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.

Solar Growth is Affected By COVID-19
Solar Growth is Affected By COVID-19 aconstanza Wed, 04/08/2020 - 16:04

Solar Growth is Affected By COVID-19

In February 2020, Wood Mackenzie released two reports predicting high growth in solar markets in the 2020s, but the global energy consultancy company is reevaluating these positive prediction sin light of COVID-19.

One of the February reports suggested that solar would become cheaper and more efficient. The other called the 2020’s the “decade of emerging solar PV markets” and stated that the talks at the UNFCCC’s 26th Conference of Parties held in the U.K., set to be held in November 2020, “will invariably lead to more action from financial institutions and investors to redirect capital towards zero-carbon energy.”

Most recently, however, Wood Mackenzie released its newest report on solar specifically on U.S. utility-scale solar projects. The report stated, “The coronavirus pandemic is likely to have a material impact on utility-scale solar installations in the U.S. this year, and perhaps even into 2021.”

In the report, “Coronavirus: U.S. Solar PV Supply Chain and Utility-Scale Market Risk,” Wood Mackenzie noted in a best-case scenario, the market could see up to four weeks of supply delays affecting a few hundred megawatts of modules and inverters. This, combined with construction disruptions, could translate into as much as 2-gigawatt (GW) DC of project development delays this year.

“The worst-case scenario, which sees every step of the supply chain development come to a complete halt for several weeks, could see upwards of 5 GW DC of U.S. utility-scale market pushed back to the second half of this year and perhaps into 2021,” said Ravi Manghani, one of the report’s co-authors.

The report identified four sources of solar module supply risk to U.S. utility-scale solar projects, all of which pose a threat to the pipeline in varying degrees. These are potential production shutdown in Southeast Asia, domestic U.S. production shutdown, international shipping and logistics delays and module bill of material shortage.

In addition to these solar module supply risks, the report identified four potential project development risks: shipping delays resulting from the potential closing of U.S. ports, supply delays of projects, travel delays that limit or delay project milestones, and site shutdowns due to shelter in place orders or on-site COVID-19 infections.

“Solar manufacturers that have geographically diverse supply chains, and downstream players that have development pipelines in very early stage (or nearing completion), are the best positioned to ride the tide, assuming COVID-19 disruptions subside by the end of the third quarter this year,” added the report.

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Recent NERC Grid Security Exercise a Success – Mostly
Recent NERC Grid Security Exercise a Success – Mostly aconstanza Wed, 04/08/2020 - 13:47

Recent NERC Grid Security Exercise a Success – Mostly

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) released the results of its latest GridEx (GridEx V) Grid Security Exercise in a “Lessons Learned Report” on March 31.

NERC conducted its fifth biennial Grid Security Exercise (GridEx), a grid security and emergency response exercise, in November 2019. The exercise was structured as two days of distributed play, providing an opportunity for stakeholders in the electricity industry to respond to simulated cyber and physical attacks that affected the reliable grid operation.

While the exercise was almost a total success, NERC did highlight a few weaknesses that it saw as possible causes for concern in the future.

One of these was that, “While many utilities used GridEx to strengthen their relationships with RCs [Reliability Coordinators], law enforcement, and government agencies, others lacked the resources needed to coordinate responses to the challenges in the scenario.”

Move 0 is GridEx’s world building phase, and the exercise gave participants information that cyber and physical security threats against the industry were growing, although they had no information about which facilities were targeted. This was a pre-exercise training that highlights the work hackers do in advance, and these are not unlike the infiltrations from Russia in the past few years, including hacking into the grid early to inspect for when they return to cause damages.

Each day, members received three to five exercise threat notifications that said hackers were “aggressively conducting cyber and physical reconnaissance of electricity grid, telecommunications, and natural gas facilities across North America." This took place during the three weeks prior to beginning GridEx. Members thought this portion of the exercise was valuable because it showed how quickly the threat level can grow against the grid. However, many participants were concerned Move 0 was too long, and in response, the planning team will shorten this exercise to one to two weeks in future exercises.

A third concern was that supply chain participation in GridEx V was very limited, leaving potential exposures to the utility industry.

