Weather-Related Disasters Lead to Opportunities, Lessons

Recent records were set for weather-related disasters, with repair costs in the multibillion-dollar range. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has kept a yearly count of floods, heatwaves, tropical storms, hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires since 1980. In terms of frequency and severity, these events have risen exponentially.

In 2020, we saw unprecedented wildfires in the West, six hurricanes in the South, numerous tropical storms, tornadoes, an ice storm with hail the size of softballs, and a derecho windstorm responsible for tearing up crop fields, homes, and businesses across the Midwest. These weather-related catastrophes lead to states of emergency in multiple regions across the United States. Thousands of plants, animals, and people died. Additionally, the monetary repercussions totaled $96 billion.

Conversely, a fruit crop freeze led to disaster in Florida. Combined with a few storms and tornadoes scattered throughout the country, 1981’s financial total for cleanup due to weather-related disasters was a mere $2.9 billion.

Record snowfall, below-average temperatures, ice storms, record-breaking fires, and mass floods have knocked out power across Texas, California, and Michigan so far this year.

Brett Brenner, president of the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), said, “We’re just not prepared for disasters of this scale. From what we’re seeing in the electrical trades, most of the time, it’s complacency and less-experienced people [DIY homeowners setting up equipment or business owners reusing damaged equipment] coming into the picture that are the cause of injuries. It’s not so much about what we aren’t already equipped to handle.”

Therefore, these unanticipated risks are caused by human intervention rather than climate. ESFI is dedicated to educating the public on what they can do to reduce dangers for themselves and emergency responders such as positioning electrical equipment above flood levels, taking precautions when using generators, evaluating water-logged power-driven gear, and more.

Protection of homes, businesses, employees, and clients is vital to success. By providing the proper equipment, training, and education, disaster zones can be more easily remediated by all. Businessowners and employees share the responsibility of working safely when it comes to disaster relief and daily performance.

Consider the following tips:

  • Maintain a cordial, in-person relationship with your insurance provider.
  • Ensure employees are well-trained and incentivized to work safely.
  • Conduct routine safety meetings.
  • Review insurance coverage and business needs on an annual basis.
  • Evaluate possible hazards and create plans to recuperate if disaster strikes.
  • Create risk management plans based on weather-related emergencies.
  • Appoint certain employees to execute specific steps if severe weather occurs.

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. Call us at 877-844-5514 or visit us at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Helping Wildlife Through Power Line Corridors

For safe and reliable electrical transmission, bushhogging, seeding, and herbicides are used to control weeds. Along high-voltage power line corridors and local distribution systems, a low profile must be implemented so trees and other tall vegetation do not fall onto lines. Tree branches and shrubbery meeting power lines equals interference sparking outages, wildfires, and other issues. Federal and state requirements are in place, which set guidelines for managing vegetation along power line passages.

Utility companies can manage their own power line vegetation issues based on their rights-of-way (ROWs) beyond basic trimming and mowing. By promoting native low-growing vegetative communities, utility companies can offer safe, reliable operation of infrastructure while simultaneously benefiting local wildlife such as songbirds, pollinators, and more. Additionally, adding low-growing, native vegetation can contribute to corporate sustainability goals, lower the site’s carbon footprint, reduce long-term maintenance costs, and beautify the landscape.

Power line ROWs make up substantial property countrywide, meaning implementing these strategies, called Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM), could provide nearly five million acres of habitat for pollinators and other wildlife. Some of the benefits for wildlife include food sources, shelter, and nesting areas.

Rick Johnstone, president of IVM Partners Inc., explained, “If you use the right techniques and the right chemistry, you’ll restore the habitat that used to be there but hadn’t been allowed to be there due to routine cutting. If you kill the root systems of unwanted species, the seeds in the soil will have a chance to grow.”

According to Johnstone, the typical methods of constant mowing and tree-cutting generally promote regrowth of negative vegetation such as invasive species (aggressive, non-native plants). The relentless re-growth results in frequent maintenance, leading to elevated labor costs.

Instead, IVM is a more enticing practice, as it can deploy appropriate, environmentally-sound, cost-effective methods to control undesirable vegetation. Techniques include bushhogging, mowing, selective tree cutting, herbicide applications, biological controls, and seeding.

“The vegetation pretty much manages itself,” once you get a compatible plant community which usually takes a couple of years, Johnstone said. After that, only periodic treatments will be needed.

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. Call us at 877-844-5514 or visit us at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Infrastructure Plan Could Bring Electrical Contracting Boom

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2021 “Report Card for America’s Infrastructure,” the United States received an overall C- grade for the state of its infrastructure. Every spring, the nation’s student bodies, businesses, organizations, and local governments (including federal) receive a report card measuring performance.

