2nd Quarter 2015 IN THIS ISSUE

Member Spotlight............................ 2
Legislative Update........................... 6
By the Numbers............................... 7
Serving all of MD since 1955
Upcoming Events............................. 8
2nd Quarter 2015
ood day and grab a pencil.
I’m giving you a pop quiz on
the 2014 National Electrical
If used for single-pole, 3-way or
4-switch loops, the re-identified,
white conductor can be used for
supply to the switches but not
as a return conductor from the
switch to the outlet.
q True
q False
Foyers with an area greater
than 60 square feet must
have a receptacle located
in each wall space three
feet or more in width
that is uninterrupted by
doorways, windows next
to doors that extend
to the floor, or similar
openings. That is per:
(a) 210.61
(b) 215.2 A 3
(c) 210.52 I
(d) 210.52 G 3
An in-sink waste
disposer can be cordand-plug connected
but the cord shall not
be less than 18 inches
nor more than:
(a) 30 in
(b) 36 in
(c) 44 in
(d) 48 inches
Like all of you, I struggle
to keep up with the enormous
and ever-changing details
of the NEC. More than 800
pages long, the code is a great
example of my favorite saying
by my father: Any time you
open a book and it begins with
definitions, you know you’re
in trouble.
Taking a single, code-update
class every three years was never
enough to drill essential details
into my brain. A slide would flash
up on the screen with information
relevant to my work. Before I
could scribble down the details,
however, the instructor would
move on to another relevant slide
... and another and another.
A friend and I opted instead
to periodically take master-prep
classes, even though we both
had our master licenses. The
30-hour curriculum gave detailed
information about the NEC and
gave us an opportunity to compete
with each other on who got the
most right answers on the test.
Today, the Electric League of
Maryland provides members
with another way to keep up on
the NEC. We offer one online
course that enables members to
thoroughly absorb information
at their own pace and their own
However you choose to continue
your NEC education, be diligent
about it. It’s better to learn in the
classroom than through code
violations on the job.
Have a great, Maryland summer
and stay tuned for great ELM
activities in the fall, including our
Annual Bull Roast on Nov. 7.
John R. Woodall
Answers to quiz questions: 1: True 2: (c) 210.52 I 3: B
Electric League of Maryland News & Notes - 2nd Quarter 2015
New technologies and the personal touch:
Joe Rhodes’ 47-year electrical career
s a novice salesman for
Milwaukee Tools, Joe
Rhodes found himself
hustling to learn two
things – the roster of tools and
products used in the electrical
industry, and details of a growing list
of children’s birthdays.
“Milwaukee was an excellent
company for training young
salesmen,” he said.
Rhodes was still a student at the
University of Baltimore, earning a
degree in business administration,
when he developed an unexpected
interest in the electrical industry. He
had met an industry salesman who
was doing well and specializing in an
interesting field. So upon graduation,
Rhodes met with a head hunter and
landed a position at Milwaukee.
“I learned a lot from them and
moved forward based on those skills,”
said Rhodes, who joined the Electric
League of Maryland in 1978 and
served two years as president.
One key skill was relationship
“One thing I really learned was
to call not only on the purchasing
agent or the president of a company,
but also get to know the guys in the
warehouse,” Rhodes said. “In the
electrical industry, a lot of guys start
in the warehouse but then move
out to the counter then inside sales,
management or outside sales.”
Rhodes did more than learn the
names of warehouse staff. During
conversations, he learned about their
families, made note of kids’ birthdays
and made a point of returning at
appropriate months with presents.
Now as Rhodes prepares to retire
this fall, he said the thing he will
miss the most is all those personal
provided essential, high-quality
training and presented a wealth
of opportunities to network with
individuals throughout the industry,
including industry leaders.
“Gil Thompson has been more of an
influence on my life than he knows,”
Rhodes said. “He is a real gentleman,
a really smart guy, and I learned a
lot from him. He even affected how I
handle myself.”
After 47 years in the electrical industry
and several on the ELM board, Joe
Rhodes is preparing to retire. “Its been
my pleasure to have served with so
many wonderful people for the good of
the electrical industry,” Rhodes said. “I
would like to thank my many friends
and associates for allowing me to be a
part of their lives both personally and
professionally. Until we meet again!”
“Most of my friends are my
customers,” said Rhodes, who has
worked with Owen T. Hall Co. for
the last 24 years. And those include
“second generation” customers/friends
– namely, the children of electrical
industry professionals that he served
and befriended early in his career.