The report noted, “Only three major electric industry supply chain vendors officially registered for GridEx V, although the number of participating vendors may have been greater. It is incumbent upon participating organizations to include supply chain partners in their response plans. Some organizations chose to engage with their supply chain partners during the exercise, while others did not.”

The problem here, according to NERC, is that supply chain vendors that do not avail themselves of the lessons and experiences provided by GridEx exercises may end up being targeted by hackers and would also not have the necessary resources to be involved in responses to actual cyber attacks on the utilities they serve.

As a result, NERC sees as one of its next steps to,“Build on the positive contribution of the supply chain providers who participated in GridEx V by including other critical providers in the exercise.”

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Virginia Legislature Passes Ambitious Clean Energy Bill
Virginia Legislature Passes Ambitious Clean Energy Bill aconstanza Mon, 04/06/2020 - 12:14

Virginia Legislature Passes Ambitious Clean Energy Bill

Green power has been building momentum for many years, but it still needs help from policy makers. Virginia has been a state that has long relied on one of the most notorious of fossil fuels, and lawmakers have made a bold move.

In March, Virginia state legislators approved a comprehensive bill that will make the state one of the nation’s leaders in renewable power. The state has been one of the nation’s largest sources of coal. With the passage of the Clean Economy Act, lawmakers have set their state on a path toward becoming one of the nation’s top clean energy providers.

The bill contains several ambitious goals. It creates a Renewable Portfolio Standard that will require the state’s two largest utilities, Dominion Energy Virginia and American Electric Power, to generate 100% of their electricity from either solar or onshore wind from within the state. The two utilities will have to meet the standard by 2045 and 2050, respectively.

The measure is also bullish on energy storage. It requires Dominion and American to construct or acquire 400 and 2,700 megawatts of energy storage capacity, respectively, by the year 2035.

Additionally, the bill sets a standard for energy efficiency. Starting in 2022, it requires American to achieve incremental annual energy efficiency savings of .5% and 1.25% for Dominion. Both utilities will be required to increase those savings annually.

Another provision of the bill requires state regulators to devise a carbon dioxide cap and trade program that complies with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cooperative effort among Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector.

Governor Ralph Northam has until April 11 to sign the bill.

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Staying Power: Taylor Electric’s Methods for Continuing Success
Staying Power: Taylor Electric’s Methods for Continuing Success aconstanza Thu, 04/02/2020 - 12:17

Staying Power: Taylor Electric’s Methods for Continuing Success

As one of Chicago’s oldest family-owned electrical contractors, Taylor Electric Co. attributes its staying power to communication and quality work. The company focuses on vertical commercial and residential/hospitality projects, along with facilities maintenance of large-scale venues such as sports arenas and malls with complex electrical components.

“It’s always been about doing a good job and working well with others,” said Bryan K. Taylor, an electrician and foreman for Taylor Electric.

Bryan is a grandson of company founder Sam Taylor.

Sam Taylor
Portrait of Founder Sam Taylor

“It’s definitely about the quality of our work,” said Karen Michele Dinkins, COO and great granddaughter of the company’s founder. “Work done with integrity. That’s what accounts for customers who’ve been with us 30, 40 or 50 years.”

Taylor’s longevity also relates to resilience. The company survived the Great Depression and several recessions. It plans to seize opportunities related to Chicago’s billion dollar commercial/residential projects as well as airport and mass transit expansions.

In the early 1920s, an IBEW apprenticeship would have been difficult to obtain for most African Americans, but that didn’t stop Sam from learning the electrician’s trade.

“He picked up what he needed to know by working for others,” said Kendra Dinkins, president and CEO of Taylor Electric and great granddaughter of Sam Taylor. “He realized if someone feeds you, they can starve you too. It was important to take charge of one’s destiny, to establish independence, to have a company that could stand on its own.”

In the early years, Sam worked in Chicago, traveling home to Bangor, Mich., to see his family on weekends.

In 1922, he started his company in a wooden shack on Chicago’s South Side. As the business grew by word of mouth, success sometimes invited peril. Vandals pillaged job sites, costing him lost labor and ruined materials.

“Sometimes he slept at job sites with a shotgun to protect his work,” Dinkins said.

Sam’s tenacity enabled him to continue building and bring his son, Rufus Taylor, on board in 1958.