The report acknowledges the nation’s inadequately updated infrastructure, including the electrical grid. The American Jobs Plan presented by President Joe Biden will cost roughly $2 trillion. Around $698 billion is set aside for the electrical grid, water systems, broadband, school systems, and more.

Funded by an increase in the corporate tax rate (21 percent increased 28 percent), there are many unknowns about how the plan will pan out through the upcoming months. With significant push-back in the Senate expected, the plan could eventually be scaled back.

Biden said that his vision of “building back better” could lead to the creation of “up to 16 million good-paying jobs,” in his May 6 speech in Lake Charles, LA. Biden described it as a “blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America and supercharge our economy.”

James Farrell, executive director of government affairs for the National Electrical Contractors Association, is a proponent of the proposed plan. He said, “The state of our infrastructure is a mess, and we’re at a major disadvantage in terms of its efficiency, quality, and safety when compared to many developed countries. The American Jobs Plan is a very ambitious proposal that will help rebuild and modernize our nation’s infrastructure, and, if this plan or any infrastructure plan is enacted with significant federal resources, it would be a huge boost to the electrical construction industry.”

Farrell said, among its many benefits, “We anticipate a number of jobs to be created as projects roll out from the infrastructure plan over the next few years, as economic studies show that every $1 billion in infrastructure investment creates 28,500 direct and indirect jobs, providing our economy and American taxpayers with a high return on investment.”

With more electricians exiting the industry than joining each year, electrical contracting is seeing a well-known shortage of skilled labor. By 2024, as many as 85,000 unfulfilled positions will be available, according to recent forecasts by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The investment proposed in the plan could lead to between $100- to $200-billlion in electrical contracting activity, along with up to 600 million incremental worker-hours.

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. Call us at 877-844-5514 or visit us at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Sanitizing with UV Light

LED lighting is all the rage these days. Add some Ultraviolet (UV) to make UV-LED and voila – an antimicrobial disinfectant perfect for the pandemic. With germs a serious global concern, UV-LED is an easy option for sanitizing.

When LEDs are tuned to wavelengths between 405 to 425 nanometers (nm), bacteria, mold, mildew, and fungi are deactivated and inhibited. The antimicrobial space is full of manufacturers offering UV-LED as a disinfectant for viruses and bacteria.

Jennifer Brons, research program coordinator for Mount Sinai Health System’s Light and Health Research Center in New York, said, “COVID-19 has raised our consciousness regarding germ spread. Disinfection light is getting a renewed look and a renewed R&D.”

The Mount Sinai Health System’s Light and Health Research Center was launched in February and is part of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Their mission is to research the influence of light on mental and physical health. UV disinfection technology is an aspect of study within the center.

Brons and her colleagues selected the least expensive and most widely available UV disinfectant products for their research. The UV-C wavelength was found in tests to be the most effective at bacterial and viral disinfection (roughly 1,000 times more.) Therefore, UV-A is a safer approach as UV-C can be damaging at high levels of exposure.

UV-LED is a newer technology; therefore, other UV-C lighting is being tested by the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories at Boston University for its ability to immobilize SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. On contaminated surfaces, the manufacturer’s lab testing has shown a destroying rate of 99% against Sars-CoV-2.

UV-LED for water treatment is in high demand. UV-C is used to kill viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens in water within seconds. Oliver Lawal, president and CEO of AquiSense Technologies, said, “We offered a UV-LED water disinfection product five years before anyone else.” The company is also developing applications for air and surface decontamination.

Using light as a disinfectant is helpful to decontaminate germs and viruses within our environment. With more research, light sanitation is positioned for exponential growth.

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. Call us at 877-844-5514 or visit us at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

The Decade of Electricity: 2020s

Global warming, climate change, whichever you call it, is a defining issue of our time. Debated and discussed in homes, educational settings, board rooms, and governments worldwide, everyone can agree that fossil-based energy is a significant part of the problem. To circumvent future (potentially more catastrophic) issues, changes must be made. Over 100 countries have committed to net zero economies in the upcoming 30 years, and more are anticipated.

Global cooperation is possible as long as everyone is working toward the same goal. Net-zero is achieved when human-caused emissions are balanced out by removing Global Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) from the atmosphere, commonly known as carbon removal. GHGs originate from fossil-fueled vehicles and factories, for example. By restoring forests, shifting to electric vehicles, phasing out coal plants, or using other carbon-removal technologies, global emissions can be effectively reduced.

Countless changes and upheavals of outdated systems must occur to achieve this global goal, which is where electricity comes in. Electricity has been making advancements in wind and solar energy, and battery storage. The importance of electrification and energy efficiency is highlighted in nearly every country’s “roadmap” to a net-zero economy.

Battery and electric solutions are becoming increasingly prevalent. To support the transition, we will need to make sure existing technologies such as wind and solar batteries are cheap and undergoing innovation. Electric vehicles, heat pumps, electrolysis, and more are just the beginning of this trend. 

