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March-April 2007
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Getting Down to Earth

by Michael Johnston

From the beginning, the National Electrical Code has included specific rules that are essential for protection of persons and property. Wiring and protection is covered more specifically in chapter 2 and is so titled. Article 250 provides the specific rules for grounding and bonding electrical systems and equipment. Read more

Perspectives on PV

* The Development of Codes, Standards, and PV Equipment. How are they related?

by John Wiles

PV equipment, safety standards, and electrical codes are not developed in a vacuum. How are PV equipment, PV standards, and PV codes related and how are they developed? Yes, there is a little "chicken or egg” in the process since the development of all three is an interactive process. Read more

Overcurrent Protection, Part 1

by Tim Crnko

This article provides readers with essential information about basic operation and basic time-current characteristics of branch-circuit-rated, low-voltage fuses and circuit breakers. These overcurrent protective devices (OCPDs) are typically used in main service disconnects, feeders and branch circuits of residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial electrical systems. Read more

Compliance with Safe Installations by Using Deviations from the CE Code Requirements

by Ark Tsisserev

The object of the Code is very transparent on the fact that all prescriptive rules of the Code address the objective-based fundamental safety principles of the IEC Standard "Electrical Installations of Buildings”. Read more

Be Prepared for Alternative Minimum Tax

by Jesse Abercrombie

Many electrical contractors and inspectors probably were not that familiar with the alternative minimum tax (AMT) a few years ago. However, in the past few years things have really changed. Even the name may trigger a lot of speculation. What, exactly, is this tax an "alternative” to? And, what does the word "minimum” mean? Is it the smallest possible tax that can be assessed? If so, who has to pay it? Read more

401(k) Loans: The Last Resort?

by Jesse Abercrombie

As you’re well aware, we’re living in difficult economic times. Consequently, you may be forced to make some financial moves you wouldn’t normally undertake. One such move you might be considering is taking out a loan from your 401(k) plan — but is this a good idea? Read more

Electrical Safety Authority’s Unsafe Products Response Strategy

by Tatjana Dinic

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is responsible for public electrical safety in Ontario, Canada, and operates as a Delegated Administrative Authority of the Government of Ontario. As part of its mandate ESA is given the authority to enforce the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC). Read more

Voltage-Drop Requirements Cannot Be Ignored

by Michael Weitzel

Typically, when length is a factor in the installation, so is voltage drop. A variety of installations may involve feeders or branch circuits of considerable length. These include such installations as industrial plants; airports; tollway, highway, turnpike or street lighting; electrically controlled irrigation machines (also known as center pivot irrigation machines); installations on docks, marinas, or boatyards; farms or ranches; and commercial, residential, or governmental structures. Electrical designers and installers as a whole are generally aware of the requirements in 210.19(A)(1), and fine print note (FPN) No. 4 that provides explanatory material relating to voltage drop for feeders and branch circuits and suggests the maximum percentage of voltage drop which will provide "reasonable efficiency of operation,” should not exceed 5% at the farthest outlet where power is required. Read more



Why Are You a Member of IAEI?

by James W. Carpenter

The holidays are over and the stress of getting just the right gift for that special someone, of fighting the crowds at the stores, and wondering if the money will last is finally over. Now just the stress of paying the bills as they come in is on us. But was it not worth it to see the happy faces of the children and/or the grandchildren? Now it’s back to the regular grind. But it doesn’t have to be a regular grind. This year, 2007, should be an exciting year for us all. A new National Electrical Code will be published. New learning opportunities will abound— new challenges to meet and conquer, and a whole year to do those things that we have been putting off. Read more

Canadian Code

Rule 10-700 Grounding Electrodes

by Leslie Stoch

The Canadian Electrical Code defines a grounding electrode as: "a buried metal water-piping system or metal object or device buried in, or driven into, the ground to which a grounding conductor is electrically and mechanically connected.” In other words, it’s whatever metal objects the code allows you to drive into or bury in the earth and use for grounding electrical systems. The requirements for grounding electrodes up to 750 volts are found in Rule 10-700. This rule has been substantially rewritten in the 2006 Canadian Electrical Code. Read more

UL Question Corner

I see that the 2006 White Book now includes an index that correlates the 2005 NEC to UL product categories, is there a UL code correlation database online that I can access?


The answer is yes; there is a UL code correlation database on In the past several issues of the UL Question Corner, we discussed all the new features in the 2006 UL White Book that make it the companion tool to the NEC. One of those features is the Index of Product Categories Correlated to the 2005 NEC, the index is a code correlation index. UL took that data and incorporated that into an online version in a database form that correlates the 2005 NEC to UL product categories and also includes various building, mechanical and gas codes. Read more

Other Code

What are you paying for electricity? Part I, Load Management and Demand Charges

by David Young

Electric utility rates vary greatly from utility to utility and from state to state. To protect your and your company’s wallets, it is very important to understand the rates by which you are being charged for electricity. The cost of electricity is so high that some commercial and industrial companies have entire departments whose sole responsibility is to study the utility rates and make load management recommendations for saving money. The work of these departments pays for itself many times over. Read more

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