“That’s when things really took off,” said Taylor, Rufus’s son. “My dad was quite the politician and networker. He really made a name for the company.”

Rufus earned journeymen certifications with IBEW 134. Under his leadership, Taylor Electric used only union labor and gained status as a strong player in Chicago’s construction market, landing contracts with hospitals, stores, manufacturing plants, schools, housing projects and apartment buildings.

Portrait of Rufus Taylor, first black board member of ECA.
Portrait of Rufus Taylor, first black board member of ECA.

The second-generation Taylor made sure the company became a NECA member in 1974. He was the first African American man to sit on the board of ECA, the Chicago and Cook County chapter of NECA. Today, ECA boasts 700 Chicago-area electrical contractor members.

Taylor Electric approaches its 100th year with two women, the Dinkins sisters, at its helm. Both worked their way through the ranks at Taylor Electric, holding previous administrative positions in accounting, management and HR.

 “Women are prominent in the firm, but we didn’t set out to make it that way,” said Kendra Dinkins. “It sort of happened organically, but the men don’t seem to mind.”

Martha Taylor, Rufus’s sister, led Taylor Electric as president and CEO from 1995 to 2015. Her portrait appears with portraits of Rufus and Sam near the entrance.

Expanding from 60 employees in winter to 100 in summer, Taylor operates with two female and two male project managers as well.

Sam Taylor, founder of Taylor Electric Company, with son Rufus Taylor at a job site in Chicago, 1970s.
Sam Taylor, founder of Taylor Electric Company, with son Rufus Taylor at a job site in Chicago, 1970s.

Taylor’s third- and fourth-generation leaders offered the following advice for sustaining success:

  1. Quality work speaks for itself. Employ union labor only.
  2. Embrace training. Kendra chairs the research and education committee for ECA.
  3. Consider new approaches. Taylor Electric employs Agile Construction to gain efficiency through prefabrication.
  4. Consider what’s sustainable. Don’t over-extend your business.
  5. Find your niche. Focus on what you’re good at and what you enjoy.
  6. Listen to your customers. Never overpromise just to get business.
  7. Collaborate with other contractors. “Chicago’s electrical contracting field is like no other,” Kendra Dinkins said. “A lot of competitors are friends.”
  8. Pick up the phone. Get out of the office and see your customers. Find out what they need and stop by with food.
  9. Give back to your community. Contact customers and fellow contractors for charitable donations, and it offers the excuse to check in.

Rufus raised thousands for the March of Dimes, which in 1995 established the Rufus Taylor Award to honor businesses who follow his lead. Since 2018, Kendra has co-chaired the annual March of Dimes Construction and Transportation Award Luncheon. Since 2016, Taylor Electric’s “Go Pink” campaign has raised breast cancer awareness as well as donations for the University of Chicago’s Cancer Research Center.

For now, Taylor Electric’s succession plans are to ensure family members and employees stay informed and share company knowledge. Bryan Taylor may one day invite his children into the company, just as his father drew him in.

Taylor logo.

 

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Kendra Dinkins, left president and CEO of Taylor Electric; Bryan K. Taylor, center, foreman and electrician for Taylor; and Karen Michele Dinkins, chief operating officer, pose under portraits of Sam Taylor, left, founder of Taylor Electric, and Rufus Taylor, right.
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Industry Argues the Benefits of Facial Recognition Tech
Industry Argues the Benefits of Facial Recognition Tech aconstanza Tue, 03/31/2020 - 18:37

Industry Argues the Benefits of Facial Recognition Tech

As facial recognition manufacturers grapple with wide-ranging restrictions and outright bans in cities and states across the country, the physical security industry is stepping up with advocacy and education, focusing on the ongoing improved performance of algorithms in the technology. Adding further credibility to the industry’s mission to prevent moratoriums on the technology is a new demographics study on facial recognition released late last year from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Results from the report, “Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) Part 3: Demographic Effects” (NISTIR 8280), are intended to inform policymakers and help software developers better understand the performance of their algorithms, according to a press release by the government agency. FRVT evaluates facial recognition algorithms submitted by industry and academic developers on their ability to perform different tasks. While NIST does not test finalized commercial products, the program revealed rapid development in the field as well as stark differences between high- and low-performing algorithms.

