Consumers Energy Announces Plan to Invest $100 Million in Power Grid

With power outages happening more frequently as a result of inclement weather, Consumers Energy has vowed to invest $100 million in upgrades to improve reliability for customers. 

The High Voltage Distribution (HVD) system, nicknamed the “Backbone of the Power Grid,” will receive significant upgrades thanks to the 2022 investment. The HVD enhancements will impact roughly 130,000 customers across the state of Michigan. 

Josh Paciorek, Consumers Energy Media Spokesperson, said, “Our job is to keep the lights on for folks and when those lights don’t come on, they’re frustrated.” Paciorek explained they are taking such proactive steps ahead of the storm season to ensure clients have a more reliable, resilient power grid. 

Over the past number of years, Michigan has seen an increased amount of severe weather, including a recent tornado in Gaylord. These once-in-100-year weather events are becoming increasingly common, with 70 to 80 MPH wind gusts that can wreak havoc on the power grid. 

In an effort to make electricity more reliable, Paciorek said Consumers Energy needs to upgrade and make investments to ensure the grid is more resilient. 

Over 40 miles of HVD lines will be rebuilt, as well as repairing more than 64 miles of HVD line pole-top equipment. Roughly 750 poles will be replaced, and novel technology will enable Consumers Energy to swiftly identify power outages.

The upgrades performed by Consumers Energy throughout 2022 represent a segment of their larger effort to build a better energy grid through its five-year, $5.4 billion Electric Reliability Plan. 

Efforts such as trimming trees, replacing poles and wires, improving substations, and replacing vital equipment are all high priorities, especially with the pressure from climate change affecting the weather and causing more frequent, severe weather storms. 

Since 2018, Consumers Energy has also raised its investment in forestry by over 60 percent. Trees are the number one cause of power outages, so the plan has a section dedicated to increasing spending to keep distribution lines clear. The plan currently outlines more than $500 million throughout five years. 

The reliability plan will also reduce the average length of time that customers are powerless by roughly 15 percent by 2025. 

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J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical supply company. At J&P, we source contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of heavy industrial electrical equipment such as bus plugs, bus duct, transformers, circuit breakers, fuses, and switchboards. Call us at 877-844-5514 for assistance.  

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

Bus Duct 101

Bus duct is a familiar sight to electricians, but what about the terms “busbar” or “busway?” Keep reading to learn about this vital aspect of electrical distribution.

The automotive industry first introduced busways in 1932; since then, it has expanded to serve many other industries. Busway is just another word for bus duct, which provides an alternative means of conducting electricity. Used in commercial and industrial settings, bus duct conducts electricity to power cables or cable bus.

Bus duct is comprised of sheet metal duct containing either aluminum or copper busbars in a grounded metal enclosure. Busbars are metallic strips or bars that conduct a substantial electrical current. Since bus ducts are flexible, they are easy to maintain and can handle different charging load requirements.

Bus duct is typically used where cable and conduit would be used in residential applications. Bus duct provides a high degree of electrical efficiency for both low- and high-amperage conditions. It’s also incredibly versatile, thanks to advancements such as elbows and offsets. These developments allow bus duct to adapt to directional changes.

To effortlessly meet load changes, tap-off units or new sections can be implemented. Some cases do require cable and conduit, however. For example, if a bus duct will be installed near corrosive vapors, it should not be used.

Planning ahead is vital when ordering bus duct for a specific use. Pay close attention to dimensions, note any bends, columns, floor elevation changes, route information, etc. Sketches of where the bus duct will flow are helpful. Standard bus duct can be ordered from inventory stock if the job is not too complex.

At J&P Electrical, we strive to provide the best electrical equipment possible. We have a massive supply of bus duct and plugs, along with other reconditioned products. Check out our inventory today!

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J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical supply company. At J&P, we source contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of heavy industrial electrical equipment such as bus plugs, bus duct, transformers, circuit breakers, fuses, and switchboards. 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.

Positive Outlook on the Horizon for Contractors

Thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was passed in November 2021, contractors country-wide are optimistic about their 2022 prospects. However, according to a survey report released by the Associated General Contractors of America, significant challenges still remain.

Over 1,000 American contractors were surveyed, and many were positive about the available bidding projects in 2022, since they have such a high dollar value. Respondents who expect the dollar value to expand is higher than those who expect it to shrink. Power construction is expected to benefit from the new law.

