up-front path to long-term savings on energy needed for lighting. As newer generations of building lighting efficiency targets are developed to reflect new technology and higher aims, LEDs are a primary means to an end.

"The 2019 version of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 has shifted to an all-LED baseline in developing the lighting power density values," says Michael Myer, senior lighting researcher with DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which assists code-making bodies.

Noting that the newest Title 24 standard also is entirely LED-based, Myer says LED is developing a stronger foothold, and that that's being reflected in code revisions.

"Specifiers, engineers and designers are all primarily specifying LED products," he says. "Shipments of incandescent, fluorescent and HID lamps are all down significantly since 2011."

Energy codes and standards aren't the only building-design-guideline trends that bear watching from a lighting perspective. Those that address the building environment for occupants and users, such as the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED standard and the International Well Building Institute's WELL standard, promote user-friendly lighting systems as an element of occupant experience-focused design. They prioritize systems that are highly controllable from a light delivery, quality and intensity perspective and reflect growing knowledge of the effects that both poor-quality and high-quality light, broadly defined, can have on human beings.

LED lighting, increasingly offering capabilities for high-level control of elements such as dimming and color rendering, stands to become a cornerstone of building design projects that seek LEED and WELL certification. And LED is on track to have a central role in the emerging study of human-centric lighting (HCL), which posits that subtle, but controllable light qualities related to color and intensity affect human circadian rhythms that are linked to health and well-being. HCL is a concept that could find its way into future lighting designs, as well as next-generation building standards.

As knowledge of the impact that the built environment has on the human experience grows, the evolution of codes and standards that address it should be closely watched. And given the central role of lighting in that environment, lighting designers and contractors should pay extra close attention. Moreover, the place that LED lighting technology will have in reducing energy usage and improving occupant experience means they should be investing in greater understanding of LED options and the changing code and standard specifications that relate to LED technology.

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See the original full article at: https://www.ewweb.com/lighting/code-led-lighting-and-compliance-standards?partnerref=UM_SIGWP_EW_001&utm_rid=CPG04000000918978&utm_campaign=25586&utm_medium=email&elq2=a8024c34bba448589376c72f5778fe60

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NEC Requirements for Information Technology Equipment

Article 645 of the 2017 Edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC) covers equipment, power supply wiring, equipment interconnecting wiring, and grounding (bonding) of information technology (IT) equipment and systems in IT equipment rooms.

Many other areas in the NEC apply to these rooms [Sec. 645.3(A) through (I)]. For example, the non-current-carrying conductive members of optical fiber cables within such a room must be bonded per Sec. 770.14 [645.3(C)]. And you'll find sections of half a dozen other Articles referenced in Sec. 645.3(B)(1) through (6).

You can use Art. 645's wiring methods instead of the wiring methods of Chapter 3 and Parts I and V of Art. 770, but only if you meet the conditions listed in Sec. 645.4(1) through (6).

Branch circuits supplying one or more units of IT equipment must have an ampacity of at least 125% of the total connected loads. If you run branch circuit supply conductors under a raised floor, you must install them per the requirements in Sec. 300.11. You must also use the wiring methods of Sec. 300.22(C) and/or the 17 wiring methods listed in Sec. 645.5(E)(1)(b)(1) through (17).

OCPDs supplying critical systems must be selectively coordinated [645.27] with all supply side OCPDs. 

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You already have OSHA, so why also follow NFPA 70E? And if NFPA 70E can actually make you safer, why don't the OSHA regulations include it?

The OSHA regulations govern the employer. Their main thrust is to ensure the employer has a safety program that meets specific standards of performance and the employer properly trains the employees to conform with that program.

NFPA 70E helps employers and employees provide a practical safe working area relative to the hazards arising from the use of electricity.

So OSHA and NFPA 70E work together. Not only that, key OSHA personnel have been involved in the development of NFPA 70E for quite some time. They have worked directly with electrical industry leaders, including executives of electrical service firms.

It's not an either/or choice. The employer is legally obligated to conform to OSHA regulations. But is the employer obligated to use NFPA 70E? In a practical sense, yes. When the employer and employees utilize NFPA 70E, they reduce hazards not only to employees but to the companies they work for. The financial, operational, and emotional impact on a firm when an employee suffers an arc blast or electrocution can be severe.

NFPA 70E is a practical guide. But don't forget the value of a safety culture. This must be nurtured from the top down and from the bottom up. When everyone is thinking of how to identify hazards and protect workers from them, the way people use NFPA 70E will be far more effective than if they are trying to see what they can get by with or counting on luck (which tends to run out sooner or later).


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See the original full article at: https://www.ecmweb.com/safety/nfpa-70e-versus-osha?NL=ECM-004&Issue=ECM-004_20190315_ECM-004_545&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_3_b&utm_rid=CPG04000000918978&utm_campaign=25423&utm_medium=email&elq2=1c55ed77278742ffbb37a2e6cdaca718

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Innovation Days: Design Engineer Seminar

 April 9-10, 2019

807 Corporate Centre Drive
O'Fallon, Missouri 63368

The first opportunity of 2019 to see the constantly evolving
Schneider Electric Technology Center in St. Louis!

Join us for an interactive and hands on education session. See our Power Lab,
ask questions to our subject matter experts on critical power trends and learn how
Schneider Electric can help you solve your clients problems.

Get information that will keep you on the cutting edge of the latest technologies.
Meet other engineers from across the country to knowledge share & expand your network.

9 PDH credits will be given for this complimentary seminar.

P3 strives to bring you quality relevant industry related news.

See the original full article at: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/401497/855549/

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