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Also in this issue... • Installing, qualifying & troubleshooting fiber • Combined wind generation & battery storage


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from the editor

It’s time you were recognized and rewarded

Y To the best of our knowledge, this is the first and only program of its kind in Canada, open to all Canadians across our nation.

ou work hard to establish a safe work environment that helps ensure your employees return home in one piece at the end of the day... it’s time you were recognized! I am very excited to officially announce the launch of Electrical Business Magazine’s Electrical Safety Champion Awards Program, which is— to the best of our knowledge—the first and only program of its kind in Canada, open to all Canadians across our nation. The program aims to recognize Canadian companies and individuals who are passionate about promoting the health & safety of Canadian electrical workers. It recognizes this commitment across several categories and you are permitted to nominate yourself! These awards recognize electrical safety champions as evaluated against criteria that reinforce: • Leadership and influence • Education, information and awareness • Advancing knowledge or standards

Contents 8 Installing, qualifying

and troubleshooting fiber

On the Cover and Page 12 The time is nigh to electrify... your fleet! Electric vehicles have emerged from the garages of gearheads and landed in the nation’s auto malls, and while their numbers aren’t as yet soaring, commercial and private fleets are particularly well-positioned to take advantage of the switch. Image © Hino Motor Sales USA Inc.

Contractors are increasingly being tasked with installing fiber optic cables for datacom applications. ‘Running’ or ‘pulling’ fiber has similar challenges as copper and other communications cables, but also has its own particular requirements. And, when finally installed, the next step is to qualify the fiber optic link to ensure that all customer design parameters have been met.

17 Hammer out a refund on your tax return

As a skilled tradesperson, you’re hands-on, dependable and take pride in your workmanship. You have the qualifications and you have the skills, but do you have the tools when it comes to filing your tax return?

So start thinking about who you will nominate, because eligibility requirements, deadlines, etc., will be published soon in the pages of Electrical Business Magazine and online at And a heartfelt Thank You! to those who have already answered the call and signed on as founding sponsors of Canada’s first national electrical safety awards program. We will announce the names of these trailblazers soon. Meantime, don’t miss this unique opportunity to join their ranks. The benefits to sponsorship are many, but they are available on a first-come, first-served basis... and only a few remain! To reserve your sponsorship, contact EBMag’s: Scott Hoy 905-726-4664 • John MacPherson 905-713-4335 • Let’s all work together to promote and celebrate the good work being done by Canada’s electrical community.

departments 4

Industry News


Electrical Safety 360

Industry documents & events go hand-in-hand

15 Calendar 16 Level Up Project labour/cost

management: Part 2

19 Personalities 21 Products & Solutions 22 Code File Solar PV system rapid shutdown

22 Code Conundrum

18 Gamify the home with luxury security

The third article in our series “House of Unlimited Budget” looks at intercom and home security platforms that take monitoring above and beyond your client’s perimeter.

20 Cowessess & NRCan demonstrate combined wind generation & battery storage A demonstration project at the Cowessess First Nation near Regina, Sask., aims to demonstrate that a combined wind generation and battery storage system can provide constant, continuous and renewable electricity for ongrid applications.

page 21 • May 2015 • 3

industry news (except the financing verticals that relate to GE selling Capital assets and GE’s industrial businesses). focuses on industrial businesses “GE Capital’s businesses are excellent, and “This is a major step in our strategy this is a great market for selling financial to focus GE around its competitive assets. Our people are world-class. We advantages” said GE chair and CEO are confident these businesses will thrive Jeff Immelt, referring to the news elsewhere,” said GE Capital chair and CEO that GE ( will create Keith Sherin. “a simpler, more valuable company” As part of the execution of this new by reducing the size of its financial plan, GE will sell the bulk of the assets of businesses through the sale of most GE Capital Real Estate to funds managed GE Capital assets, and focusing on Jeff Immelt by Blackstone. Wells Fargo will acquire continued investment and growth in a portion of the performing loans at closing. The its industrial businesses. company also has letters of intent with other buyers “These businesses are leaders in technology, the for an additional $4 billion of commercial real estate Industrial Internet and advanced manufacturing. assets, says GE. In total, these transactions are valued They are well-positioned in growth markets and at about $26.5 billion. are delivering superior customer outcomes, while Under the plan, GE expects more than 90% of its achieving higher margins. They will be paired with a earnings will be generated by its industrial businesses smaller GE Capital, whose businesses are aligned with by 2018, up from 58% in 2014. GE’s industrial growth,” continued Immelt. “We are completing another definitive and GE and its board have determined “that market conditions are favourable” for pursuing the disposition important move to reshape GE for the future,” concluded Immelt. “Our best days are ahead.” of most GE Capital assets over the next 24 months Kudos to Diversified, EB Horsman, Franklin Empire, Ideal Supply & Robertson!

At Affiliated Distributors’ (AD) recent Electrical Division Spring Network Meeting, several Canadian organizations ( were recognized for exceptional performance. Congratulations to the following... Top network in AD Supplier sales in 2014 • E.B. Horsman & Son ( • Franklin Empire Inc. ( • Ideal Supply Co. Ltd. (

NEED HELP PROSPECTING? Has Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation reduced your email prospects list? EBMag’s newsletter reaches 12,000 CASLcompliant subscribers, and it does so every week! Contact Scott Hoy (905) 726-4664 •

4 • May 2015 •

Account Manager Scott Hoy - Assistant Editor Renée Francoeur - Art director Svetlana Avrutin - production Manager Kathryn Nyenhuis - subscriber Customer service Representative Karen Thomson -

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The previous location was on Argentia Road in Mississauga. Waneta Expansion facility in B.C. now generating power

The Waneta Expansion Project near Trail, B.C., is online and generating power, announced the Waneta Expansion Limited Partnership (WELP), a partnership between Fortis (, Columbia Power Corp. ( and Columbia Basin Trust ( The $900-million 335MW expansion adds a second powerhouse, immediately downstream of the Waneta Dam on the Pend d’Oreille River, that shares the existing hydraulic head and generates “clean, renewable, cost-effective power from water that would otherwise be spilled,” said WELP. The project included construction of a 10-km, 230kV transmission line and provides enough energy to power about 60,000 homes per year.

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director of soul/Coo Sue Fredericks

Thomas & Betts Central Region office moves to Burlington It’s time to update your Address Book because the new location of Thomas & Betts’ ( Central Region sales office is:

Highest overall growth in Canadian supplier purchases (under $10M annually) • Diversified Ventures (

May 2015 • Volume 51 • Issue 5

CIRCULATION: Karen Thomson e-mail: Tel: 1-866-790-6070 • Fax: 1-877-624-1940 Mail: P.O. Box 530, Simcoe, ON N3Y 4N5

suBsCRIpTIoN RATEs: Canada: Single issue $7.00 12 issues: $35.00 (includes tax) usA: $59.00 (US) International: $75.00 (US) per year Occasionally, Electrical Business will mail information on behalf of industry-related groups whose products and services we believe may be of interest to you. If you prefer not to receive this information, please contact our circulation department in any of the four ways listed above. The contents of Electrical Business are copyright ©2015 by Annex Publishing & Printing Inc. and may not be reproduced in whole or part without written consent. Annex Publishing & Printing Inc. disclaims any warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or currency of the contents of this publication and disclaims all liability in respect of the results of any action taken or not taken in reliance upon information in this publication.

Funded by the Government of Canada

industry news Show off your excellence with EFC Marketing Awards

Electro-Federation Canada ( has officially launched its 2015 Marketing Awards program, and EBMag is pleased to once again sponsor the “Customer Event/ Tradeshow” category. Open only to current EFC members, the awards are designed to recognize organizations’ excellence in various areas of corporate activity that contribute to success in sales, marketing and branding within Canadian electrical manufacturing and distribution. Check out our VIDEO with EFC’s John Jefkins, “Learning from each other”, at neyunor. The deadline to apply is June 30, 2015. Pentair acquires Nuheat Pentair has acquired Nuheat, a manufacturer of electric floor heating systems based in Vancouver. By combining Nuheat’s capabilities with Pentair’s Thermal Building Solutions (a range of Raychem heat tracing systems for pipe freeze, snow melting and de-icing applications), Pentair said it will be able to provide more North American customers with a “complete and differentiated portfolio” of floor heating and winter safety solutions. NB Power, Nova Scotia Power piloting cooperative dispatch model NB Power ( and Nova Scotia Power (www. have launched a pilot project to work together to deliver electricity to both provinces with expected savings of up to $20 million per year. The partners will pilot a model of cooperative dispatch, enabling optimization of their power plants while ensuring both provinces continue to meet their renewable energy and emissions standards. The 12-month pilot will see New Brunswick and Nova Scotia generating stations dispatched as one fleet using the current tie-line capacity with no additional investment.