To ensure that electricity is efficiently produced and available when needed, we will need strict protocols on data usage and security, which can be addressed by building these requirements in during the design stages.

Investment strategies might start to include Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria, green bond standards, and low-carbon taxonomies. Low-cost money exists in international markets; the energy transition requires significant investment in areas traditional investors might not have ventured. Regulators will be vital to support the transition to low-carbon energy systems to drive out electrification and ensure the most efficient use of power systems. As technology advances, more steps will become clear.

Need an electrical part? Contact the experts at J&P Electrical today.

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. Call us at 877-844-5514 or visit us at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com

U.S. Beat Projections for Power Sector Emission Cuts

A new study published by the United States Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory entitled, “Halfway to Zero,” showed that the power sector has unexpectedly reduced emissions throughout the past 15 years.

Projections made in the United States Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2005 Annual Energy Outlook estimated that power industry emissions would increase by 27 percent to just above 3,000 million metric tons (MMT) of carbon emissions in 15 years, ending in 2020.

The power sector has dropped 50 percent below initial projections, reaching zero emissions. The carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector in 2020 were 1,450 MMT, which is over 50 percent lower than the original forecasts and also 40 percent of the 2005 levels.

Public policy, markets, and technology have given way to the swift drop, according to the study. Demand for electricity was 24 percent lower in 2020 than what was predicted by the EIA in 2005. Outperforming expectations, wind- and solar-powered energy delivered 13 times more generation in 2020.

Hydropower, biomass, and geothermal are not in the calculations; however, if they were, the study noted that renewable performance is 79 percent higher than projected. Therefore, the total amount of renewable electricity surpassed expectations by an even larger margin.

Not only is this good news for the environment; it is also good news for the economy. The study showed that power supply-related employment was 29 percent more than 2020 predictions. Since the renewable energy division is so job-intensive, more jobs are required per output than fossil fuels, according to the study.

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. Call us at 877-844-5514 or visit us at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

What to Do with Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment

April showers lead to May…electrical equipment damage? Springtime can bring damaging thunderstorms and flooding. In the typical rainy season throughout the United States, flooding is a byproduct. Determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, flood zones are mapped out based on drainage characteristics, grading, and buildings in the area. Flood exposure depends on whether the building is within the 100-year flood plain. Flood maps are only reliable until the following construction season forces grading to change, which affects drainage. If a building is within an official flood plain, mortgage holders typically require the owner to possess flood insurance.

If electrical equipment has been submerged, it should immediately be de-energized from a safe location, preventing further damage to equipment. Flood water generally affects equipment in a building as it contains sediment such as plant residue, sticks, mud, dirt, hazardous materials, oil, and more. When floods strike, some sort of advanced warning is usually given, which might allocate some time to de-energize equipment and mitigate electrical hazards, including arcing and shock.

The first question is whether the equipment is damaged and how much exposure it has had to water. If an entire room is flooded, a significant exposure issue will arise. If some fine water spray misted the electrical equipment, the damage probably would not be too substantial. Immediately wipe or clean the equipment to minimize corrosion. Equipment manufacturers can offer guidance and recommendations based on their products.

After water damage, a great resource to look to for suggestions is NEMA GD-1, “Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment.” This document “Provides advice on the safe handling of electrical equipment that has been exposed to water. Outlines items that will require complete replacement or that can be reconditioned by a trained professional. Equipment covered includes electrical distribution equipment, motor circuits, power equipment, transformers, wire, cable and flexible cords, wiring devices, GFCIs and surge protectors, lighting fixtures and ballasts, motors and electronic products.”

Need new equipment or suggestions for remediation? The experts at J&P Electrical are available to answer your questions. Contact us today!

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. Call us at 877-844-5514 or visit us at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Optimism Rises in Commercial Contractor Field

A report from the United States Chamber of Commerce revealed that commercial contractors are becoming more optimistic about the future. The report noted that contractor optimism is being driven primarily by a rise in revenue expectations and better outlooks on hiring and equipment spending plans.

During the first quarter of 2021, 36 percent of contractors reported they anticipated their revenue to increase over the rest of the year, rising 25 percent from the last quarter of 2020.

A moderate to high level of confidence was reported by 86 percent of contractors regarding the United States market’s ability to provide new business in 2021. In the fourth quarter of 2020, 19 percent of respondents said their confidence level was high; in 2021, almost a quarter (24 percent) reported the same.

The report stated, “The score of revenue expectations, one of the index’s three leading indicators, jumped five points to 57, while contractors’ confidence in new business opportunities rose two points to 59.”

In the upcoming six months, 46 percent of contractors said they would employ more people, making hiring plans gain traction, up from 37 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. Only three percent of contractors expect to diminish staffing, down from 12 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020; 46 percent expect to keep the same amount of personnel.