Looking back, Rhodes said he was
always proud of his involvement with
the Electrical League, “which is a firstclass organization.”
During his time on the executive
committee, the League staged
successful trade shows and even
hosted an international industry
convention. The League, he said,
The industry has changed
significantly during the 47 years of
Rhodes’ career. Consolidation of
electrical companies and economic
downturns have heightened
competition and tightened
margins. But electricity and all the
new products, technologies and
capabilities continue to be fascinating,
Rhodes said. And the industry is still
rooted in relationships.
Rhodes noted that a younger man
in the industry had died recently.
“There must have been 200 people
from the industry at the viewing.
That’s the way the electrical industry
is. It’s a fellowship.”
Serving all of MD since 1955
PO Box 388
Linthicum, MD 21090-0388
Phone: 443-478-9935
Fax: 443-926-9175
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.elmd.org
John Woodall
[email protected]
Vice President
Colleen Conway
[email protected]
Sandra Sasser
[email protected]
JT Thomas
[email protected]
Kate Sanft
The O’Ferrall Group
[email protected]
Lindsey Few
The O’Ferrall Group
[email protected]
John Woodall
Colleen Conway
Peter V. Elmo
Edward Mitchell
Gil Thompson
By Ed Riesner
taying abreast of changes and nuances in the National Electric
Code and its implementation in different jurisdictions is an
ongoing challenge. Here are three topics that have raised
questions on job sites in Baltimore County recently.
A change to Article 700.19 states: “The branch circuit serving emergency
lighting and power circuits shall not be part of a multiwire circuit.”
This is a new section and reflects a desire on the part of the codemaking panel to assure that emergency circuits are not unintentionally
disconnected by another circuit.
Part III of Article 700 lists the sources of emergency power as: storage
battery, generator set, uninterruptible power supplies, separate service,
fuel cell system, and unit equipment.
There are two types of backup systems: Emergency and Optional.
Emergency systems are legally required and include such things as
egress lighting for commercial buildings and systems supporting life
safety equipment in hospitals. The Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) provides
instruction as to where and when emergency circuits are legally
Optional systems which are not required by law, provide back-up
power solely at the discretion of the user. This might be a UPS system to
keep computers powered or a generator to keep a refrigerator cold.
Because the overwhelming majority of emergency and exit lighting
in commercial and industrial occupancies is required by law, its
installation must be in compliance with section 700.19. Inspectors will
assume that any such units, as well as all circuits provided by any of the
above emergency sources, are required by law and will be enforcing the
requirements of Section 700.19.
It is easy to get confused about what
government buildings need permits and
inspections. Here are the guidelines for permitting and inspections
of government buildings/properties located in Baltimore County.
n Buildings/properties owned by the state or federal government do
not come under the county permit process. Occasionally, the federal or
state entity will ask Baltimore County to perform inspections. When
this occurs, permits must be obtained and all required inspections must
be scheduled.
continued on page 5
Electric League of Maryland News & Notes - 2nd Quarter 2015
By Marty Schumacher
Multi-Wire Branch Circuits and
the Unintended Consequences of
following the NEC
ulti-wire branch
circuits have been
the subject of several
changes to the
National Electrical Code over the
past decade, including changes that
could cause unsafe electrical systems
in some facilities. Consequently,
it’s important to understand the
intricacies of the regulations and
when to stretch beyond regulations
to create a safe and effective design.
In the 2005 National Electrical
Code, sections 605.6 and 605.7, require
all multi-wire branch circuits that
feed fixed or free-standing office
furnishing must use a breaker handle
tie to simultaneously disconnect
all ungrounded conductors. The
2008 NEC followed with a major
change in section 210.4(B) that
requires all multi-wire branch
circuits to be provided with a means
to simultaneously disconnect the
ungrounded conductors. These
changes help to prevent neutral
conductors from overload and add a
safety factor for those working and
troubleshooting on these circuits.
However, when major changes
occur in the NEC, often times there
are unintended consequences that
happen. For example, if a 120-volt
overload or ground-fault condition
occurs when using a multi-wire
branch circuit, due to the handle
tie requirement, the other 120-volt
circuit(s) will also open, even though
there is not an overload or fault
condition for that given circuit(s).
In short, this condition would
result in all the 120-volt circuits
in a de-energized condition and
these would remain open until the
condition is fixed. This condition
The National
Electrical Code
is not a design
manual and
sometimes takes
a little time to
recognize that
a change needs
to be made.
certainly creates an inconvenience
due to the interruption in power. But,
does it create a hazardous condition?