NRC funds Clear Blue Technologies NRStor and partners to build large-scale Clear Blue Technologies Inc. (www. CAES in Ontario received a boost from the Energy storage company NRStor ( federal government recently through the National says it has partnered with General Compression Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research and SustainX to build large-scale, fuel-free Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP). compressed air energy storage (CAES) in Ontario. Toronto-based Clear Blue Technologies will see up to CAES absorbs surplus energy during $92,000 to advance the development of its Smart Offlow-demand or transmission-constrained periods 2320-18 FLIR C2that Electrical EB Apr15_6.375x9.75 03-24-15 1:51 and PM Page 1 it to the grid when needed, explained Grid technology powers devices such as streetlights, returns security cameras and mobile power systems. NRStor.


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industry news Hammond Power Solutions announces new company Hammond Power Solutions Inc. (www. has a new company: Corefficient S. de R.L. de C.V. A joint venture with National Material LP, it will design, manufacture and market energyefficient electrical cores. These cores are used in the manufacture of dry-type and liquid-filled transformers, HPS said. The company will be based out of Monterrey, Mexico, where a manufacturing facility is currently under construction and is expected to be fully operational by Q4 2015. Philips selling majority interest in combined LED components and Automotive Royal Philips says a consortium led by GO Scale Capital will acquire an 80.1% interest in Philips’ $3.3-billion US combined LED components and Automotive Lighting business, with Philips retaining the remaining 19.9% interest (including a 34% interest in the Lumileds U.S. operations). The transaction is expected to be completed in Q3 2015. Following the transaction, the new company will continue under the name Lumileds and Philips’ Lighting Solutions business will remain a customer of Lumileds. Daniels Electric fined after employee exposed to fall, shock hazards Daniels Electric Corp., an electrical contractor based in Gilford, N.H., faces $40,000 in fines after an employee was exposed to a 12-ft fall due to the lack of fall protection. An inspector from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was driving by a worksite in Concord, N.H. and observed a Daniels employee without fall protection replacing a light fixture on the roof atop the Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurant. OSHA ( also found that the extension ladder used to access the roof did not extend at least 3 ft beyond the roof’s edge for required stability. The employee also faced possible electric shock and burns because the circuit controlling the light had not been locked out to prevent it from becoming unintentionally energized. Feds fund Sustane’s waste2energy demo plant

A clean technology startup is building its first commercial demonstration plant in Nova Scotia’s Municipality of the District of Chester. Halifax-based Sustane Technologies Inc. (www. says it is working to commercialize and globally market a technology that diverts municipal waste from landfills and converts it into clean energy and other recyclable materials. The federal government is providing a $500,000 repayable contribution, through ACOA’s Business Development Program, to Sustane to acquire special equipment for the development of the plant.

6 • May 2015 •

Growing appetite in Saskatchewan for stolen copper SaskPower ( says stolen copper is a problem that has become progressively worse in recent years as it continues to see cases of theft from its substations and other facilities. Sean McKim, director of Enterprise Security at SaskPower, noted the “thieves are placing themselves and SaskPower employees at serious risk”. The utility is working to replace existing copper parts in its electrical equipment with alternatives. Increased monitoring and a stronger security presence are also underway, says the utility. Visit for a video on grounding copper theft in Saskatchewan. Students on The Rock are HotShots at energy conservation Four classes of students in Newfoundland & Labrador were rewarded for their energy conservation knowledge and creativity by being named grand prize winners of the K-I-C Start energy conservation contest for grades kindergarten through 6. Designed to raise awareness about the importance of energy conservation, the contest is one of several components offered through the provincial government’s HotShots initiative and the TakeCharge school program. Students were invited to submit projects that demonstrate the importance of energy conservation. Over 30 submissions were received, including videos, posters, magazines and songs. Visit for a video showcasing the work. IESO reports strong results for Ontario energy savings Preliminary results indicate Ontario scored strong energy conservation results in 2014, said the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). The results show that local distribution companies (LDCs) across Ontario achieved 98% (5882 GWh) of cumulative energy savings, against their energy-savings target set by the Ontario Energy Board of 6000 GWh for the 2011-2014 period. IESO (www.ieso. ca) said it expects this target to be surpassed when the verified results come in. Yukon Hospital re-signs with renewable power program The Yukon Hospital Corp. (yukonhospitals. ca) has rejoined a program that allows it to use renewable power to heat Whitehorse General Hospital instead of fossil fuels. Yukon Energy’s ( secondary sales program prices the renewable power at a discount compared to heating oil. This saves companies about 30% on their heating bills and cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, Yukon Energy stated. Hydro One invests over $845 million for electricity reliability Hydro One ( says it completed more than $157 million in upgrades through 10 transmission station projects across Toronto and the GTA in 2014 to improve reliability and replace aging infrastructure. It plans to invest over $688 million in additional work between 2015-2018.

Through its asset analytics tool, Hydro One said it is able to identify and monitor the condition of all of its critical assets and make more effective investment decisions. Replacing critical assets as they approach end of life is key in ensuring reliability, Hydro One added. New additions to the IEEE 3000 Standards Collection IEEE ( has approved four new standards in the IEEE 3000 Standards Collection for Industrial and Commercial Power Systems (formerly IEEE Color Books), which sets guidelines and establishes standards for power generation and distribution. The new standards were created to support power-oriented engineers responsible for electrical design and safety. They are: IEEE 3001.5, IEEE 3003.2, IEEE 3004.5 and IEEE 3006.5.

WAIT A MINUTE, MR. POSTMAN! Reach a qualified readership of over 20,000 Canadian electrical professionals by distributing your brochure, flyer, etc., along with the monthly edition of Electrical Business Magazine. We can target your promotional material to specific regions or market segments... all for a great rate! Contact Scott Hoy (905) 726-4664 •

electrical safety 360

Mike Doherty

Industry documents & events go hand-in-hand


ast month, I conducted a one-hour overview of the 2015 edition of CSA Z462 “Workplace electrical safety” at the latest Sarnia-Lambton Electrical Safety Forum (SLESF). Facilitated by Ontario’s Electrical Safety Authority (ESA), this one-day forum continues to help improve electrical safe work practices in the area. The event also featured Scott Saint, ESA’s chief public safety officer, a Q&A session from SLESF’s Working Live Subcommittee, a working live session facilitated by the Ministry of Labour, a session on Ontario Electrical Safety Report’s (OESR) by Dr. Joel Moody, and more. But this is just one of many electrical safety knowledge events being conducted all across our country, in many different locations, all of which contribute to the downward trending of electrical injuries and fatalities in Canada. It was evident from ESA’s latest OESR that statistics in the United States are following a similar downward trend, and while this is good news, we are still not where we need to be. We can do better, and that’s where Z462 comes into play. In early April, I travelled to Regina for a meeting of the Z462 Technical Committee (TC). The scope of this two-day meeting was to prepare Public Inputs for the July 6 deadline to the NFPA 70E “Standard for electrical safety in the workplace” process in the States. (We work with our American counterparts for the betterment of both nations’ workplace electrical safety documents. CSA has approved Z462 for another three-year cycle, so the next edition will be published in January 2018. This keeps us in step with both the CE Code’s and NFPA 70E’s three-year cycles.) In Regina, we first addressed reports

Untitled-5 1

from the standing NFPA Harmonization and Communications subcommittees. As standard procedure at the beginning of any new document cycle, we confirmed the Technical Committee’s structure and the re-establishment of any required working groups. (Subcommittees are never removed, as they are a normal part of the process.) As a result, the following working groups have been re-established for the 2018 edition of CSA Z462: • WG 2: • WG 3: • WG 4: • WG 5: • WG 6: • WG 7: • • • • •

WG 8: WG 9: WG 13: WG 14: WG 15:

• WG 16:

Clause 3 - Definitions Clause 4.1 - General Requirements Clause 4.2 - Establishing an Electrical Safe Work Condition Clause 4.3 - Work Involving Electrical hazards Clause 5 - Safety-Related Maintenance Requirements Clause 6 - Safety Requirements for Special Equipment Annexes Safety Management Systems PPE Category Tables 4 & 5 Special Guidance for Mining Operations Annex R - Substation Systems and Equipment Annex u - human Performance and Electrical Safety

The Z462 TC has been working on, and preparing for, the 2018 edition for the last two years. Based on the work of the subcommittees and working groups, Public Inputs to NFPA 70E’s Technical Committee are the first step toward possible changes to CSA Z462-18. Of course, changes to Z462 can and will be made as required to suit the Canadian workplace.

