Lancaster, PA Electrician Directory

Find licensed electrical contractors in Lancaster County, PA for Residential, Commercial & Industrial projects here!

Homeowners need electricians to install new modern circuit breaker electrical service panels replacing antiquated fuse panels. You may need extra outlets installed in an older home that didn't have electrical receptacles installed in every corner of the home. Perhaps you're installing ceiling fans and need them wired to switch panels on the walls. Or, you want to add a hot tub to your backyard and need electrical service installed. You'll find electricians available for all of these services and more here on lancaster electrical .com.

Need an industrial or commercial electrician here in Lancaster County? Whether you need high bay lighting installed or a new three phase feed for that new high powered machine your adding commercial and industrial electricians have the skill set to make every installation and upgrade run smoothly.

 



Read the latest news for licensed electrical contractors in Lancaster County, PA.

Five Ways ECs Can Help Owners’ Buildings Be More Energy-Efficient
Five Ways ECs Can Help Owners’ Buildings Be More Energy-Efficient tjohnson Fri, 05/24/2019 - 09:26

Five Ways ECs Can Help Owners’ Buildings Be More Energy-Efficient

Electrical contractors (ECs) know their clients have an increasing desire for buildings that are more energy efficient. For ECs looking to get into energy efficiency, there are several good places to begin.

1. Install copper wiring one size larger than required

According to the Copper Development Association (CDA), installing copper wiring in a building that is one size larger than National Electrical Code minimums could save energy. That cabling setup generates less heat than one with smaller-diameter wiring. According to the CDA, opting for copper wiring that is one size larger than required could save more than 1,000 kilowatt-hours per year.

The payoff is especially quick for applications with smaller loads. Even in larger applications, the expenses associated with the larger wire tend to pay for themselves over time due to the energy savings achieved.

2. Exchange incandescent and halogen lamps for LEDs

When clients want simple but effective energy-efficiency improvements, swapping out incandescent and halogen lamps for LED options is the way to go. LEDs have substantially longer lifespans than other kinds of lamps, which makes them more convenient to use. From an energy-efficiency perspective, LEDs use less energy and often have a brighter output than older lamps.

They are more expensive than other options, but the lifespan and brightness aspects make them worthwhile, especially to a building owner who also cares about saving energy. It's also worth noting that some LED lamps are smart and connect to Wi-Fi networks and smartphone apps, enabling owners to control the lights remotely. That's advantageous in cases where an individual forgets to turn the lights off after locking the main door of a building, for example.

3. Look into lighting controls

Lighting controls boost efficiency because they reduce dependence on overhead lighting. For example, some of them have daylight harvesting capabilities that sense the amount of ambient light in a room. They can switch indoor lamps off or dim during times of sufficient natural light. Occupancy sensors can turn off or dim lights when a room is vacant.

Many lighting control brands offer highly scalable solutions. For example, Legrand has a Wattstopper product line that helps building owners choose the lighting controls that work best for their needs and budgets.

If a client is hesitant about making substantial investments in energy efficiency, you may want to point out that buildings with ENERGY STAR ratings use an average of 35 percent less energy than ordinary ones. It's not hard to imagine how those cost savings could add up over the long term. Moreover, ENERGY STAR helped Americans save more than $30 billion in energy costs in 2016

Research also shows energy efficiency makes a notable dent in carbon emissions, mainly since the building sector accounts for about one-third of overall emissions. According to ENERGY STAR, the 2016 energy savings accounted for approximately a 320-metric-ton reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

4. Install a ceiling fan

If a building owner wants to save energy in an area such as a warehouse or commercial kitchen, a ceiling fan could help. For example, an air-conditioning unit uses 3,500 watts of energy during operation whereas a ceiling fan on the highest setting uses only 60 watts. After you install a ceiling fan for the client, consider going over a few things that could save even more energy.