The authors wrote, “This represents a stark turnaround from the 2021 survey, in which contractors were bearish about the prospects for all but a few segments.”

Just under half of the respondents are looking to increase their employees by 10 percent or less, and more than a quarter of them anticipated bigger gains.

The report stated, “The construction industry is in much better shape overall than a year ago but there is wide variation among companies. For instance, small contractors, on average, have been slower to recover than larger businesses and are generally less optimistic about the 2022 outlook. While contractors in all regions expect 2022 to be a year of growth in business opportunities and employment, firms in the Northeast are less upbeat than elsewhere.”

Rising material process and supply chain dilemmas posed significant challenges which were exacerbated by the global pandemic. Higher prices were given for bids and contracts, with 44 percent noting longer completion rates. With increased supply chain issues, accelerated purchases were secured and winning contracts have turned to alternative suppliers.

The authors wrote, “While the past year has been filled with many challenges, technology has played an integral role in keeping people connected and businesses up and running. Firms are becoming more strategic about IT as they try to remain competitive in the current environment.”

With the rising use of technology comes an increase in electrical use. Connectivity is imperative, so many companies are utilizing electrical contractors to ensure their IT challenges are being handled. 

The report states, “The use of information technology, however, continues to pose challenges. Forty-one percent of contractors say it’s difficult to find the time to implement and train on new technology, 39% list keeping company data secure from hackers as one of their biggest IT challenges, and more than a third cite connectivity to remote job sites or communication between field and office as among the biggest IT challenges.”

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J&P Electrical is a full-service electrical supply company. At J&P, we source contractors, end-users, and supply houses with new surplus, quality reconditioned, and obsolete electrical equipment. We also purchase a wide range of heavy industrial electrical equipment such as bus plugs, bus duct, transformers, circuit breakers, fuses, and switchboards. 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.

Developing Electrical Code

Most standardized procedures aren’t developed overnight. Rather, they can take years to form with help from stakeholders, owners, employees, and more. With the invention of the Internet, advanced technology can simplify and complicate standards that might have already been in place.

Developing codes is an intricate process with much to take into consideration. First, there are many details to factor in while accounting for every step in the process. Then, other, perhaps surprising, aspects should be taken into consideration. Lastly, a trial run should be performed to ensure everything is working as it should, in accord with the overall intention. 

NFPA, the National Fire Protection Association, sets codes and standards in the electrical industry. To streamline the regulatory process, proposals (public inputs) are presented to the committee, answering every letter. Any changes are developed by the committee go through several steps:

  1. Revision stage: committee uses public input or their own discretion to create a vision or not, with reason.
  2. Draft stage: panel alters something from the first stage, if necessary, typically without public intervention.
  3. Reject stage: changes are analyzed using a new software called TerraView, designed to prevent conflicting actions. Comments made by the public can still be rejected during this stage or held for consideration during the next cycle of changes.
  4. Motion stage: those who might be disappointed with the process can file an online form to NFPA as a notice of intent to make a motion.
  5. Review stage: the NFPA Standards Council will assign a task group to review all motions and judge them based on their compliance. Once verified, the motion turns into a CAM, or Certified Amending Motion.
  6. Judgment: the Standards Council will have the last say; the results of the above process will be delivered to the panel, who will hear appeals and make decisions regarding the code.

At J&P Electrical, we respect the force of electrical power and its dangerous byproducts: shock and fire. Part of what we do is refurbish industrial electrical equipment using stringent standards. All electrical components are completely disassembled, then each and every part is cleaned, inspected, and repaired as needed. We then paint the product using an exclusive acrylic enamel chosen for its durability. The equipment is then reassembled and thoroughly tested to meet or exceed the manufacturer’s UL certification. The dielectric voltage withstands all tests, from phase-to-phase and phase to ground (neutral). The final product looks as close to new as possible. J&P Electrical stands behind its work; all our products come with a full one-year warranty.

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.

Utilities See Shift in Winter Electrical Demand

According to a report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), wintertime energy demand is set to rise due to the growing shift toward electrically-powered heating devices.

Traditionally, summer months have shown a higher peak in demand because of air conditioners. But now, the report predicts that a growing number of utilities nationwide will see electricity rise during the winter months instead.