The CSA process requires that consensus be achieved within the Technical Committee before any changes can be implemented and, because the TC is balanced by a matrix structure, no single interest can dominate the outcomes. Consensus always rules. There are currently 32 voting members (along with their alternates) on the Z462 Technical Committee. The next meeting of the full TC will be held February 17-18, 2016, at CSA Group’s offices. The subcommittees and working groups will carry on with their preparation work by email, teleconference and face-to-face meetings, as required. (And, with the exception of the very last TC meeting in a cycle, guests are welcome to attend this meeting, but only when approved before-hand by the chair and CSA program manager.) A lot of work (done by a lot of people!) goes into producing a document like CSA Z462, which really comes to life when you’ve had it explained and discussed at an industry event like the one I mentioned above, or a host of others across Canada. Only when you engage with Z462 alongside your peers and subject matter experts can you achieve a truly deep understanding of the knowledge contained therein. A subject-matter expert on electrical safety, Mike Doherty is the director of learning & continual improvement at Shermco Industries Canada Inc. He is a licensed electrician and an IEEE senior member, and has served as the Technical Committee chair for CSA Z462 since its inception. His specialties include electrical safety and health & safety management, maintenance, consulting, training, auditing and electrical incident investigations. Mike can be reached at

4/15/11 11:59:45 AM • May 2015 • 7

hybrid fiber drop installation system may be < This either hand-held or stand-mounted. It can be used as a pusher for round or flat drop cables with outer diameters of 3.0 mm to 10.5 mm.

Optical light sources (OLS), optical power meters (OPM) and video inspection scopes are an important part of every troubleshooter’s test kit.

Installing, qualifying and troubleshooting

fiber installations E

This video inspection scope is designed for analysis and reporting, and offers an external focus system and enhanced magnification to produce highdefinition images and meet IEC 61300-3-35.

Keith Foord

lectrical contractors are increasingly being tasked with installing fiber optic cables for datacom applications. ‘Running’ or ‘pulling’ fiber has similar challenges as copper and other communications cables, but also has its own particular requirements. When the fiber cable is finally installed, the next step is to qualify the fiber optic link to ensure that all customer design parameters have been met. This article will discuss the installation, qualification, reporting and subsequent troubleshooting and repair of typical fiber optic links. The nuances of fiber cable Fiber optic cable has many advantages over copper transmission cables, such as: • Highest bandwidth-density product • Small size and light weight • EMI/RFI isolation (SCADA [supervisory control & data acquisition]) • Intrusion resistant (water) • Immunity to electrical shorts • Wide temperature range • No spark or fire hazard Fiber cable also comes with some additional safety requirements. You should never look directly into a fiber cable, bulkhead or the bulkhead of any instrument. The light emitted from these instruments and cables is infrared and invisible to the human eye, but can be damaging. Protective

8 • May 2015 •

infrared eyewear should be worn when working with potentially live fibers. Also, the fiber end cuts produced during fusion splicing and termination can embed themselves into your hand or eyes, so protective eyewear should be worn. Fiber end cuts should be disposed of in a suitable container. Most datacom links are point-to-point (P2P) type of networks, which are characterized by a source and a receiver. This can be a simplex or duplex type of fiber. Simplex allows for one-way data transmission while duplex systems provide two-way. Fiber-to-the-X (FTTx, with ‘x’ representing home, curb, business, etc.) is another popular type of network. FTTx networks have bi-directional data transmission, and typically transmit data and video services through a splitter topology. Fiber optic cable installation Fiber optic drop cables have traditionally been hand-pulled due to their short lengths (50 ft to 500 ft, but averaging 200 ft). These cables may be round, flat, armoured or dielectric. Although distances for fiber drops are typically short, the distance in business parks and rural settings may at times exceed 500 ft and up to 1200 ft. The traditional method for installing fiber drops has been ‘hand-pulling’ but, with the frequency of installs increasing due to consumer demand, there is an emphasis on worker and fiber cable safety. Hand-pulling potentially leads to wrist, arm and shoulder injury. Standard

cable-pulling machines, however, tend to be heavy, difficult to transport from residence to residence, expensive, and require too much set-up time. Fiber-blowing technology is being implemented for round or flat drop cables with outer diameters of 3.0 mm to 10.5 mm, where the fiber is pushed through the micro-ducts. Longer distances can be accommodated with compressed air (jetted) and lubricants. Fiber counts from 1 to 144F microcables may be pushed or jetted. It is also possible to blow fiber into larger outside plant (OSP) ducts from 1/2-in., 3/4-in., 1-in. and 1 1/4-in. i.d. (inside diameter) using cabling speeds from 25 fpm to 300 fpm (feet per minute). Fiber-blowing reduces the dangerous aspect of fiber pulling and paves the way for efficient fiber installations. Some fiber optic cables are pre-terminated in the factory and ready for qualification and turning up of services once installed. This is very convenient, and the connectors are of very good quality since the terminations were made in the factory. The disadvantage is that the exact length fiber is probably not available, and the excess fiber must be safely installed and protected from damage. The other disadvantage is that the connector must be handled carefully, and might be damaged during fiber installation. When the fiber is not pre-terminated, the ends—naturally—will need to be terminated. This can be done with splice-on connectors (SOCs) or mechanical connectors, or by splicing half of a patch cord to the end of the fiber.

Fusion splicers are used to splice two fiber optic cables together, with some splicers capable of splicing a fiber optic cable to a splice-on connector. The use of SOCs in a fiber optic installation provides many advantages over mechanical connectors, and the method of splicing patch cords cut in half onto fiber optic cables (field fiber). Typically, SOCs are lower in cost when compared to mechanical connectors. The SOC is also precleaved and ready for splicing to the field fiber, thereby eliminating the time-consuming fiber stripping and cleaving processes. The need for splice trays is also eliminated, since the splice protector is housed within the actual SOC strain-relief boot. Fiber installations are also much neater and easier to manage because you do not need to estimate the length of the field fiber and patch cord, so the resulting splice protector can be mounted into a splice tray. Splice-on connectors do not add any additional loss to the overall connector, since fusion splicing has virtually zero loss, whereas a mechanical connector could add up to 0.4dB to the total loss for each connector. The SOC can be used in outdoor installations and is not affected by temperature variations and mechanical vibrations. When a mechanical connector is subjected to temperature or mechanical stresses, the insertion and return loss could increase substantially. This is caused by the fiber cleaves coming apart or shifting and/or the index matching gel shifting or drying up. Therefore, the overall loss budget and bit error rate would be compromised with mechanical connectors. The fiber end face of SOCs is factory-polished and outperforms field-polished connector products. When a mechanical connector does become lossy, you would have to first troubleshoot then repair the offending connector. This can, in fact, become one of the greatest cost savings with SOCs, since they would not have such a failure and would save expensive truck rolls. Fusion splicers can output the splice history so that a ‘birth certificate’ for each fiber splice can be generated to prove the quality of the splice with a time stamp and all other data specific to that splice.

which can be either a fully automated OLTS (automatically measures the insertion and return losses in both directions); another method is to use an individual laser (or LED) source with a complimentary optical power meter (OPM). Both of these loss test methods will not pinpoint where the losses are, as they only give the cumulative loss of the entire link. Optical

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time domain reflectometers, on the other hand, are able to measure the entire length of the fiber link so that the insertion loss and return loss of every event, and the cumulative losses, are documented. Once the measurements are made with either an OLTS or OTDR, you can generate a report (birth certificate) for the customer as proof of installation and compliance to design specs.

Tel: 905-820-6150 Toll Free: 1-800-363-1588

Inevitably, you will have either a problem qualifying or turning up a fiber optic link, or may be called upon to troubleshoot a previously functional link. Testing and troubleshooting tools will be required, and you will need to be well-versed on these tools to be able to effectively locate the fault and get the fiber link functioning again.