Ceiling fans are most effective in the summer when they create air movement in the center of the room, usually accomplished by making the fan blades move in a counterclockwise direction. Also, it doesn't cost much more to get a ceiling fan with built-in lighting. If your building owner decides to do that, remember to recommend using energy-efficient lighting technology, such as LEDs.

5. Take advantage of IoT technologies and automation

The internet of things (IoT) is the umbrella term for Wi-Fi-enabled devices that often collect data or listen for voice commands. According to a report from Navigant Research, the global market for energy-efficient building technologies will grow to $360.6 billion by 2026. It's not possible to lump all of those technologies into one category, but many of them arguably relate to the IoT.

Smart LED lamps are examples of how IoT technology can save energy and money. Other technologies relate to energy efficiency, too. One of the most accessible options—and one that's probably familiar to many building owners—is a smart thermostat. Users can set it to specific temperatures and look at app data that shows changes in energy usage. They can also program the thermostat so it turns on or off at certain times, such as periods of peak or reduced occupancy.

Moreover, like the lighting controls mentioned above, IoT tech is scalable. Building owners can decide which IoT gadgets meet their energy-efficiency needs immediately, then ramp up from there. Thanks to products like smart plugs, it's also possible to integrate some IoT tech into legacy items, thereby enjoying the money-saving capabilities of automation without doing a complete overhaul of the building.

Options are expanding

This list shows how ECs can practically and simply implement effective methods to increase energy efficiency in an owner's building. The suggestions here can become jumping-off points during consultations with your clients.

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Las Vegas Rolling the Dice on the IoT
Las Vegas Rolling the Dice on the IoT tjohnson Fri, 05/24/2019 - 09:17

Las Vegas Rolling the Dice on the IoT

The city known for its gambling, neon lights and shotgun weddings has embarked on a mission to gather something more than just dirty little secrets. With a new internet of things (IoT) project, Las Vegas will have a lot of new data on something a little more mundane—traffic patterns.

Teaming up with information and communications giants Dell and the NTT Group, Las Vegas has launched a pilot program to deploy IoT technology to improve traffic and public safety. The two companies are supplying next-generation sensors, ultra-high definition cameras and other forward-reaching technologies, which will operate on a secure, distributed platform.

The platform relies on micro data centers that are located in proximity to sensors placed strategically around the city. Using advanced analytics, the system delivers real-time data to the locations where the data can provide the most value, but it sends only data on incidents or urgent needs for investigation to the core data center, which avoids data overloads.

This system based on so-called “edge analytics” will enable the city to rely on machine learning to increase the response times of emergency responders.

"By leveraging innovative technologies the city will be able to enhance service delivery while helping to keep the public safe and connected,” said Michael Lee Sherwood, the city’s director of information technologies. "[The project] will continue the city’s efforts to become a smart and connected community.”

The pilot program is one element of the city’s larger goal to embrace digital technology to become a city of the future. Las Vegas has invested in a number of forward-thinking digital transformations, including connected traffic signals, an open data portal and the nation’s first public self-driving shuttle pilot project. With these investments, the city hopes to become a smart city by the year 2025.

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Utilities State They Will Push for Carbon Tax
Utilities State They Will Push for Carbon Tax tjohnson Thu, 05/23/2019 - 15:16

Utilities State They Will Push for Carbon Tax

Some big-name utilities, including PG&E, Dominion Energy and DTE Energy and other Fortune 500 companies, plan to lobby for some type of “economy-wide” price on carbon, perhaps deciding to get involved with policy-making of their own rather than face the imposition of stiffer taxes at a later date.

According to a press release, the CEOs of 13 Fortune 500 companies or their subsidiaries, in collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund and three other prominent environmental groups, launched the CEO Climate Dialogue to issue “a call for action on climate change.”

The group’s members hope to convince both political parties that climate policies are necessary to “increase regulatory and business certainty, reduce climate risk, and spur investment and innovation needed to meet science-based emissions reduction targets.”