One factor driving the shift is solar energy, which is becoming more popular. The demand for power from utility companies is diminished when solar power is implemented, reducing summer utility bills. Another factor of the reduced shift is the decrease in natural gas use. A growing number of homes and businesses are opting for electric heat pumps, electric space heaters, and electric water heaters, which are all typically used more in the winter months. These electrical devices can oftentimes be used instead of gas-fired appliances.

ACEEE has referred to state policymakers and regulators to create utility goals, which will reduce winter peak demand prices. Utility companies and city administrators should apply existing programs to correlate technology with new measures to reduce winter peak demand. Weatherization and home retrofit funding should also be a top priority.

Utility companies can implement energy-efficiency measures to winterize homes and enhance heating and energy use. Smart controls are one way utility companies can help customers monitor their usage. Also, demand-response measures such as electrical grid water heaters, electric vehicle charging, and battery systems can also help.

Homes that are better equipped to handle winter weather had higher-performing heat pumps and water-heating systems than others. These efficient homes could reduce winter peak by up to 12 percent. To add to that number, deep retrofits, smarter commercial HVAC controls, and intelligent technology systems can reduce peak demand during polar vortexes by up to 34 percent.

By implementing more efficient space heating, water heating, ventilation, lighting, and more, homes can reduce the electrical impact on the total grid.

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.

Utility Transformers Strained by EV Growth

Electric Vehicle (EV) sales are growing. As an increasing number of people implement charging stations in their homes or businesses, nearby transformers are becoming affected. Overloads to the power supply, premature aging, and potential failures are all culprits for transformer damage.

Thankfully, an alternative exists: BESS, or Battery Energy Storage Systems. These devices can be especially beneficial when paired with photovoltaic (PV) panels.

A study conducted in 2020 by Milad Soleimani and Mladen Kezunovic titled, “Economic Evaluation of Transformer Loss of Life Mitigation by Energy Storage and PV Generation,” showed that using BESS and PV was economically more effective and mitigated transformer distribution due to decreasing prices.

Soleimani released a second study titled, “PV Generation, EV and Stationary Battery Optimal Control and Management in Distribution Grids,” which evaluated tactics to alleviate the loss of life on the transformer due to high voltage caused by EVs. It also investigated how transformers become overloaded from EVs. Because of potential failures, utilities and consumers typically experience excess expenses.

The study found that in areas with a large number of EVs, the use of BESS devices (with or without PV panels) decreased the risk of transformers becoming faulty. PV installations were also negligible in certain instances.

Since PV panels are more costly, combining solar power with BESS might not be practical without subsidies.

Soleimani suggests, “Utilities should be investors,” which can be accomplished by, “Developing and providing rebates and other incentive programs to motivate consumers to deploy these resources.” When the technology provides an ample return, utilities will benefit as well.

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.

Billions of Dollars Set for Energy Projects via Infrastructure Bill

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) will fund a number of projects for electrical contractors thanks to an infrastructure bill signed into law on November 15, 2021. Numerous infrastructure projects will reap the benefits from a pot of more than $62 billion.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Investing over $7 billion in the supply chain to be used toward mining, sourcing, and recycling batteries. These are essential to power the grid with clean, affordable, and resilient energy.
  • Improving workforce development by investing hundreds of millions of dollars into the power grid, green building, and industrial sectors. Thanks to this funding, access to cutting-edge technology will spur training and career expansion.
  • Establishing an Energy Jobs Council to oversee the development and release of energy jobs and workforce data. By joining with stakeholders, decisions made by national, state, and local governments will be well-informed.
  • Providing grants to communities, cities, states, territories, and more through investments of $500 million or more into the State Energy Program, which develops and implements clean energy programs and projects, thereby creating jobs.
  • Devoting $550 million into the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG).

Additionally, about $17 billion will exclusively focus on the electrical grid. The DOE said, “Extreme weather events like the Dixie Wildfire, Hurricane Ida, and the 2021 Texas Freeze have made it clear that our existing energy infrastructure cannot endure the impacts of climate change. Modernizing and expanding the electricity grid will make our energy sector more resilient, while enabling the buildout of affordable, reliable, clean energy.”