Fax: 905-820-6142 Email:

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Qualifying those fiber links Once the fiber is terminated, you may be required to qualify the fiber link to prove it meets customer design specs. One basic method is to use an optical loss test set (OLTS), Techspan_EB_May.indd 1

3:30•PM • 2015-04-10 May 2015 9

produce erroneous results that may send you on a wild goose chase (but you can fiddle with the OTDR to obtain optimum results). First, the overall expected length should be known from documentation recorded at the time of installation. Key settings for the OTDR are the Range, Pulse Width and Averaging Time. The range setting can then be set to the range that is just longer than the expected cable length. The pulse width will then be automatically set for optimum performance. You do have the option of setting the pulse width. A wider pulse width will inject more light energy into the fiber and allow the OTDR to measure longer cables, but the resolution of the measurement will be decreased. A smaller pulse width will yield a result with better resolution but, since less light energy was launched into the fiber, the maximum measurement distance will reduced. Increasing the averaging time will improve the signal-to-noise ratio, which will compensate for long cables being measured and for smaller pulse widths being used. Key specifications for an OTDR are Dynamic This optical fusion splicer is designed to meet virtually any FTTx application. Suitable for both indoor Range, Event Deadzone and Attenuation Deadzone. and outdoor splicing applications, the unit allows technicians to diagnose, splice and solve a variety of The higher dynamic range will allow the OTDR fiber optic problems. to probe further down a fiber and through lossy Failure to clean fiber optic connectors and that cleaning fiber optic cables is not optional. events, such as a splitter, which are typically found in bulkheads is responsible for over 60% of all When you want to be able to install and turn FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) installations. Fiber optic failures in fiber optic installations. When proper up a fiber link in a timely fashion, you must cable typically has a loss of 0.3dB/km, so an OTDR cleaning procedures are not adhered to, the clean the connectors before connecting. with a dynamic range of 35dB would easily probe a installation might not work, or might exhibit 100-km long fiber link (0.3dB/km x 100km = 30dB) only marginal performance. Also, when the Let’s not forget troubleshooting and still be able to see the end of the fiber. connector end faces are contaminated, they will Fiber optic troubleshooting tools consist of the The dynamic range of the OTDR is specified most likely damage the connector end face and visual fault locator (VFL), optical power meter at the widest pulse width and, therefore, will have cause subsequent contamination and damage to (OPM), fiber identifier and OTDR. When the poorest resolution at this width. The event all bulkheads/connectors to which it is mated. used properly at the right time, these tools will deadzone is the ability of the OTDR to resolve There are basically two different methods for enable you to identify the problem so that a the distance between two reflective events. The cleaning fiber connector end faces: ‘dry’ and timely repair can be made. attenuation deadzone is the ability of the OTDR ‘wet-dry’. The dry method can involve cleaning The OPM is the first tool you will use to see to resolve between a reflective event and a non-repens, reel cleaners and cleaning swabs. This whether a fiber optic cable has any signal on it. flective event, such as a bad fusion splice. Deadmethod is usually sufficient and will be able to Typically, you disconnect the fiber connector zones are specified at the narrowest pulse width clean most contaminates from the connector from the network equipment, clean the conand will, therefore, have the lowest dynamic range surface. The wet-dry method should be used to nector and insert the connector into the OPM and not be able to probe as far down the fiber. clean stubborn cases where the dry method was bulkhead. When there is a signal, the OPM will As you can see, the use of the OTDR is one of unable to remove the contaminant. display the optical power of the signal at the compromise: sometimes you will have to adjust the When a connector is damaged with a scratch, respective test wavelength. pulse width to obtain a clear picture of location and contaminants will be especially difficult to When there is no power measured on the nature of the fault. remove. In the wet/dry method, the technician cable, a VFL can be connected to the fiber. The applies a cleaning fluid to a lint-free wipe and VFL uses a 650nm laser that launches red light Education required... but not unobtainable places the ferrule onto the wet section of the into the fiber under test. The fiber will glow red Fiber installation for datacom networks requires a wipe, then moves the ferrule from the wet to where the fiber is broken, pinched or otherwise slightly different skill set as compared to electrical dry section in one motion. stressed. The force from an overly tight tie wrap cables, but nothing the typical contractor cannot Before any connector is plugged into a can cause losses, and it is recommended that learn fairly quickly. Installing the fiber is somewhat bulkhead, the connector end face needs to Velcro be used to secure fibers in raceways. The similar to copper installations, but you will soon be viewed on a video inspection scope. The VFL can also be used to confirm fiber continu- appreciate that fiber cannot be handled quite the Inspect, Clean if Necessary, Inspect Again, Connect ity, but should not be used to qualify a fiber link. same way as copper wires. method must be adhered to! When a connector The output of a VFL or fiber connector should Terminating and qualifying fiber cables requires does not need cleaning (as shown by the video never be viewed directly. Most VFL manufacnew instruments, new concepts and techniques scope), don’t clean it, as any contact with a fiber turers adhere to the Class 2 designation for safe to produce a successful fiber link. Repairing a connector is an opportunity for contamination. output power levels (as defined by the FDA). non-functioning fiber link requires you to employ When a connector cannot be cleaned, or is Never use a VFL with output power greater than your copper troubleshooting skills and apply them damaged, it must be replaced. to the new tools and techniques specific to fiber 0dBm (1mW), and never look into a fiber conSome customers may require you to prove optic networks. nector/bulkhead or directly into a VFL port! the connector end face was clean per the IEC When you are unable to find the fault loca61300-3-35 standard. Video scopes with this tion with the VFL, you should then turn to Keith Foord is product manager, Fiber Optics, with capability have Pass/Fail analysis and test all the OTDR to locate the distance to the fault. Greenlee Communications, a division within Greenlee four zones of connector and bulkhead end Inexperienced OTDR users can use the tool’s ( offering a faces. A report can be output to a PDF showAuto Mode; you just have to clean the concomplete line of test and measurement solutions for the ing a picture of the connector. An added feanector then connect the OTDR to the field communications service-provider industry. Keith has ture is that the reporting structure for some fiber and push Run. The fault location will been in the industry for over 20 years working in the scopes allows for the optical power measured usually be measured at the end of the fiber. As design and development of OTDRs, OLTSs, laser sources to be recorded in the same report. Remember with any instrument, Auto Mode can sometimes and detectors.

10 • May 2015 •

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Nissan’s all-electric e-NV200 was introduced to Canadians at the 2012 Canadian Auto Show in Toronto.

The time is nigh to electrify... your fleet! Charlotte Argue


lectric vehicles have emerged from the garages of gearheads and landed in the nation’s auto malls. And while their numbers aren’t yet threatening the gasmobile, the early adopters snapping up EVs have proven the cars a practical choice for many. While pure electric vehicles are not quite perfect for everyone on the road, those people who have gotten out there and made the switch are reaping the reward, such as the $3000+ per year that an individual driver saves in fuel and maintenance costs.

The case for fleet electrification Commercial and private fleets are particularly well-positioned to take advantage of the switch. Fleet drivers often follow regular routes, with a set schedule and a central dispatch... all ideal conditions, it turns out, for battery power. There are financial benefits, too; over the seven-year life of each fleet vehicle, operators could save $10,000 or more, despite the higher upfront price tag. In addition to a substantial decrease in fuel costs (up to 1/8th the cost per kilometre driven), electric cars require less maintenance, no oil changes and have less brake wear and tear. Fleet managers will also enjoy predictable, static electricity prices relative to daily changes in gas or diesel prices. Of course, not every fleet is ready for an extension cord. An electric 18-wheeler, for example, has yet to hit the market. That said, a study by FleetCarma found that 90% of the vehicles in the fleets they assessed were EV-ready. In July 2014, fleet managers in Oregon gathered for a workshop to identify where electric vehicles

12 • May 2015 •

would have the greatest benefit. They flagged predictable routes; short, regular trips; quiet, no-idling operations; and high-use vehicles. The City of Vancouver, meantime, is a local success story. Last year, electrics met 16% of the city’s new-vehicle needs. City councillor Raymond Louie has said they are ideal for the commutes of city staff, and there is an emerging business case for the cost savings.

emotive: promoting the Ev experience In an effort to raise public awareness of electric vehicles, the Province of British columbia—along with the Fraser Basin council, Metro Vancouver, city of Vancouver and city of Surrey—collaborated with a PR firm to launch a public outreach campaign called “emotive: the electric vehicle experience”. the group applied existing market research to identify target audiences and define key messaging to raise the profile of EVs. the campaign concept capitalized on the fun and exciting feeling of driving electric cars. key findings of the market research were presented at Electric Mobility canada’s 2014 annual conference ( Attendees learned about the strategy’s development and execution, any successes and challenges, and how outreach efforts were being amplified through community partners and EV ambassadors across the province.