The NIST study evaluated a majority of manufacturers in the industry—189 software algorithms from 99 developers—focusing on how well each individual algorithm performed one of two different tasks among facial recognition’s most common applications.

The first task, confirming a photo matches a different photo of the same person in a database, is known as one-to-one matching and is commonly used for verification work, such as unlocking a smartphone or checking a passport.

The second, determining whether the person in the photo has a match in a database, is known as one-to-many matching and can be used for identification of a person of interest.

What sets the NIST documentation apart from other research is its concern with each algorithm’s performance when considering demographic factors. For one-to-one matching, only a few previous studies explore demographic effects; for one-to-many matching, none have.

The NIST report also found that demographic differentials are lessening due to many high-performing algorithms producing fewer errors. The report further emphasized that many facial recognition use-case scenarios require trained humans as an integral part of the process. It summarized: “Whether in an investigation of a potential crime or identifying an individual at a port of entry, trained personnel are critical to the successful deployment of this technology.”

Responding to the NIST study and using it as a positive springboard for the technology’s implementation as a critical and indispensable tool for criminal investigations, physical security, fraud and automating identification processes, the Security Industry Association (SIA), Silver Spring, Md., said the most significant takeaway from the NIST report is that it confirms current facial recognition technology performs far more effectively across racial and other demographic groups than had been widely reported and that overall, modern facial recognition technology is highly accurate, according to Jake Parker, SIA Senior Director of Government Relations.

On March 10, Parker testified before the California State Assembly’s Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection—the first ever informational committee hearing on the technology in the state—discussing current and future applications in government and commercial settings. The videotaped hearing can be found here.

“NIST has found that the facial recognition software it tests is now more than 20 times more accurate than it was just a few years ago in retrieving a matching photo from a database, and its report found close to perfect performance by high-quality algorithms with miss rates averaging just 0.1%. This reaches the accuracy of automated fingerprint comparison, which is viewed as the gold standard for identification,” Parker said.

According to Parker, the benefits of facial recognition are not potential or hypothetical. They are proven and growing. “In the public sector for example it has been used for over a decade to improve the speed and accuracy of criminal investigations. In any process where there are potential high consequence outcomes, the technology serves as a tool to assist personnel. This may explain U.S. law enforcement’s decade-plus operating history in many thousands of instances, without any confirmed example of the technology resulting in a mistaken arrest or imprisonment.”

In light of the NIST report, SIA encourages its members and facial recognition technology companies to strive to eliminate bias from within facial recognition processing algorithms and encourages such firms to enlist diverse data sets when testing their algorithms.

“The NIST study provides clear data that can help shape advances in facial recognition,” said Don Erickson, CEO of SIA. “SIA encourages collaborative efforts by member companies and involving key stakeholders with the goal of improving facial recognition algorithms and eliminating significant accuracy variation or potential bias.”

The primary concern of biometrics is that it potentially violates privacy and civil liberties, misidentifying or profiling people of color or by ethnicity, as reported earlier on ECmag.com. Oakland and San Francisco banned the use of facial recognition software by police and other government agencies. But in the recent committee hearing, Darryl Lucien, Managing Partner of Lucien Partners and representative for the Los Angeles Police Protective League said facial recognition provides a necessary tool in making criminal investigations more accurate.

Parker commented that development of any policy regarding the use of facial recognition must take a use-case and risk-based specific approach, factoring in privacy for the specific application.

“A blanket ban often is done without a full understanding of the proven, positive effects of the technology and its broad range of uses. A rush to implement one-size-fits-all rules could result in unintended consequences if the full range of uses are not considered. While any technology has the potential for misuse, we believe facial recognition should only be used for purposes that are ethical and non-discriminatory, and consistent with our Constitutional framework of laws and regulations,” Parker said.

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Construction Projects at Risk Amidst Coronavirus
Construction Projects at Risk Amidst Coronavirus aconstanza Tue, 03/31/2020 - 17:47

Construction Projects at Risk Amidst Coronavirus

A new survey published by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) finds COVID-19 is causing significant problems for the construction industry, with 39% of contractors reporting project owners have halted or canceled current construction projects amid deteriorating economic conditions. The project cancellations are particularly severe in light of new data showing 42 states added construction jobs through February.

