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Chertoff: Gas Stations Should Have Generators for Emergencies

April 30, 2006

Chertoff: Gas stations should have generators for emergencies

Associated Press

LAS VEGAS – Big oil companies should equip their gas stations with generators to pump underground supplies of gasoline during an emergency, Michael Chertoff, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said Wednesday.

Chertoff said emergency providers learned “a painful lesson” during last year’s hurricanes when people could not get to grocery stores or fuel their cars because gas pumps failed when power was lost.

He said that he and the energy secretary were sending letters to oil companies requesting that their dealers have generators ready to operate before the start of this hurricane season.

“We now know people need gas during emergencies and they have a responsibility – those people who run stations and ultimately those people who provide the fuel – have responsibility to hold up their end when a crisis comes,” Chertoff told a gathering of the Radio and Television News Directors Association. Entire story

Electricity Customers Get Chance to Seek Cheaper Power

April 29, 2006

Electricity customers get chance to seek cheaper power

By Staff Reports

DAYTON | Customers who want to sign up for an electricity supplier other than the Dayton Power and Light Co. can do so either by telephone or mail before the deadline of May 19.

DP&L, which is working with Ohio utility regulators and the state’s consumer advocate to offer the electric choice program, has begun distributing enrollment forms and descriptions of the program.

The materials were mailed out this week to about half of the company’s 456,000 residential consumers, with the mailings scheduled to go out to the other half next week, DP&L spokesman Tom Tatham said Friday.

To enroll, customers can fill out the enrollment form and return it according to the enclosed instructions, Tatham said.

Or customers can enroll by calling the toll-free number (888) 696-9725. Entire story

Are Railings Considered Wall Space, When Installing Receptacles?

April 28, 2006

As used in this section [210.52(A)(2)(3)], wall space includes the space afforded by fixed room dividers. Railings and freestanding bar-type counters are considered fixed room dividers and also count as wall space.

For example, a short wall, installed as a room divider, separates the dining room and the living room. The room divider is 42 inches high and extends 7 feet out from the main wall. Since this room divider is counted as wall space, a receptacle must be installed no more than 6 feet (1.8 meters) from the end of the wall. Because the dining room is on one side of the wall and the living room is on the other, a receptacle must be installed on each side.

Railings are considered wall space and must be counted when determining the minimum number of required receptacles. Just because railings are open does not mean that receptacles are not required.

If a railing extends more than 6 feet into the room, a receptacle is required within 6 feet (1.8 meters) of the end of the railing. For example, an iron railing divides the dining room and living room. Like the previous example, this railing extends 7 feet out from the main wall. Because the railing is a fixed room divider, it is considered wall space.

Installing a receptacle in the wall is too far from the end of the railing. A receptacle must be installed within 6 feet (1.8 meters) of the railing’s end. A floor receptacle installed close to the rail will satisfy the general receptacle placement provision. Since the railing is open, the floor receptacle can be counted as the required receptacle for both sides.

Freestanding bar-type counters are also considered wall space and must be counted when determining the minimum number of required receptacles.

NEC Requirements for Installing Receptacles in Your Home

April 27, 2006

Requirements for the placement of receptacle outlets for dwelling units are covered in 210.52(A) through (H). These general provisions apply to most of the rooms inside dwelling units. In every kitchen, family room, dining room, living room, parlor, library, den, sunroom, bedroom, recreation room or similar room or area of dwelling units, receptacle outlets must be installed in accordance with the general provisions specified in 210.52(A)(1) through (3). Within these rooms or areas, receptacle placement is determined by wall space.

A diversity of names for similar rooms and areas may appear on blueprints, especially in larger houses. Various other names not specifically mentioned in this section of the Code include: sitting room (area), great room, bonus room, Florida room, morning room, keeping room, breakfast nook (area), study, office, media room, loft, studio and play (game) room. Other names, besides the ones mentioned here, may also be seen on blueprints. If there is any question about whether or not the general receptacle provisions are applicable in a room or area not mentioned above, consult the local authority having jurisdiction.

Certain rooms or areas in dwelling units not covered by the general provisions include bathrooms, laundry areas, basements, garages, hallways, outdoors and kitchen countertop surfaces. Each of these rooms or areas must comply with specific receptacle requirements listed in 210.52(C) through (H).

Although this list includes basements, the general provisions are applicable to any part of a basement containing habitable rooms, such as a den, recreational room, play (game) room, etc. One location not mentioned is closets. Although receptacle outlets within closets are permitted, they are not required.

210.52(A)(1) Spacing

The amount of wall space determines the minimum number of receptacle outlets in a given dwelling. Wall space is measured horizontally along the floor line. Although the Code spells out requirements for the minimum number of receptacles in a dwelling, it does not limit the number of receptacle outlets.