Of the $17 billion, $11 billion will go toward grants for states, Native American tribes, and utilities to increase electrical infrastructure against extreme weather, ransomware, and other issues. A $3 billion expansion of the Smart Grid Investment Matching Grant Program will be allocated, as well as a $2.5 billion Transmission Facilitation Program. Both programs aim to develop the power grid’s flexibility, upgrade to clean energy, deploy energy storage, and more.

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.

Surge Protection 101

For many people, technology is the center of their attention span. Between televisions, computers, smartphones, ovens, dryers, tablets, security systems, dishwashers, etc., many aspects of our lives are assisted by an electronic device. As people expand the number of devices they own, power protection should increase as well. When they suddenly stop working, it can sometimes seem catastrophic.

Power surges are abrupt yet short-lived spikes in voltage that result in strong disruptive effects on the entire electrical system. Thousands of dollars worth of damaged electronics can result from these swift power surges. Typically caused by lightning strikes, power surges can also occur in small instances that damage equipment over time.

Read on for some tips to protect your devices from power surges.

Protect electronics: Ensure power lines, phone lines, and television lines are protected, as well as outdoor items such as pool equipment, air conditioners, and landscape lighting.

Indoor surge protection: Beyond the outside surge protection, it’s imperative to safeguard the plugs as well. Surge protector strips can be used to protect electronics inside the building.

To protect your devices, lightning surge protectors installed by electricians can redirect surplus voltage and current into a grounding wire. While the 120 voltage runs through circuits, electronics are protected and won’t lose power through a surge.

Professional surge protection includes the following:

  • Facility Guards: highest level of protection – can handle surges up to 400,000 amps
  • Transient Limiters: commercial/industrial – can handle surges up to 100,000 amps
  • DC Surge Protectors: transient or significant surges – can handle surges up to 10,000 amps
  • Data Line Protectors: control/telephone lines
  • Hybrid Surge Protectors: specialized protection for process control or computers

For surge protection equipment, contact the electrical contractor supply specialists at J&P 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 Youth Camp for Employers and Employees

A boot camp called Support Ontario Youths is on a mission to support trainees and employers by streamlining and abridging the apprenticeship journey.

Support Ontario Youth works together with various skilled trades and partners with specific organizations to host boot camps for those areas. They not only provide youth training; they also hire experts to train them.

In the electrical boot camp, attendees can experience wiring a wall outlet through hands-on learning and an instructional booklet. Support Ontario Youth brings in positive, accountable, determined youth who have a strong desire to learn.

Electricians who are enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and enjoy teaching are encouraged to apply for a position at the boot camp.

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.

Old Electrical Panels Can Delay Transition to Renewable Energy

With an increase in electrical homes nationwide, the end goal is to use electricity for heating water and living areas, cooking, vehicle charging, and more resulting in a lower reliance on non-renewable energy. A recent report from Pecan Street outlined how roughly 48 million residential homes throughout the United States will require upgrades to transition from fossil fuels. Residential electrification in total could amount to up to $100 billion, with an average cost of $2,000 for each panel.

The report states, “We estimate that more than half of the new homes being built today have electric panels that will not allow for full home electrification.” For 2020, that amounts to roughly 550,000 homes that will eventually face “a needless roadblock to transitioning away from natural gas.”

Existing electrical panels create challenges in the effort to fully-electrify homes through:

  • Panel sizing
  • Building and energy codes
  • Incentives through utilities

According to the report, “If electric panel upgrades are not managed proactively through policy and incentive programs, the cost and hassle have the potential to be an obstacle for millions of consumers trying to electrify their homes.”

Ranging between $1,000 and $5,000, electric panel upgrades can take weeks to accomplish. Some of the hurdles include waiting for permits and hiring an electrician, both of which can take some time. The report suggested utility companies offer incentives for upgrading electrical panels in existing homes to counterbalance these setbacks. State and local governments should also update codes for new construction to require the panels can withstand full house electrification.

The report stated, “This minimum panel size could be a requirement for new construction written into municipal, state, or national electric, building, or energy codes. These policy changes would remove critical roadblocks to full electrification and avoid combustion fuel technology lock-in, which would result in continued greenhouse gas emissions from these fuels for decades to come.”

Looking for electrical equipment for your infrastructure? Contact the electrification experts at J&P Electrical today! We have what you need, at a price you can afford.

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.