As part of this effort, the group is willing to work with lawmakers to create some type of “an economy-wide carbon pricing policy to meet the climate challenge at the lowest possible cost.”

Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, said in the group’s press release announcing the initiative that the most underused tool for fighting climate change is corporate advocacy.

“Business voices matter to Congress, but the vast majority of companies have been missing from the climate policy debate—or even worse, have been lobbying against environmental progress,” Krupp said. “Together, the CEO Climate Dialogue companies are using their political influence to chart a new course for corporate sustainability leadership and drive down pollution across the economy.”

The CEO Climate Dialogue said that its members would lobby both the Trump Administration and Congress for climate policies that meet six guiding principles, including setting a goal to incrementally reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent or more by 2050—a goal that still falls short of recommendations by the United Nation’s climate change panel, which has stated the world must reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The group stated the policies should be effective by providing a timeline that allows capital-intensive industries to “adjust in an economically rational manner.” To increase the chances of success, policies should also focus on emissions reductions outcomes, not specific resources or technologies.

Such policies should also be market-based; durable and responsive; and “do no harm” in that they support the competitiveness of the U.S. economy, address emissions leakage that can undermine climate objectives and safeguard against negative impacts on biodiversity, land and water.

Finally, since policies to address climate change may likely entail some cost to everyone, they must provide transparency and promote affordability while distributing costs and benefits in such a way that promotes equity across the citizenry.

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Discovery to Make Lithium-Ion Batteries Safer
Discovery to Make Lithium-Ion Batteries Safer tjohnson Thu, 05/23/2019 - 10:32

Discovery to Make Lithium-Ion Batteries Safer

In April, an explosion at a utility-scale lithium-ion battery facility owned by Arizona Public Service (in place to store power from a solar energy array) sent eight firefighters to the hospital. The firefighters were there to inspect hazardous chemical levels after someone reported seeing smoke at the facility.

This isn't the first time lithium-ion batteries have either exploded or caught fire. The hazardous batteries have been of all sizes, from the smallest ones used in cellphones to the largest used by utilities to store power from the grid. In fact, one of the main concerns about the growing popularity and use of lithium-ion batteries is their safety.

However, that concern may be set to rest. Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory released a report that its scientists have developed a new cathode coating that can reduce these fire and explosion risks.

"The coating we've discovered really hits five or six birds with one stone," said Khalil Amine, Argonne distinguished fellow and battery scientist.

Unlike conventional battery coatings, which only protect the exterior surface of the cathode particles but leave the interior vulnerable to cracking, Argonne's new sulfur-containing polymer, called PEDOT, has the ability to penetrate to the cathode particle's interior, adding an additional layer of shielding.

Although PEDOT creates this additional barrier, it still allows for the necessary transport of lithium ions and electrons that are necessary for the battery to function.

"The coating is essentially friendly to all of the processes and chemistry that make the battery work and unfriendly to all of the potential reactions that would cause the battery to degrade or malfunction," said Guiliang Xu, Argonne chemist.

The PEDOT material also prevents oxygen release, which is a major factor in battery materials degradation at high voltages. Preventing oxygen release leads to better structural stability and improves safety, Amine said.

With the new coating, Argonne scientists believe the batteries will be able to run at higher voltages (thus increasing their energy output), have longer lifetimes or both.

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New Bill to Change 529 Plans for Registered Apprenticeship Programs
New Bill to Change 529 Plans for Registered Apprenticeship Programs tjohnson Thu, 05/23/2019 - 10:27

New Bill to Change 529 Plans for Registered Apprenticeship Programs

Update 5/23/19: A provision based on Norcross' Bill to allow 529 tax-free savings for apprenticeships was passed through the House with a 417-3 vote as part of H.R. 1994, the SECURE Act, a retirement savings bill. 

 

Last week, U.S. Congressmen Donald Norcross (D-NJ) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) introduced bipartisan bill H.R. 2679, "529 Opening Paths To Invest in Our Nations Students (529 Options)."