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Ev battery owning/leasing & enhanced charging

1) 2)

Range Anxiety: the concern that the driving range of EVs (typically 80 miles given current battery capacity) isn’t enough to meet a driver’s needs. Resale Anxiety: the concern that the price of used EVs will not hold strong in the future, making it difficult for owners to resell their cars.

to understand the impact of consumer anxieties, the authors used a two-stage, game-theoretic modelling framework. the first stage examines the ”introduction phase” in which only new EVs are available. At this stage, consumers have little experience with the product and exhibit both types of anxieties. the second stage is the “maturity phase” in which both new and used EVs are available in the market. At this stage, the authors consider anxieties to diminish as consumers learn more about electric vehicles and the market. calibrating the model to the San Francisco Bay area freeway network, auto market figures and industry reports, the authors examined several business options to determine which would reassure consumers while also yielding desired profits. In contrast to the common current American model for EVs in which consumers own the vehicle with battery and recharge it at home overnight, the authors found two models offering promising alternatives. the first model represents the case in which an enhanced battery-charging service is made available through additional support infrastructure. this includes, for example, tesla’s supercharger stations and other quick-charging stations that are being introduced in the U.S. by firms such as chargepoint and NRG eVgo. In the second model, consumers lease the batteries and are also offered enhanced battery-charging services. one example is a business model that offers enhanced charging in the form of battery swapping coupled with the battery leasing service. In a second example, Renault is selling its ZoE in Europe with battery leasing and the support of quick-charging infrastructure. Interestingly, increasing the driving range of EVs through greater public charging infrastructure typically yields more “socially desirable adoption outcomes” (greater adoption and emission savings) than increasing the battery capacity of the EV itself. “therefore,” the authors advise, “policymakers must take into account these factors in implementing governmental policies to properly incentivize the involved parties, especially the private sector.”

14 • May 2015 •

Photo coURtESY VIA MotoRS.

A proper choice of business model plays a critical role in the electric vehicle industry where consumers are subject to range and resale anxieties. In particular, a combination of owning or leasing electric batteries and improving charging technology can reassure skeptics and help increase EV adoption. this is the finding of a study published in a paper entitled “toward Mass Adoption of Electric Vehicles: Impact of the Range and Resale Anxieties” by Michael k. Lim of the University of Illinois at Urbana-champaign, ho-Yin Mak of hong kong University of Science & technology, and Ying Rong of Shanghai Jiao tong University. According to the authors, two psychological barriers are holding back an increase in EV purchases:

While not quite all-electric, the onboard generator in this via Motors’ work truck can provide a worksite with 14.4kW of exportable power. Despite proven successes and the business case for cost savings, barriers to adoption linger for many fleet managers. The upfront cost, range anxiety, lack of familiarity, and the limited number of models from which to choose remain very real concerns. Bit by bit, these barriers are coming down. As the market grows, vehicle costs continue to fall. The price of batteries—an EV’s mostexpensive component—has fallen by 50% in the last four years, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects prices will halve again in the early 2020s. As a cushion, many governments are offering rebates until we hit that sweet spot. Ontario offers consumers $5000 to $8500, depending on the size of the battery pack. Similarly, Quebec’s rebate ranges from $5000 to $8000. Boosted by incentives and lower battery costs, automakers are introducing new battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle models every year. Soon, full-size SUVs, pickup trucks and vans already available in other markets will come to Canada. Governments lend a hand Fleet managers interested in integrating EVs now have access to a wider range of resources and support. Just over a year ago, the British Columbia government (along with California, Oregon and Washington) committed to pursuing a goal whereby 10% of all new vehicles purchased for public or private fleets must be zero-emission by 2016. The goal might sound modest to some but, if realized, has potential to make a big impact. It would mean that, by next year, one in 10 vehicles purchased by provincial or local government—or companies operating in those jurisdictions—will emit no carbon pollution whatsoever. This would add about another 3000 EVs beyond the 1166 already roaming the Pacific Province. We may soon be seeing electric vehicles everywhere, from taxis and delivery vans to carshares. The Pacific Coast Collaborative—the partnership of West Coast governments

overseeing the 10% fleet target—developed a toolkit that helps organizations see how well electric vehicles would fit for them. It includes cost calculators, vehicle incentives, and resources on available fleet vehicles ( To facilitate the next step, Clean Energy Canada and the Fraser Basin Council— in collaboration with Electric Mobility Canada—presented “Electrify Your Fleet” in Vancouver at EMC’s EV2014 national conference ( Experts were on-hand for those keen on diving into the details of having electric vehicles in their fleets. Speakers dissected barriers to EV procurement, as well as the environmental and financial benefits of integrating zeroemission cars into existing fleets. The Pacific Coast Collaborative has taken the lead with its 10% target. Now it’s up to the rest of us to pick up the ball and run with it, and reap the benefits EVs can bring. With falling costs and a wealth of resources available, now is the time for fleet managers to seriously consider adopting electric vehicles. Submitted by Charlotte Argue, this article (co-authored by Fraser Basin Council and Clean Energy Canada) ties in with a presentation she delivered on behalf of Plug In BC entitled “Emotive: Promoting the Electric Vehicle Experience” at Electric Mobility Canada’s 2014 annual conference (see sidebar page 12).

EDUCATE AT THE SPEED OF NOW! What better way to show off your expertise than by having us orchestrate your very own webinar, or sponsoring a subject matter expert? That’s quality education for a fast-paced world. Contact John MacPherson (905) 713-4335 •

calendar IN CASE YOU MISSED IT... pHoTos • Alberta

Electrical League (AEL) hosted its annual one-day Electrical Learning Expo in Calgary, Alta. in March, and EBMag was there to take in some of the sessions, and bring you photos from the show floor. Visit vIdEo • So what is “Industry 4.0”, and what does it have to do with Siemens and—of all things—the Mars rover Curiosity? Electrical Business Magazine solves the mystery. visit

skills Canada National Competition May 27-30, Saskatoon, Sask. Visit



oEl Industry golf Tournament Ontario Electrical League Aug. 12, Nobleton, Ont. Visit EFC Federation Cup golf Tournament Electro-Federation Canada Aug. 19, Milton, Ont. Visit







CIgRÉ Canada Conference International Council on Large Electric Systems Aug. 31-sept. 1, Winnipeg, Man. Visit




Franklin Empire Customer Appreciation day Franklin Empire sept. 9, Toronto, Ont. Visit






THERE! boasts well over 25,000 page views per month. That’s a whole lot of good online exposure for very reasonable rates! Contact Scott Hoy (905) 726-4664 •



Electric utility Fleet Managers Conference (EuFMC) May 31-June 3, Williamsburg, va. Visit oCI-NB power suppliers day and 35th Annual CNs Conference NB Power June 1-2, Saint John, N.B. Visit Alberta safety Codes Council Conference June 3-5, Banff, Alta. Visit CsA group Annual Conference & Committee Week June 14-19, Niagara Falls, Ont. Visit







BCEA Kelowna Trade Expo British Columbia Electrical Assoc. June 17, Kelowna, B.C. Visit ECAo-IBEW 2015 Annual golf Tournament Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario June 17, Milton, Ont. Visit EFC ontario Region golf day Electro-Federation Canada June 24, Nobleton, Ont. Visit

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ontario Energy Industry sunnybrook Foundation golf Tournament Ontario Energy Network July 16, Gormley, Ont. Visit utility Contractors Assoc. of ontario 2015 Convention July 26-28, Minett, Ont. Visit R&PI ad 6.375x9.75 EB final.indd 1 Eaton_EB_May.indd 1