The answer to this question is yes.
Well, sometimes. What if the multiwire branch circuit serves hospital
beds or emergency systems? This
definitely would create a hazardous
condition since all the emergency
circuits would be de-energized rather
than the single 120-volt circuit that is
Another scenario would be for
maintenance. In this case, due to the
installed handle tie, the electrician
would turn off all the circuits thus
creating an unsafe condition due
to the emergency and life-safety
circuits being shut off unnecessarily.
To prevent this unsafe condition,
the 2014 NEC prohibited multi-wire
branch circuits for hospital beds
in sections 517.18(A) and 517.19(A)
and emergency lighting and power
circuits in 700.19. Section 700.2
defines emergency systems as,
“those systems legally required and
classed as emergency by municipal,
state, federal, or other codes or by
any government agency having
jurisdiction. These systems are
intended to automatically supply
illumination, power, or both, to
designated areas and equipment in
the event of failure of the normal
supply or in the event of accident
to elements of a system intended to
supply, distribute, and control power
and illumination essential for safety
to human life.”
Even though the information
note that follows this definition is
not code, it helps us understand the
intent of the section. For example,
the information note says that
“emergency systems are generally
installed in places of assembly where
artificial illumination is required for
safe exiting and for panic control
continued from page 3
in buildings subject to occupancy
by large number of persons, such as
hotels, theatres, arenas, health care
facilities, and similar institutions.
Emergency systems may also
provide power for such functions as
ventilation where essential to human
life, fire detection and alarm systems,
elevators, fire pumps, public safety
communication systems …”
n When the federal or state government is the tenant in a privately
owned building/property, and that tenant space is undergoing new
installations, renovations or additions, the appropriate permits must
be obtained and all inspections must be scheduled.
n Various watershed properties, tree nurseries and waste treatment
plants throughout the county belong to the City of Baltimore. When
structures on these properties require a Use and Occupancy, a permit
and inspections are required. Otherwise, permits are required only
when the City requests inspections.
n Permits and inspections are required for any work performed on
Baltimore County-owned buildings/properties. On certain projects,
however, the fees may be waived.
Baltimore County does not accept a breaker locking means as the
required disconnecting means for dishwashers as specified in Article
422.31(C) unless the breaker is within sight of the dishwasher.
Virtually all dishwashers are equipped with motors that are larger
than 1/8 HP, and most newer dishwashers are not equipped with off
switches that disconnect all ungrounded conductors. Changes in
recent cycles to the NEC indicate that the Code Making Panel clearly
wants a disconnecting means within sight of the appliance under
these conditions.
The good news is that many design
professionals do not use multi-wire
branch circuits for emergency
circuits even though the code
allowed it in previous editions. In my
27 years as an AHJ, I’ve recognized
that many contractors and engineers
design and install drawings above
the minimum standards, resulting is
in a safe installation. The National
Electrical Code is not a design
manual and sometimes takes a little
time to recognize that a change
needs to be made. In this case, most
designers understood the hazard
and simply steered away from
using multi-wire branch circuits on
emergency circuits.
Where appliances, such as dishwashers, are not equipped with a
unit switch compliant with Article 422.34, and where the appliance
is equipped with a motor larger than 1/8 HP, a disconnecting means
must be provided within sight of the appliance. This disconnecting
means may be an approved cord and plug or it may be a switch
installed in the circuit. Either of which may be installed in the
same cabinet compartment as the appliance or in a compartment
immediately adjacent to the appliance. If the branch circuit breaker
is installed within sight of the appliance it shall be acceptable as the
disconnecting means.
In addition, appliances, such as wall ovens, that are permanently
connected must comply with Article 422.31(B) Appliances Rated Over
300 Volt-Amperes. The branch circuit breaker or a switch is permitted
to serve as the required disconnecting means provided it is within
sight of the appliance; or, if it is not within sight, then the breaker or
switch must be lockable in accordance with Article 110.25.
Electric League of Maryland News & Notes - 2nd Quarter 2015
Legislative Report
By Gil Thompson
ELM renews efforts to pass key legislation,
attract young workers
hen writing for this
issue of our News
and Notes, I thought
it would be a good idea
to review some questions and issues
discussed at the League’s recent
Board of Directors Meeting.
The main question raised was,
what happened to Senate Bill 616 the
proposed legislation to change the
electrical laws of Maryland.