The bill is designed to make apprenticeships more affordable by allowing individuals enrolled in registered apprenticeship programs to fund tools, equipment and more for the program from a 529 college savings plan.

According to Rep. Norcross, the 529 savings plan is an important tool that helps Americans plan for college costs. However, currently, these savings plans are not allowed to be used for technical training.

"If you want to go to a registered apprenticeship and use the money that you saved, right now, that is not an option," he said. The 529 Options Act is designed to change all of that.

"An apprenticeship program shaped my life, taking me from construction work to Congress," said Norcross, who is the only electrician serving in Congress. Prior to serving in Congress, Rep. Norcross was a business agent for IBEW Local No. 351 and president of the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO.

"Right now, students and families can use 529 tax-free savings accounts for college, but they can't use those same savings accounts for apprenticeships," he said. "This exclusion is unfair and counterproductive. We need electricians and computer programmers, just like we need doctors and judges, and this bill levels the playing field for the students and future workers who start out in apprenticeships."

"The law should reflect the value of apprenticeship programs just like it does a four-year degree," Rep. Kelly said.

The bill would allow individuals enrolled in a registered apprenticeship to use money from their 529 Education Savings Account to pay for books, supplies, equipment, child care at licensed daycare centers, transportation and obtaining industry certification (or other type of credential in association with enrollment or completion of such program).

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Survey Considers Challenges of Aging Buildings
Survey Considers Challenges of Aging Buildings tjohnson Fri, 05/17/2019 - 15:06

Survey Considers Challenges of Aging Buildings

It’s no secret that lighting and electrical technology changes faster than the flip of a switch. New building construction incorporates this new technology, but existing buildings miss out.

A new report released in April by industrial distributor Grainger details the challenges building managers face when operating and upgrading older buildings. At the same time these findings also present an opportunity in all of this outdated building infrastructure. For the report, “The State of Aging Buildings: Today’s Building Management Challenges,” the company surveyed more than 1,000 professionals involved in purchasing building maintenance supplies.

One of the report’s findings is that a time investment is required to figure out what needs to be addressed and when, and the least intrusive way to do so. Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of buildings in the United States were built before 2000.

Another issue is that, “finding parts for aging assets is a consistent issue and the primary factor when deciding to repair or replace.” Determining who will do the work—a staffer, an outside electrical contractor or another trade—and managing costs, planning and budgeting also are an ongoing concern.

Specifically, for the survey respondents, finding compatible parts for older systems, managing energy efficiency, safety and lowering costs topped the list of their biggest challenges.

But these challenges could represent an opportunity for electrical contractors.

Electrical (71 percent) and lighting (59 percent) were among the top five issues to address in older buildings. Sixty-four percent and 61 percent were planning improvements or upgrades to lighting and electrical components, respectively. Half of those building managers prefer to use outside electrical contractors for electrical projects, though they don’t rely on these providers to purchase the supplies they need; they purchase supplies in-house instead.

For those looking at lighting upgrades, the survey found 77 percent see inefficient energy use as their biggest challenge. For those looking at electrical systems upgrades, 54 percent said that compliance with regulations and codes is their biggest challenge, and 50 percent cited energy inefficiency as their biggest challenge.

More than half of the respondents, 57 percent, have made upgrades, improvement or repairs in the last five years, and 48 percent indicated planned building improvements are in the works.

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Utility Grid Experiences First Cyberattack
Utility Grid Experiences First Cyberattack tjohnson Fri, 05/17/2019 - 09:29

Utility Grid Experiences First Cyberattack

The U.S. utility industry may have just experienced its first malicious “cyber event”—or at least the first such event to be reported.

In March, an anonymous utility in the Western region of the country filed an “Electric Emergency and Disturbance Report” with the Department of Energy (DOE). The utility stated a “cyber event that causes interruptions of electrical system operations” occurred on March 5 from 9:12 a.m. until 6:57 p.m., in some of its service areas across multiple states. However, no loss of power occurred, and no customers were affected, according to the report.