15-03-17 5:25 PM • May 2015 • 15 2015-04-13 3:24 PM

level up

Adam Cooper

Project labour/cost management part 2



TABlE 2 Tony’s timecard

n my last column (EB March Type of work units Hours Budget Budget Type of work units Hours Budget Budget 2015), I explored the facet of (units/h) (h/unit) (units/h) (h/unit) every project with the most risk MC cable 900 24 37.5 MC cable 25,000 600 42 and least control: project labour. 3/4” EMT 3/4” EMT 5000 400 13 The next step is to begin to manage 2” EMT 2” EMT 400 40 10 labour through productivity, which is Branch wire Branch wire 20,000 250 80 simply a measure of how much material is installed in a given Feeder wire Feeder wire 1400 50 28 amount of time. Light fixtures Light fixtures 50 50 1.0 Electrical contractors typically Parking lot lights Parking lot lights 4 16 4.0 measure material in feet (e.g. Panels 1 16 16.0 Panels 2 32 16.0 conduit, cable, wire) or in quantity Total 40 Total 1438 of units (e.g. fixtures, panels, device trim). These quantities may * Note that total hours in this labour budget (1438) are almost identical be provided when the project is to the man-loaded schedule (1440) in my March column. estimated with a software package; if not, then a takeoff will need to be performed by the project manager and/ come in on budget; fail to meet these or superintendent. Let’s say the project manager goals, and labour costs will overrun the only received unit pricing, so he did a takeoff to budget. Although there are other factors determine the quantities of materials he’s going to that can have an impact on project track for productivity. He also the estimated the labour costs, productivity is by far the hours for each type of activity, and loaded all the info most significant in determining project into a spreadsheet (Table 1). success. Measuring productivity rates is The two right-hand columns show the calculated the most successful indicator of labour productivity rates for each type of activity. For success and failure. materials measured in feet (first five rows) we use So how do we take these numbers and a units per hour rate. For materials measured in translate them into something we can use quantities or counts (bottom three rows) we use an on the job? The easiest way is to have hours per unit rate. your workers report how many units or These are the production goals for the project. feet of material they install each day. They Simply put, meet these goals and the labour will can write it down on their timecard or on the sign in/out sheet, on a piece of paper they give to the superintendent, or on a production report they fill out daily. get larger, you must have tools in place to Once you have the installed quantities measure progress, or it becomes impossible and labour hours for the week, you can to accurately forecast your labour costs. calculate a worker’s actual productivity for the day/week. It should look something Adam Cooper has over 20 years of electrical like Tony’s timecard (Table 2). construction and contracting experience, and By comparing his timecard to the has worked for several of the largest electrical budgeted production rates, we can contractors in the U.S. He started Ascent see that he’s right on budget for the Consulting ( to offer panel he installed, but he’s a little slow his knowledge and experience to organizations installing MC cable this week. Now that looking for ways to grow and improve. we’ve identified a problem, we can take corrective action right away. As projects get larger, it’s often easier to collect the data and perform the production report each week. Data is SPECIAL DIGITAL collected by the foremen each day and reported to the superintendent on Fridays. DELIVERY! He submits the data with the timecards Looking for that special something to (typically on Mondays), after which reach new customers? Reach our 100% productivity rates can be calculated in the CASL-compliant subscriber list with one office. A summary report can then be sent of our custom eBlasts and go directly to to the superintendent and project manager, your prospective customer’s Inbox. and inefficient activities can be identified, addressed and (hopefully) resolved. Contact Scott Hoy The key to managing labour costs on (905) 726-4664 a project is to identify the problem areas CAN 519.822.2960 | USA 716.630.7030 | early so they can be addressed before they have an impact on labour costs. As projects

Although there are other factors that can have an

impact on project labour

costs, productivity is by far the most significant in

determining project success.

16 • May 2015 •

Hammond_EB_March.indd 1

2013-02-22 10:33 AM

Hammer out a refund on your

tax return A

s a skilled tradesperson, improving your craft is no easy feat. Every day, you try hard to be the best and prove your ability. You’re hands-on, dependable and take pride in your workmanship. You have the qualifications and you have the skills, but do you have the tools when it comes to filing your tax return? Speaking of tools, if you bought new ones for work this year, you may have been able to claim a tradesperson’s tools deduction of up to $500 on your tax return. You may also have been eligible for a GST/HST rebate. If you’re self-employed, you may have been able to deduct other reasonable expenses you paid to earn income, including vehicle expenses, supplies needed to complete a job and office space expenses. Have you converted part of your garage into a workspace for building custom cabinets? When you use part of your home for business, you can deduct a portion of your maintenance costs such as heat, home insurance, electricity, cleaning materials and more. To find out more, visit and select Business Expenses. Don’t forget that the deadline to file your income tax and benefit return is generally April 30. However, if you or your spouse or commonlaw partner is self-employed, the deadline is June 15. But take note: if you have a balance owing for 2014, you still have to pay it on or before April 30, 2015. Employers can benefit too! If your business hires a qualified apprentice working in an approved Red Seal trade, you may qualify to claim the apprenticeship job creation tax credit. This non-refundable investment tax credit is equal to the lesser of $2000 or 10% of the eligible apprentices’ salaries or wages. Don’t need to use the whole credit amount this year? Carry the unused amount back three years or carry it forward up to 20 years! For more

information on the Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit and other investment tax credits, visit and select Investment Tax Credit. Filing electronically with Netfile is easy, secure and allows the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to process your return much faster. If you use Netfile and are expecting a refund, your money can be directly deposited in your account in as little as eight business days (weeks faster than had you filed on paper). For a list of software and web applications—including some that are free for everyone—go to You can deal with many of your tax matters online by using My Account or My Business Account, which are both available at www.cra. Amend your return, track your refund, change your address and much more, all with a few clicks of a mouse. With so many services available online, it’s easy to stay on top of your tax affairs year-round. You can also choose to receive your notice of assessment online, so you can view your mail when it’s convenient for you. Even with all of your training and credentials, it’s still important to think with your head. If

And beware the underground economy your clients suggest you do a job under-the-table, understand that you are putting yourself at risk by accepting cash and avoiding taxes. If you are caught evading taxes, you may face fines, penalties or even jail time. Save yourself the trouble—don’t participate in the underground economy. Under-the-table deals undermine the integrity of Canada’s tax system, and provide certain contractors with an unfair, illegal advantage over those who follow Canada’s tax laws. For more about the underground economy, go to undergroundeconomy. If you have ever made a mistake or omission and would like to correct your tax affairs, you can find more information about the CRA’s Voluntary Disclosures Program at voluntarydisclosures. To find out more about deductions and tax credits for employed tradespersons, go to You can also stay on top of the latest CRA news or tax tips by following @CanRevAgency on Twitter. — With files from Canada Revenue Agency

Brothers & Wright Electrical Services Inc. pleads guilty to tax evasion Brothers & Wright Electrical Services Inc. of Markham, Ont., pleaded guilty in November 2011 to one count of evading GST under the Excise Tax Act, says Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and one count of federal income tax evasion under the Income Tax Act in the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket, Ont. The company was fined $165,822, representing 200% of the total amount evaded. A CRA investigation revealed that $379,705 in non-business related expenses were claimed on the corporation’s 2004 to 2006 tax returns. The corporation claimed construction expenses for personal cottages for two of the corporation’s directors. In addition, $24,007 of input tax credits for GST related to these personal expenses were also improperly claimed as business expenses. • May 2015 • 17

We continue to explore electrical technologies, products and systems for the discerning homeowner... where cost is not an issue! This month we look at the latest and greatest in signalling systems—specifically, intercom and home security platforms that take monitoring above and beyond your client’s perimeter.

Gamify the home with luxury security Renée Francoeur

Residential signalling with all the bells and whistles

Photo R. Francoeur.


trolling through the labs and teeming testing rooms at Mircom’s corporate headquarters in Vaughan, Ont., it doesn’t take you long to see how far home security systems have come. Gone are the bulky, steel boxes of numbered buttons and separate control systems for fire alarms and door locks. Today, it’s all about a sleek touchscreen. “Security goes beyond the perimeter of the home now,” said Jason Falbo, Mircom’s vicepresident of engineering. What he means is that smartphones and tablets are able to track both the property and the occupants themselves via a motley of sensors that transmit information in real-time 24/7. In other words, a client’s interest in a mere gate camera can be just the beginning. Mircom’s TX3 InSuite platform package can start with a basic video doorbell and expand to integrate room-to-room video intercom, home automation and system integration. The TX3 station comes with a 10-in. LCD tablet that acts as the main controller. It answers calls, records and greets visitors outside, and integrates with access control to lock doors. It can also be programmed to control lights and appliances, and share announcements and calendars with the home’s occupants. Another bonus with the tablet technology is the ability to relay and capture monitoring information remotely from any smartphone via a web portal. For a single-family house of about 2000 sf to 3000 sf, packages can be as low as $3000 to $5000, Falbo said. In the luxury market, that figure can climb upward of $100,000 for total automation and beyond. Speaking of beyond, very high-end systems may come with the ability to instruct a faucet when to run a bath, or tie into a wearable device that monitors an aging parent’s blood pressure, Falbo added. Mircom’s systems are power-over-ethernet (PoE), leveraging the IP network—a benefit for contractors because the infrastructure is already there, Falbo explained. At Leviton Canada, the ultimate home would have to be fitted with an OmniPro II

Photo courtesy Leviton.