Sad to say, the bill was withdrawn.
Even after several meetings where
concessions were made to help the
proposed legislation become more
agreeable to various groups of our
industry, the Department of Labor,
Licensing and Regulation (DLLR)
decided not to support the bill.
It seems that DLLR thought a
59-page bill was too complicated
for those newly appointed to the
department. They felt more time was
needed so they could evaluate the
effects the bill could have on DLLR
operations if it should pass.
The proposed legislation would
have established:
n Definitions for the different classifications of electrical workers;
n A statewide journeyperson
n A statewide, up-to-date edition of
the NEC as the state’s electrical
code to be used and enforced in
all jurisdictions; and
n A strengthened, continuing
education program statewide, so
a skilled, well-trained workforce
would be installing electrical
Since these concepts would
advance the electrical industry
and provide benefits and safety for
the general public, the ELM Board
of Directors decided to continue
its efforts to pass this legislation.
Therefore, ELM will work with DLLR,
legislators and members of our
industry to once again present a bill
for consideration next year, which
will better serve all those involved.
The League has also added its
voice to keep the uniform, statewide
building code in effect as it is now.
We are opposed to individual
jurisdictions trying to amend
themselves out of its authority as is
the case with Washington County.
We think that special conditions can
be handled by local amendments.
However, these special rules must
always assure the life safety and fire
protection of the citizens and visitors
in those jurisdictions.
Discussion at the Board of
Directors meeting also centered on
the subject of where will the next
generation of electrical workers
come from when the experienced
mechanics and skilled workers of
today retire or leave the industry.
It seems most high schools and
other institutions of learning have
abandoned their vocation guidance
and training courses. They are
no longer pointing young people
toward the crafts or trades as a way
to achieve a great living standard.
There seems to be a lack of interest by
educators and young people to start
a career or vocation where hands as
well as brains must be used. It seems
that they only look at a trade as “just
a job.”
Maybe as leaders in the electrical
industry, we should write the job
description for our future electrical
workers. Why not challenge the
young people of today to join our
craft, trade, industry? It could allow
them to:
n Make a great living;
n Enroll in great trade schools at
reasonable costs;
n Have job security (there will
always be demand for a reliable
and “good” electrician);
n Have the opportunity to use their
brains and ingenuity in problem
n Know there will always be room
to learn about something new
(think about wind and solar
power technologies, and hybrid
energy systems);
n Have the satisfaction of seeing
positive results of all their
efforts; and
n Play a key, daily role in protecting
the public’s safety.
Yes, electrical service is a career, a
vocation to be proud to be part of,
and a field that’s worth talking up.
We should participate in activities
that foster interest in the electrical
Let me know your opinions and
other ideas on these topics. They
are important to the future of
our industry.
Source: www.eia.gov
ELM is in search of master
electricians and electrical
engineers as instructors for
the 2014 NEC courses. NEC
courses are held weekdays,
Saturdays and evenings based
on instructor availability.
Fall/Winter classes are held
September through December.
Number of Residential Energy
Customers in Maryland
If you’re interested in
instructing the next generation
of electricians, please contact
us at (443) 478-9935 or
[email protected]
Visit us on the web at
www.elmd.org for current
seminar listings and other
industry news and updates.
Total Amount
of Energy
in Maryland
Total Amount
of Energy
in Maryland
Residential, Industrial, Commercial,
and Transportation
1,031 kWh
Average Monthly Residential
Energy Consumption in Maryland
In an effort to
continue offering
the best industry
training, the
Electric League of Maryland
is actively planning a full
array of educational and
training opportunities for
the fall and winter months.
Be sure to visit
www.elmd.org in the
coming weeks for a detailed
calendar of seminars.
Electric League of Maryland News & Notes - 2nd Quarter 2015
Serving all of MD since 1955
Rosedale Gardens
Sponsorship Opportunities
are Available
The Electric League of Maryland
is committed to representing and
enriching Maryland’s electrical
industry. Our membership
includes electricians, contractors,
state and local government
agencies, manufacturers,
suppliers and utility companies.
The League provides
professional development,
industry resources and training
to electrical professionals in
Maryland and its surrounding
states. Our Legislative
Committee also partners with
industry professionals and
legislative organizations to
promote beneficial change in
the state’s legislative issues that
affect our industry.
Contact us now to reserve
your sponsorship!
[email protected]
Ewing Associates Inc.
Chester, MD