Conducted between March 17 and 19, the survey received 1,640 responses and found:

  • 45% of respondents reported experiencing project delays or disruptions.
  • 23% of respondents reported shortages of materials, parts and equipment, including vital personal protective equipment such as respirators for workers.
  • 18% reported shortages of craftworkers.
  • 16% said projects were delayed by shortages of government workers needed for inspections, permits and other actions.
  • 13% said that delays or disruptions had occurred because potentially infected people had visited jobsites.
  • 35% of firms said suppliers had notified them or their subcontractors that some deliveries would be delayed or canceled. The previous week, that number was only 22%.
  • Only 18% of respondents reported they had been ordered to halt work by elected officials.

“The abrupt plunge in economic activity is taking a swift and severe toll on construction,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “The sudden drop in demand stands in sharp contrast to the strong employment levels this industry was experiencing just a few weeks ago.”

AGC officials warned that project cancellations and delays mean massive job losses are likely soon unless Congress passes targeted recovery measures to boost infrastructure funding, compensate firms for lost or delayed federally funded work and provide needed pension relief.

“The steps firms are taking to protect workers from the coronavirus unfortunately won’t be enough to save many of them from the economic damage the pandemic is creating,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. “Construction workers and employers need more than a lifeline. They need a recovery plan.”

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Major Storms Causing an Increase in U.S. Utility Power Interruptions
Major Storms Causing an Increase in U.S. Utility Power Interruptions aconstanza Tue, 03/31/2020 - 14:56

Major Storms Causing an Increase in U.S. Utility Power Interruptions

A new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration found in 2018 (the most recent data available), U.S. electric utility power interruptions totaled an average of 5.8 hours per customer. The EIA came to this figure using data from utilities that represent 94% of the nation’s 154 million electric customers reported to the EIA.

“Interruptions in electricity service vary in frequency and duration across the nearly 3,000 electric distribution systems in the United States,” said the report. “Power interruptions are caused by many factors, including weather, vegetation patterns, and utility practices.”

The reliability of electric utilities is generally measured using the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) metric, which is the total amount of time an average customer experiences a nonmomentary interruption during a year. For utilities that report metrics using IEEE standards, non-momentary interruptions are defined as interruptions lasting longer than five minutes.

SAIDI data in recent years has varied. In 2013, it averaged about 210 minutes per customer per year. In 2014, that number was about the same. In 2015, it declined a bit to just under 200 minutes. In 2016, it increased to about 250 minutes, in 2017 it spiked to about 475 minutes and then fell back to 345 minutes (5.8 hours) in 2018.

Utilities are also able to report SAIDI data to EIA after removing “the effects of major events.” Since EIA began collecting reliability data in 2013, SAIDI values have been consistently under two hours per customer (108 minutes to 118 minutes) when major events have been removed.

However, “The past two years of data show that interruptions classified as major events were the primary causes of increases in total SAIDI,” said the report.

In 2017, SAIDI data that included major events was the highest since EIA began collecting reliability data in 2013, doubling from the levels of previous years.

“The increase was a result, in part, of high levels of hurricanes, wildfires, and severe storms,” said the report.

From 2013 to 2018, Arizona, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Nevada and North Dakota had the lowest cumulative SAIDI (ranging from 58 minutes to 165 minutes), while Maine, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, and West Virginia had the highest cumulative SAIDI (ranging from 10 hours to 16 hours).

“In each of these states, the high SAIDI values were caused by major events such as winter storms or hurricanes,” said the report.

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Job Creation in the Energy Efficiency Industry is on the Rise
Job Creation in the Energy Efficiency Industry is on the Rise aconstanza Fri, 03/27/2020 - 14:46

Job Creation in the Energy Efficiency Industry is on the Rise

Released this month, the 2020 U.S. Energy and Employment Report highlights the strength of the energy efficiency sector in creating jobs for the American economy. The report noted energy efficiency has quickly become a major force in the larger energy sector and in the American economy overall.

Published by the Energy Futures Initiative, a nonprofit think tank based in Washington, D.C., and the National Association of State Energy Officials, a nonprofit association representing the 56 energy offices of the states, territories and the District of Columbia, the report includes a number of favorable key findings for the energy efficiency sector.