Jonathan Auguste, an application engineer at Mircom, explains how—among its other features—the TX Touch controls appliances for energy efficiency.

automation system, including all OmniTouch 7 products, according to Maurice Bouskéla, business development specialist with Leviton’s security and automation department. Installing an Omni system can cost around $3/sf to $4/sf inside a home and upward of $7/sf as you add “all the bells and whistles,” Bouskéla said, such as home theatre controls. Bouskéla also pointed out they are seeing an increased demand for BitWise controllers. Small, black boxes that can be put anywhere, these “mini processors/IP-based communicators” use a tablet or smartphone interface to control sub-systems. For example, after arming the Omni system, the BitWise will send out infrareds or RS232 commands to turn off a TV that had been left on. When it comes to security systems, flexibility is key for ELK, a manufacturer of home convenience solutions based in North Carolina. With ELK’s M1 Gold hybrid (hardwired and wireless) control system (with a built-in astronomical clock), clients can program their own rules. It has 16 on-board zones, expandable to 208. “Let’s say when a client opens a front door, they want the foyer light to come on... but only when it’s dark outside. Well, they can write this custom rule from drop-down menus,” said Trudy Phillips, ELK’s director of sales and marketing. Start-up kits for installers start around $500 US.

Additionally, the two-way wireless technology is practically “hacker-proof,” Phillips claimed. “It scans and hops across 25 frequency channels making it virtually impossible for an outsider to scan or lock onto the operating frequency,” she said, adding it has the UL listing that requires it to detect and report outside jamming. As for how to market such dream homeworthy products to clients, Falbo recommended that contractors demonstrate the return on investment. “You see a return quite quickly, whether it’s with reduced electrical consumption or otherwise,” he said. “Some basic financial spreadsheets can be used to show people how great these solutions are.” Blogging about these installations and citing case studies is also valuable, he said, because “people buy based on a feeling that it’s established and someone else is using it”. With these types of updated systems, another selling point is the fact that clients don’t have to deal with multiple companies or pay a third party, Bouskéla said. Additionally, they’re not as complicated to program as they once were thanks to remote smartphone interfaces. A PoE “one-system-does-all” is also attractive to Generation X and Y buyers who are looking for something new to showcase as a “source of pride,” Falbo said, adding these systems are like “gamifying your life”.

Leviton’s Omni Touch 7 screen illustrates how home controls can be customized to the user.

Stock Photo

Protecting those priceless heirlooms

18 • May 2015 •

When it comes to high-end homes, there’s no such thing as “too much”. So for those with rooms full of inherited artwork or valuables worth a substantial amount of money, clients may want a separate fire alarm/control system. Mircom’s suppression control units are used primarily in data control centres as well as museums, Falbo said, but it isn’t unheard of to put one in a luxury home where high-value assets deserve protection. “When you have a suppression system with a dry agent or a gas, it will actually go and extinguish a fire to protect painting, clothes,” said Falbo, noting that it may be too late for the valuables inside with standard alarm fire detection systems.

personalities Schneider Electric Mike Doherty— has named Juan EBMag’s Macias its Canada “Electrical country president, Safety 360” replacing Daniel columnist—has Péloquin, who joined Shermco has moved to an Canada as director Juan Macias Mike Doherty of Learning advisory role with Schneider Electric & Continual Improvement. Canada. Juan Doherty has more than 40 years comes to Schneider of industrial and electrical utility from GE, where he spent the last decade in leadership roles in Electrical Daniel Péloquin Construction Products and Digital Energy Management. Prior to GE, Juan spent 15 years at ABB Inc. in sales and management across a range of solutions in power transmission and distribution. Péloquin, meantime, will continue to represent Schneider’s views on energy efficiency, sustainability, smart cities, corporate social responsibility, etc., at conferences across North America (

experience as a licensed electrician, instrumentation technician, control technician, electrical skills instructor at Ontario Hydro, electrical utility safety department professional and electrical safety trainer ( M.J. (Mike) Marsh has been appointed president of SaskPower (

Marsh joined the utility in 1991 following 12 years in the construction industry in Alberta and Saskatchewan. He has been Mike Marsh acting president & CEO of SaskPower since the resignation of Robert Watson in October 2014.

Apply For $120,000 in 52 Scholarships

Wago has appointed Ron Bin as the new field application engineer for Ontario ( He joins the team following a career Ron Bin in applications engineering and business development at Marwood Metal Fabrication and Siemens Canada. Congratulations to Michelle Chislett, vice-president & country manager at SunEdison (, winner of the inaugural Solar Power Woman of Distinction Award from Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE,, in partnership with Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA, The award recognizes women who have made “extraordinary contributions to the solar industry”.

The Electro-Federation Canada Scholarship Program has been supporting students for 20 years.

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2015-02-18 PM • May 20152:34 • 19

Cowessess & NRCan

demonstrate combined wind generation and battery storage

The wind turbine at Cowessess First Nation. Photo courtesy Saskatchewan Research Council.

Chantal Hunter


ind energy is one of the fastest-growing sources of electricity around the world. However, wind is an intermittent resource and CO2-emitting fossil fuels like coal are often needed to help balance the power load. A demonstration project at the Cowessess First Nation near Regina, Sask., aims to demonstrate that a combined wind generation and battery storage system can provide constant, continuous and renewable electricity for on-grid applications. The first of its kind in Canada to use lithium-ion batteries for wind energy storage, the project is also generating new revenue for the First Nation through the sale of the electricity to SaskPower, the provincial power utility.

Lithium-ion batteries used to capture and store the wind energy at Cowessess First Nation. Photo courtesy Saskatchewan Research Council.

Wind energy and storage technology Given its geography and climatic conditions, Saskatchewan has considerable potential to harness wind energy. These conditions would allow for wind turbines to generate approximately 40% of the province’s electricity annually were that potential to be fully realized. With funding received from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), a wind-battery storage system was installed in April 2013 on land near Regina owned by the Cowessess First Nation. Consisting of an 800kW turbine and two 200kW lithium-ion batteries, the storage system allows more energy to be captured and used. The combined system is now producing about 2200MWh of electricity per year—enough energy to power 300 typical Saskatchewan homes. “Because wind energy is intermittent, one of the benefits of battery storage technology is that it allows for a more constant flow of electricity,” says Rob Brandon, assistant program director with NRCan’s Office of Energy Research & Development. Battery storage systems provide electricity when needed and store extra energy produced on windy days for use during low-wind periods.

power output from wind by almost 80%. Furthermore, by displacing power from the province’s coal-fired power plants, the system is expected to reduce Saskatchewan’s greenhouse gas emissions by almost 2000 tonnes annually. “Collection of wind energy combined with the ability to store the energy and use it during low-wind situations could significantly increase our future capacity to use wind resources as an alternative to fossil fuels,” says Brandon.

Wind energy and storage potential The project is a collaboration between NRCan, the Cowessess First Nation and the Saskatchewan Research Council. Since its installation in April 2013, the storage system has been able to reduce the volatility of the

This article was originally published by Natural Resources Canada in January 2015 as “Harnessing and Storing Wind Power”, and published here with permission. It is a reproduction of an official work published by NRCan, but has not been produced in affiliation with, nor with the endorsement of, Natural Resources Canada.