Neil Bradley, executive vice president, chief policy officer, and head of strategic advocacy for the United States Chamber of Commerce, said, “The industry still has a way to go to return to pre-pandemic levels, but rising optimism in the commercial construction industry is a positive sign for the broader economy.”

For all of your electrical contractor equipment needs, contact the experts at J&P Electrical today.

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. Call us at 877-844-5514 or visit us at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Electrical Contractor Industry Affected by Labor Shortages

Now that construction activity is starting to ramp up again following the COVID-19 pandemic, a familiar issue is facing the industry: labor shortages.

Total hires and job openings within the industry as of Dec. 31, 2020 were down slightly from 2019 before the pandemic forced shutdowns and industry layoffs. The 2020 Marcum JOLTS Analysis showed that the number of job openings was equal to 2.6 percent of available construction jobs, meaning there were 195,000 unfilled positions.

The report’s authors wrote, “When the pandemic began, some thought (and hoped) that the massive job losses observed in March and April would mitigate the skilled labor shortages that have frustrated construction firms for years. That simply hasn’t happened to any meaningful degree.”

Thirteen thousand more workers quit their construction jobs than those who were laid off or discharged by their employers as of December 31.

Wages in the employees’ market are also rising; average hourly earnings for construction employees reached their highest level on record: $32.11 in January 2021. Moreover, average weekly hours worked rose to peak level since 2019’s third quarter.

“This is what might be expected from a strong economy operating under normal circumstances, not one facing a lingering pandemic and elevated unemployment,” the report said.

Certain regions are concentrated areas for job openings within the industry. “Parts of the U.S. like the Southeast, Texas, Colorado, and segments of the Mid-Atlantic region have surging residential marketplaces and reasonably stable levels of nonresidential activity. Other areas, like the Northeast and certain parts of the Midwest, where much of the industry’s job losses have occurred and where population has been stagnant or declining for years, are home to an abundance of unemployed construction workers,” the report stated. 

As the pandemic continues to subside, there are three things to watch according to the report:

  1. Whether construction workers who quit/laid off will return
  2. Whether nonresidential construction will rebound like the residential sector
  3. Whether public construction will continue

For all of your electrical construction needs, contact the experts at J&P electrical today.

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. Call us at 877-844-5514 or visit us at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Artificial Intelligence Could Be Answer for Mass Power Outages

While some hospitals were forced to use snow water to flush toilets, some homeowners used fence wood as firewood to heat their homes. The power outages in Texas and the southeast wreaked havoc on the area, creating a tragic situation that consequently pushed the nation’s fragile energy grids into the spotlight.

Energy planning has become somewhat of a pipe dream thanks to unexpected cold fronts, heat waves, snowstorms, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding. These natural disasters cause power fluctuations and unpredictable availability of green energy sources.

While solutions are varied and complex, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can optimize energy distribution across the grid and is aimed to help the utilities instantly know how much of what type of energy to deliver where.

In Texas, grid operators planned a worst-case scenario where 67GW of electricity was used. As the cold front swooped in, the state rapidly used that energy. The unusually freezing weather deactivated green energy sources and fossil fuels alike, such as thermal power plants, windmills, gas-powered generators, and more. While reserves were quickly depleted, temperatures plummeted, forcing energy demand to spike, which caused rolling blackouts across Texas.

AI technology exists and can help utilities manage energy distribution and demand, preventing rolling blackouts. Nationwide, we should be investing in alternative fuels, grid optimization, and resilience to avoid millions of people being affected by fragile systems.

With AI-based grid modeling happening in real-time, alternative power sources could be ready when needed. These sources could stem from other states, autonomous microgrids, or behind-the-meter battery storage. These systems can continuously learn the environment and clean energy sources on the grid, updating when necessary.

Millions of data points can be continuously collected by AI, predicting the weather, supply, demand, energy prices, etc. This data is useful in building optimal energy models for grid devices such as solar inverters, batteries, wind turbines, and more. These models can be used by utility providers to effectively dispatch energy and control clean energy sources.

In areas that need critical services, such as hospitals, schools, police, and fire departments, these microgrids would always have power, even if disconnected from the primary grid.

Beyond emergencies, AI can be used to process massive amounts of real-time data for ongoing energy management for utility services. This will enable them to route energy to residences and businesses efficiently, reliably, and at the most cost-effective price. With AI, real-time weather, load forecasting, economics, rules, and grid learning can be implemented, which would otherwise be too difficult for people to make, let alone execute.

J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical equipment company. At J&P, we supply contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of electrical equipment such as bus plugs, ducts, panel switches, substations, and transformers. Call us at 877-844-5514 or visit us at https://www.jpelectricalcompany.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com

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