Turning the Lights Back On

Did you hear about the recent bomb cyclone? The storm clobbered portions of the Upper Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Here in the D.C. region, powerful, sustained winds knocked out power to hundreds of thousands. Most of us were spared, but Julie lost power for three cold days. That Friday, the wind blew a tree onto her power line, there was a big “boom” and that was it until her utility, Pepco, showed up Monday morning. Frankly, there is something to be said for the old-school water heater instead of the electric, tankless type when it’s 48°F inside.

Tim Johnson and Matt Kraus wrote more about this storm and the two nor’easters that followed. We were spared after the first storm, but our hats off to you if you worked to restore power to people during winter’s last hurrah. We haven’t forgotten about Puerto Rico, six months on. Hannah Fullmer and Rick Laezman wrote about what’s happening there.

There is a growing concern about America’s infrastructure and grid stability. As we continue to eagerly anticipate federal funding, we have to note the performance of modern utilities in responding to outages. Modern technology in networking, data and sensors makes it possible for crews to respond more quickly when an outage occurs. These days, customers can even report outages and get information from their utilities on Twitter.

In the cover story of this smart building issue, “Connected Metropolis,” Jeff Gavin updates us on the efforts by such cities as Atlanta, Phoenix and the District of Columbia to learn what works best for them as they employ data-collecting sensors, interactive devices and big data.

Jeff also writes about how the passive house movement has gone commercial and institutional, in “From Passive to Aggressive.” Also, in that vein, William Atkinson tells us what’s trending in “The CII Renaissance.”

Did you know that using automatic receptacle control helps neutralize buildings’ environmental impact? This is why plug loads—fans, computer monitors, refrigerators—are being eyed for more efficient operation in the latest versions of energy standards and codes. Chuck Ross explains it in “Taking a Load Off.”

Of course, ECs require electricians to get work done. Susan Bloom takes us to Western Pennsylvania in "Training Day in PA" to see how companies there are addressing the need. On a related note, Steve Carr writes about labor units in his estimating column.

In the integrated systems section this month, Deborah O’Mara points out the potential market opportunities in “Should You Support DIY Installations?” Spoiler alert: Yes!

We also want to remind you that, if you are one of the randomly chosen subscribers to receive the 2018 Profile of the Electrical Contractor survey, please fill it out. It’s invaluable information that we will use in this year’s study, which will appear in the July issue.

About the Author

Timothy Johnson


Timothy Johnson is the former digital editor for ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine.

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