20 • May 2015 •

Future for wind storage technology Researchers are studying potential future applications for this technology, including the possibility for it to act as a stand-alone unit and provide electricity to remote off-grid communities in Canada and elsewhere. For example, there are 75 First Nation home reserve lands in Saskatchewan, and about 20 of these have excellent sites for potential replication. The project will supply energy to the grid through a 20-year power purchase agreement as part of SaskPower’s Green Options Partners Program. “Harnessing the wind to produce electrical power has the potential to be an excellent business opportunity for First Nations people in Saskatchewan and across Canada,” Brandon noted.

lighting products


Cree SmartCast LED troffers with field-adjustable temperatures

Cree Inc. has introduced fieldadjustable colour temperature to its SmartCast-enabled CR Series LED troffers, which are available in temperatures from 3000K to 5000K (in 500K increments). Cree says this lighting control system reduces energy consumption by more than 70% compared to traditional fluorescent luminaires without SmartCast technology. CREE

Eye Lighting Aphos luminaires

Eye Lighting introduced a new member of its Aphos family of LED luminaires—the Aphos mini series. The Aphos mini 39W luminaires deliver 3000 lumens in type II, IIA, III and V configurations. It has IP65-rated optics and an IP67-rated driver for protection against water, insects and dirt. Customers can select either 4000K or 5000K colour temperatures, with 70 CRI. EYE LIGHTING

Sepco launches SolarSlide outdoor lighting system

Solar Electric Power Co. (Sepco) recently unveiled the SolarSlide

Extech 1000A clamp meter with Bluetooth

solar-powered outdoor LED lighting system. Solar power assemblies for the product range from 10W to 425W, with batteries lasting a minimum of five days. For ocean shore areas, endangered seaturtle lighting is also available. The product is ETL listed and has been approved for use in Canada. SEPCO

Prescolite’s MegaLum offers outputs above 16,000 lumens

Prescolite’s MegaLum LED downlight is now offered in packages ranging up to more than 16,000 lumens. It is available in either a downlight (MD8LED) or cylinder (MC10LED), and has a minimum rated life of 50,000 hours. The company says MegaLum is best suited to high ceiling applications (20 ft to 60 ft). PRESCOLITE

Extech Instruments has introduced the EX850, a 1000A AC/DC Cat IV clamp meter with Bluetooth technology and a built-in infrared thermometer. It can remotely view and display readings from the meter on an Android phone or tablet up to 10 m (30 ft) away. EXTECH

Dewalt multi-level workshop

Dewalt’s new multi-level workshop—model DWST20880— is a four-level, mobile workstation with 90 lb of load capacity and 22.5 gal of storage space. The product features a single pull-up latch, a reinforced telescopic metal pull handle and heavy-duty 8-in. rubber wheels. It retails for about $129.99. DEWALT

Stanley introduces TLM99s laser distance measurer

Stanley’s TLM99s— model STHT77343— syncs to smart phones and tablets via the Stanley floor plan app. The measurer automatically calculates square footage, volume, and distance and, with a range of 100 ft, is accurate to within +/-3/32 in. TLM99s features an addition and subtraction function and can be set to work in English or metric, or fractional or decimal modes. STANLEY TOOLS

Subaru improves SGX generators

Subaru Industrial has upgraded its line of commercial-grade SGX generators with a larger fuel tank, “no-flat” tires and larger mufflers. The SGX line, which includes the SGX3500, SGX5000 and the SGX7500E, feature Subaru EX Series overhead cam engines. Subaru said it also modified its control panel, adjusting both the hour meter and the placement of the engine switch. SUBARU

EBMag launching canada-widE ElEctrical SafEty awards PrograM Canada’s leading electrical industry publication, Electrical Business Magazine, is launching its Electrical Safety Champion Awards Program this year, which aims to recognize Canadian companies and individuals who are passionate about promoting the health & safety of Canadian electrical workers.

These awards recognize both individuals and organizations as evaluated against criteria that reinforce:

The awards program recognizes this commitment across several categories AND you are permitted to nominate yourself!

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code file

Nansy Hanna, P.Eng

Photovoltaic system rapid shutdown


he 2015 CE Code contains several interesting changes and new requirements for solar photovoltaic installations, including a requirement for rapid shutdown. New Rule 64-218 “Photovoltaic system rapid shutdown”—as the name implies—requires a way to quickly and safely de-energize the downstream electrical equipment to address the inherent shock hazard that solar PV systems present to first responders (e.g. firefighters). Interestingly, the new rule does not specify how to execute rapid shutdown—only the end result. Rapid shutdown requirements apply to solar PV systems on buildings and encompass the overall ‘PV system’, which includes the PV source and output conductors, inverter I/O, batteries, and charge controller I/O. These requirements apply to solar PV circuits that are more than 3 metres from a PV array or circuits that extend more than 1.5 metres in length inside a building. Were a combiner box installed within 3 metres of a PV array on a typical roof-mounted PV installation, for example, the PV output circuits and AC circuits must be enabled for rapid shutdown, whereas the PV source conductors (conductors between PV modules and from PV modules to the combiner) are left energized. Rapid shutdown does not actually mandate 0 volts on these circuits. Instead, the Rule requires the voltage be limited to 30V and 240VA within

10 seconds of rapid shutdown initiation. Based on Rule 64-200(2) and (3), a rapid shutdown marking shall be provided at the disconnecting means for the PV output circuit (DG [distributed generator] source disconnect). The marking:

PHOtOVOLtaIC SYSteM eQuIPPeD WItH raPID SHutDOWn shall be in white uppercase letters (minimum height of 9.5 mm) on a red background. Again, Rule 64-218 is not specific as to what can be used as the rapid shutdown initiator, so long as the equipment satisfies the criteria specified. Examples include a utility disconnect switch, DG disconnect switch or rapid shutdown switch. Rule 64-218 also does not specify the location of the rapid shutdown initiator but, considering it is to be used by emergency responders, the most suitable location is typically at or near the service equipment. Let’s consider some examples for satisfying this new requirement. #1. A manufactured rapid shutdown system There are a few such systems in the market and, while some of them provide module-level

Questions and answers compiled by the Electrical Safety Authority

Tackle The Code Conundrum... if you dare! Answers to this month’s questions in June’s Electrical Business.

How did you do with the last quiz? Are you a... Master Electrician ? (3 of 3) Journeyman ? (2 of 3) Apprentice ? (1 of 3) Plumber ?! (0 of 3)

Question 1

Answers: EBMag April 2015

non-locking 15a receptacles in a hospital shall be “hospital-grade” in:

Q-1: the minimum size conduit required for 36 #12aWg copper rW75 XLPE 600V-rated conductors, without a jacket, is:

a) Critical care areas only b) Intermediate and Critical care areas only c) Basic, Intermediate and Critical care areas d) the whole building

Fire alarm system conductors are permitted to be installed in electrical non-metallic tubing only where embedded in at least 50mm of masonry or poured concrete. b) true

Q-2: the maximum ampacity for a #2aWg, 90C insulated copper conductor installed in a conduit located in a boiler room of 60C ambient temperature is: b) 92.3A. Rule 4-004 & Table 5A. Q-3: a wall-mounted luminaire is required to be independently supported from the outlet box when it weighs more than:

Question 3 the maximum standard rating for a time-delay fuse required for overcurrent protection to a 5.0hp, 240vdc motor is: a) 20a b) 25a


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• Combiner box with a contactor shall be installed within 3 m of the array. • Control devices and circuitry (that activate a contactor within combiner box) shall be installed to remotely activate the contactor. • Emergency responders are able to initiate rapid shutdown by using either the DG system disconnect, a rapid shutdown controller or utility disconnect switch. #3. Micro-inverters and AC modules These inherently comply with rapid shutdown requirements because of their design and application; all that is needed to achieve a fully compliant installation is to interrupt AC power and provide the marking requirements as per 64-200(2) and (3). Nansy Hanna is the director for Engineering & Program Development at Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) where, among other things, she is responsible for product safety, code development, improving harmonization and alternative compliance, worker safety, and aging infrastructure programs. She is a LEED-Accredited Professional and a member of CSA CE Code-Part I, Sections 24, 32, 46, 50 and 64. Nansy can be reached at

Always consult the

electrical inspection authority in your province/territory for more specific interpretations.

c) 13 kg. Rule 30-302.

c) 30a d) 35a


#2. Combiner box with a contactor For this scenario, the following must be considered:

c) 1-1/2 in. Rule 12-1014(5) & Table 6.

Question 2

a) true


control (which is a higher-level of protection), the Rule does not currently mandate it.



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22 • May 2015 •



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