For example, the report finds that together the energy efficiency and traditional energy sectors employed 6.8 million people. They added over 120,300 new jobs in total, outperforming the rest of the economy in job creation.

By itself, energy efficiency now employs 2.38 million Americans and added 54,000 new jobs last year, which was the most of any sector. Those numbers are even more impressive over an expanded time frame. According to the report, energy efficiency has added 300,000 new jobs in the last four years.

The report also examines the role of energy efficiency in the transportation sector. It notes energy efficiency and fuel efficiency together contributed to the creation of over 400,000 new jobs in the last five years.

If job creation is a reliable indicator, then the American economy is certainly going green. According to the report, energy efficiency alone outpaced fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, which created 18,000 jobs last year.

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Dodge Sees a “Mixed” Initial Impact From COVID-19
Dodge Sees a “Mixed” Initial Impact From COVID-19 aconstanza Fri, 03/27/2020 - 11:46

Dodge Sees a “Mixed” Initial Impact From COVID-19

According to Dodge Data & Analytics chief economist, Richard Branch, the construction industry market research and forecasting firm expects the novel coronavirus to have less of an impact on the economy than first anticipated, while also reporting “a growing realization that the U.S. economy is in recession.”

Please note—Branch warns these forecasts have a large margin of error as the full extent of the pandemic has yet to be felt (as of the date of publication of this issue on March 27, 2020) and forecasts are adjusted as more information becomes available.

The company expects to see a decline in U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) throughout 2020 (dipping deepest in the second quarter), only seeing a return to growth in the final months of the year. An overall decline of 0.5% for the entire year is expected.

Specifically, Dodge predicts a slight decline to –0.1% in GDP in the first quarter, followed by –6.3% in the second quarter, as the economic impacts of the virus are fully felt. (According to Dodge, the deepest quarterly decline during the Great Recession was an annualized –8.4% in the fourth quarter of 2008.)

As the year continues, improvement is expected if COVID-19 containment and mitigation plans are working and “some aspects of life return to normal.” Dodge expects GDP at –1.1% in the third quarter, end- ing with slight growth of 1.5% in Q4.

For the construction industry specifically, the commercial sector has fared better than the institutional in the initial weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Branch, U.S. commercial projects survived the first week of major economic impact (March 15–21), possibly as a result of more flexibility for teleworking and a strong economy protecting the construction industry from the full impact of the pandemic as companies were still able to enter projects into the planning phases.

In particular, the commercial sector saw little to no difference between the dollar value of projects entered into planning during the first three weeks of March compared to the first three weeks of February. However, according to Branch, the commercial sector is likely more vulnerable to an economic downturn as the hotel and retail sectors are likely going to be hit hard by COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

Institutional construction has seen a much more noticeable impact from the effects of COVID-19. The dollar value of institutional construction projects entering the planning phase fell each successive week in March. This trend is expected to continue as state and local governments feel the pain of reduced tax revenue and increased use of social safety nets as a result of unemployed workers.

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Relaxed Utility Regulatory Requirements in Light of COVID-19
Relaxed Utility Regulatory Requirements in Light of COVID-19 aconstanza Wed, 03/25/2020 - 12:37

Relaxed Utility Regulatory Requirements in Light of COVID-19

On March 18, in a somewhat unprecedented move, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) temporarily suspended or relaxed certain utility regulations to give utilities more flexibility in response to COVID-19. In a joint statement, FERC and NERC said they are “taking steps to ensure that operators of the bulk electric system can focus their resources on keeping people safe and the lights on during this unprecedented public health emergency.”

The two organizations are using regulatory discretion when considering the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in complying with reliability standards in three specific areas:

  • The coronavirus will be considered an acceptable basis for noncompliance with obtaining and maintaining personnel certification, for the period of March 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020.
  • COVID-19 will be an acceptable reason for case-by-case noncompliance with reliability standard requirements that involve periodic actions taken between March 1, 2020, and July 31, 2020.
  • Finally, regional entities will postpone on-site audits, certifications and other on-site activities until July 31, 2020, at the earliest.

The release also states, “FERC and NERC recognize the uncertainties regard- ing the response to and recovery from the coronavirus outbreak and will continue to evaluate the situation to determine whether to extend these dates.”

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