E&E News reporter Blake Sobczak spotted the utility’s report on the DOE's Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security & Emergency Response. The report, which Sobczak characterizes as vague, and several sources Sobczak does not name said the event was a “denial-of-service” attack that disabled Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance devices ringing power grid control systems for the affected locations.

While all utilities servicing those states contacted by Sobczak denied they filed the report, sources told him the hack most likely resulted in a temporary loss of visibility to parts of the utility’s supervisory control and data acquisition system.

In a May 4 interview with NPR https://www.npr.org/2019/05/04/720221912/cyber-disruption-affected-part…, Sobczak explained the nature of the denial-of-service attack that “basically led operators to not be able to see what was going on in the grid.”

“So, it’s sort of like driving with blinders on,” he told NPR. “As long as nothing crazy happens, you should be fine, but it certainly constitutes a disruption and a reportable event here to the Department of Energy.”

Sobczak also said that, so far, it’s not known if the hacker was an individual from a foreign country such as Russia or the doings of “sophisticated nation state-backed spies.”

“It really could have been somebody with a fairly rudimentary understanding of how to launch this type of attack,” he said. “The hacker or hackers knew what they were doing and were able to actually find a particular flaw in this network equipment and send a certain type of packet or string of data to really make it stop working.”

According to Utility Dive, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), in conjunction with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Western Electricity Coordinating Council, is now conducting a “root cause analysis” to determine the cause of the March 5 cyber event.

While regulators have broadened the criteria necessary to trigger mandatory self-reporting of a cyber event by utilities, the lack of transparency surrounding this event is leading some to call for reform on the part of utilities and NERC.

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Utilities Petition California for Wildfire Liability Reforms
Utilities Petition California for Wildfire Liability Reforms tjohnson Wed, 05/15/2019 - 12:14

Utilities Petition California for Wildfire Liability Reforms

In recent years, California has been hit with a number of massively destructive wildfires, some of which utility infrastructure has triggered, and the resulting liabilities have created financial stress for these utilities. For example, facing $30 billion or more in wildfire-related liabilities, Pacific Gas & Electric and its parent, PG&C Corp., filed for bankruptcy in January.

Recently, groups representing 46 public power and four cooperative utilities petitioned the state to change its strict liability rules for wildfires caused by utility infrastructure and take other steps to reduce the risk of wildfires and their financial fallout.

In late April, the California Public Utilities Commission received initial comments from dozens of parties, including joint comments from the California Municipal Utilities Association, the Southern California Public Power Authority, the Northern California Power Agency, and Golden State Power Cooperative, which represent a total of 50 utilities that serve about 25 percent of the state.

Under California's method of applying inverse condemnation, an electric utility is held strictly liable for property damages and legal fees if the utility's facilities are found to have caused a fire, even if the utility was following all safety rules and wasn't found to be at fault.

"As increasingly devastating wildfires have begun to arise, a utility's financial exposure under a strict liability standard can go far beyond the ability of its customers to shoulder the financial burden," said the utility coalition in comments with the Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire cost and Recovery. "If a utility's insurance does not cover its liabilities, then the utility itself must pay those costs out of pocket."

The coalition wants California to switch to a fault-based liability standard that holds an electric utility liable if the utility's conduct posed an unreasonable risk of damage to property and if the conduct was a key cause of the damage.

"Such a standard would still hold utilities accountable for their actions, but would provide relief in circumstances where wildfires are started by factors outside of the control," the coalition said. "A fault-based approach will provide positive incentive for utilities to aggressively implement wildfire mitigation measures."

The coalition is also calling for better forest and vegetation management by state agencies, improved fire suppression and response, and changes to local planning and development policies in places where wildfire risks are high.