Receptacles must be installed so that no point measured horizontally along the floor line in any wall space is more than 6 feet or 1.8 meters from an outlet in that space. Following the floor line from a doorway, fireplace or similar opening, the maximum distance to a receptacle is 6 feet (1.8 meters). Sometimes this requirement is known as the “6-foot rule.”

Since the maximum distance to a receptacle is 6 feet (1.8 meters), the maximum distance between two receptacles is doubled. Therefore, the maximum distance between receptacles is 12 feet (3.6 meters).

An easy way to understand and remember the placement of receptacles in dwellings is to imagine having a floor lamp with a 6-foot cord. Anywhere this lamp is placed around the wall, a receptacle should be within reach (unless the space is less than 24 inches wide). No extension should be required to supply power to this lamp. 

Since a receptacle is required within 6 feet (1.8 meters) of a door opening, if the lamp is placed next to the opening, a receptacle will be within reach. Unless the wall is less than 2 feet wide, the 6-foot rule is applicable.

210.52(A)(2) Wall Space

This section contains three sentences that clarify the term “wall space.” As used in this section, a wall space is any space that is 2 feet (600 mm) or more in width. [210.52(A)(2)(1)] This provision is straightforward. If the space is less than 2 feet (600 mms) wide, it is not considered wall space; therefore no receptacle is required. If the space is 2 feet (600 mm) or more in width, then it is considered wall space, and consequently a receptacle outlet is required.

For example, two bedrooms located in a dwelling unit are almost identical. In each room, a small wall space is located between the entry door and the closet door. The wall space between the doors in the first room measures exactly 2 feet (600 mm) wide. Since this room’s space measures 2 feet (600 mm), a receptacle outlet is required. 

The wall space between the doors in the second room is only 23 inches in width. In this room, no receptacle is required.

Although receptacles are permitted in a space less than 2 feet (600 mm) wide, they are not required.
Note: Since these receptacles are located in bedrooms, they must be arc-fault protected. All branch circuits supplying 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere outlets installed in dwelling unit bedrooms must be protected by an arc-fault circuit interrupter listed to provide protection of the entire branch circuit.

Wall space includes the space measured around corners, regardless of whether the corner is an inside or outside corner. The wall space continues unless broken by a doorway, fireplace or similar opening.

The space occupied by fixed panels (in exterior walls) is considered wall space and must be included when determining the minimum number of receptacle outlets. Sliding panels, also in exterior walls, are treated like doorways. Therefore, the space in front of sliding panels is not counted as wall space. Even if a window is designed to resemble a door, the space must be counted as wall space.

For example, a dwelling unit’s back door is a glass panel door. A window, located on each side of the door, is almost identical to the door. Since the windows are fixed and do not open, the space they occupy must be counted as wall space. The space in front of windows extending from ceiling to floor must also be counted. For example, a sunroom is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows.

Although there is virtually no wall space in the sunroom, receptacle outlets must still be installed in accordance with the general provisions. Floor receptacles can be installed if they are located within 18 inches (450 mm) of the wall.

Sliding glass doors contain fixed and sliding panels. Most sliding glass doors are comprised of two panels, one fixed and one sliding. While it is not necessary to count the space in front of the sliding panel, it is necessary to count the space in front of the fixed panel.

Energy Bill Aimed at Smarter Energy Consumption

April 26, 2006

Energy Bill Aimed at Smarter Energy Consumption

April 25, 2006 — By James and Morris Carey, Associated Press

Have high utility bills have been busting your monthly budget? Now, heating your water and heating and cooling your home are more affordable, thanks to a recently enacted energy bill.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 offers consumers federal tax credits for purchasing energy-efficient appliances and products. The energy bill was established in part to help the U.S. better manage its energy consumption and incorporates incentives for American consumers to embrace new energy-conscious technologies and products.

Consumers who buy and install specific residential energy-efficient products, such as exterior windows and doors, insulation, heat pumps, furnaces, central air conditioners, water heaters and roofing, can receive a one-time tax credit of up to $500.

A tax credit is generally more valuable than an equivalent tax deduction because a tax credit reduces tax dollar-for-dollar, while a deduction only removes a percentage of the tax that is owed. Beginning in tax year 2006, consumers will be able to itemize purchases on their federal income tax form, which will lower the total amount of tax they owe the government. Most of these tax credits will remain in effect through 2007, with potential for renewal beyond this date.

In addition to the federal tax credit, some consumers will also be eligible for utility or state rebates, as well as state tax incentives for energy-efficient homes and equipment. Look at your states energy office Web site for specific state tax information.

Keep in mind that all improvements must be installed in or on the taxpayers principal residence in the United States and the improvements much be made between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2007. For the purpose of calculating the allowable tax credit, labor costs may be included in the total cost of the energy upgrade. Some restrictions may apply.

The following is a list of products that qualify and the associated tax credit for each item. Entire Story

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