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Utilities Petition California for Wildfire Liability Reforms
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Tesla Slashes Solar Panel Prices
Tesla Slashes Solar Panel Prices tjohnson Wed, 05/15/2019 - 12:06

Tesla Slashes Solar Panel Prices

In an attempt to jump-start its residential solar business, Tesla has lowered the prices of its solar panels and solar equipment so much that they cost 16 percent less than the national average, according to an article in The New York Times. The company also reported a $702 million net loss in the first quarter of this year. Its stock price also lowered by nearly 30 percent.

Tesla no longer holds the title as the United States' leading rooftop solar company. Sunrun and Vivint Solar now lead solar installations in the United States, with Tesla coming in third, according to research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie. Lowering the price of its solar panels is Tesla’s attempt to reinvest in residential solar.

The price reduction also comes with standardizing installation. Customers can now purchase solar panels on Tesla’s website, though the options are limited to 4-kilowatt (kW) increments, or a 12-panel array. An average U.S. solar power system can generate 7.6 kW, according to The New York Times.

Customers also will have to handle some of the upkeep themselves, including photographing and sending images of electric meters and circuit breaker boxes to the company, which will reduce site visits, according to an article in The Verge.

Tesla expects these techniques to boost its residential solar and energy storage sales.

“We aim to put customers in a position of cash generation after deployment with only a $99 deposit upfront,” Tesla said in its Q1 2019 Update. “That way, there should be no reason for anyone not to have solar generation on their roof.”

The company’s energy generation and storage revenue decreased because it had fewer solar deployments than last year—47 megawatts (MW) in 2019 versus 73 MW in 2018, though a 2-percent increase in storage deployments partially offset it, according to its First Quarter 2019 Update.

Tesla also plans to push its solar roof offering, which it designed with SolarCity. In 2016, Tesla acquired SolarCity, which was founded and run by two of Elon Musk’s cousins. The solar roof, made up of solar shingles that look like typical roofing materials, can replace an entire roof and connects to a Tesla battery pack. But so far, the company has merely taken reservations for the product instead of installing any.

While 64 gigawatts of solar capacity has been installed in America—enough to power 12.3 million homes—only 3 percent of U.S. homes have solar panels, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. This provides a ripe opportunity for Tesla and other solar companies to step in.

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OSHA Safety Training Grants Now Available
OSHA Safety Training Grants Now Available tjohnson Wed, 05/15/2019 - 12:02

OSHA Safety Training Grants Now Available

Last week, OSHA announced the availability of $10.5 million in training grants for nonprofit organizations, including employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, state-funded colleges and universities, faith-based organizations and Native American tribes.

The grants are part of the Susan Harwood Training Grants program, which supports in-person, hands-on training for workers and employers in small businesses; industries with high injury, illness, and fatality rates; and vulnerable workers who are underserved, have limited English proficiency, or are temporary workers. The grants are designed to fund training and education to help employers and workers identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards.

Three types of grants are available: capacity building grants, target topic grants and training materials development grants.

Capacity building grants focus on developing and/or expanding the capacity of an organization to provide safety and health training, education and related assistance to the targeted audiences. Two types of capacity building grants may be awarded:

  • Developmental grants support and assist organizations that, through their past activities, have established a capability to provide occupational safety and health training, education, or related assistance, but where the organization wants to expand its training capacity into a new safety and/or health topic area.
  • Pilot grants are intended to assist organizations that are able to demonstrate a potential for meeting program objectives but that need to assess capabilities, needs, and priorities and organizations that need to formulate objectives before moving forward into developing a full-scale program.

Target topic grants focus on training workers and/or multiple employers on occupational safety and health hazards associated with one of the OSHA selected training topics.

Training materials development grants are available for organizations that are set up to develop, evaluate and validate classroom quality training and educational materials that focus on identifying and preventing workplace hazards.

Applications for these grants must be submitted online no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, July 2, 2019. Applicants must possess a D-U-N-S number, which may be obtained free of charge from Dun & Bradstreet, and an active System of Award Management registration.

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