Canada's Number One Circuit Breaker Specialist

Category Archives: Electric Industry

History of the Circuit Breakers Part 3 – Civic Recycling

History of Circuit Breakers Part 3

History of the Circuit Breaker

We last left off our exploration into the history of circuit breakers thinking about what may be next on the horizon. A little research into the topic presents us with a number of ideas, many of which are quite exciting in the development of how we consume and use electricity & power. Let’s look at a couple of ideas and developments of the last few years to get a firmer grasp on where the world of electricity and circuit breakers are headed.


The first exciting development we came across is being brought to us by leading power and automation technology group ABB. ABB has solved a 100-year-old problem in electrical engineering by developing the world’s first circuit breaker for high voltage direct current (HVDC).

What this circuit breaker does is allow for the “interruption” of power flows, which will enable efficient integration and exchange of renewable energy. In layman’s terms, what this invention and new circuit breaker technology will do is allow existing power systems and grids to work with emerging technologies. This creates much better use of power and better system usage for companies as well as users. Sounds awesome and we love it!

Continue reading…

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History of the Circuit Breaker, by Civic Recycling: Part 2

History of the Circuit Breaker, by Civic Recycling

We began Part 1 with the inception of the circuit breaker, in Thomas Edison’s shop in the 1870s. The Boston Electric Company was the first to manufacture and install a circuit breaker, about 20 years later in 1898. But these early breakers wouldn’t be familiar to you – or to your parents, or even your grandparents.

The First Miniature Circuit Breaker

The miniature circuit breaker you would recognize was born in 1924. A Swiss company called Brown, Boveri & Cie (BBC) patented the design, which was based on an earlier patent by Hugo Stotz. Stotz was an engineer who had founded an electrical society in Mannheim, Germany in 1891. He sold his company and patents to BBC, and they developed and patented the miniature circuit breaker in Germany. Stotz is credited as the inventor, and thus the grandfather of the modern, thermal-magnetic breakers in every home, office, and industrial property today.

Meanwhile, BBC stayed in business under the same name for over 60 years. In 1988, it merged with the General Swedish Electrical Limited Company (ASEA), and became ASEA Brown & Boveri (ABB). ABB still manufactures Stotz circuit breakers, and in 2014 they celebrated the 90-year anniversary of the original patent.

Dangerous Times during the 1900’s

Continue reading…

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Alberta’s Renewable Electricity Program & Its Effect on Generation

REP renewable electricity program alberta solar panels windmills

What effect does renewable energies have on future generation?

In 2015 coal and natural gas accounted for 90% of all electricity generation in Alberta. These non-renewable energy sources significantly contribute to carbon emissions and aren’t generally seen as the fuels of the future. Hydro-electric, wind, biomass, solar, fuel oil, and waste heat generate the final 10% of all electricity in Alberta. These renewable sources make up a small segment of current electricity generation but that may soon be changing.

Started in early 2017,  Alberta’s Renewable Electricity Program (REP) was designed to encourage the development of renewable electricity generation and reduce overall emissions. The ultimate goal of REP is to add 5,000 megawatts of renewable electricity to the Alberta grid by 2030, increasing the amount of renewable energy to 30% of total consumption. This growth will be fueled by annual competitions for individuals and private companies in the electrical industry. Winners will be awarded the opportunity to provide up to 400 megawatts of power and will add up to 7,200 new jobs in Alberta. Quite a difference in the source of our energy, but will it happen? The answer is unclear.

At Civic Recycling we are committed to meeting a wide variety of your electrical needs. We uniquely understand the work of Alberta’s electrical professionals and strive to provide excellent customer service. Contact us today to learn more about Civic Recycling and our dedication to the electrical industry.

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How Reconditioned Breakers Can Help You Live A Better Life

reconditioned breakers circuit breaker ITE push to trip CR civic

We spend a lot of time talking about the time and effort we take into reconditioning our circuit breakers, why this is important, and what separates us from other companies doing the same thing. This has been discussed at length, and rightfully so; it’s important to know what goes into a product that has been previously used and how reliable it can be. With that said, something we don’t discuss as often is some of the other tangible and intangible benefits that come along with purchasing a reconditioned product from a company like ours. Some of these things seem obvious, some less so.

We thought today, we’d take the opportunity to discuss these benefits and why they should mean something to you. Again, some of these benefits will strike you as quite obvious, but we also thought this to be a fine opportunity to explain why some of these benefits are unique to our company. Circuit breakers may seem like a simple tool, but there is a lot that goes into them and there is a lot to think about when purchasing them. So, with that in mind let’s discuss 4 major benefits to buying reconditioned breakers, and why they will only serve to help you live a better life. Here they are!

1. Electrical Breakers (and peace of mind):

Something that we take pride in, as has been discussed here before, is the amount of work and rigorous testing we put into our reconditioned breakers. What this testing process produces, aside from a reliable product, is peace of mind for the person who is purchasing the breakers. There’s an inherent skepticism that comes along with used products, often times rightfully so, but with our process being as thorough and transparent as it is, there’s no reason to doubt anything ever purchased. Peace of mind, especially in regards to electrical equipment, goes a long way and allows you to purchase great products at a reduced rate without having to doubt their veracity.

2. Used Electrical Supplies (they’re green):

Another benefit to buying reconditioned products is their effect on the environment. Reconditioning products versus manufacturing new ones is always going to have a net benefit on the environment. Not only that, but when breakers are reconditioned and tested, older pieces are often replaced by newer, state of the art ones. What this does is allow the breaker to become much more efficient. It’s a pretty simple and beneficial concept, something that is certainly worth considering.

Continue reading…

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Electrical Infrastructure in Canada: What’s Up Next?

electrical infrastructure canada hydro water dam cr civic blog post

New Blog Post: What’s Next for Electrical Infrastructure in Canada?

As the world changes, Canada changes with it. The slow move away from fossil fuels is in progress, and this provides us the opportunity to take a look at where Canada is moving as well. As the economy works around energy generation it’s important to have a firm grasp on where things are going and also where they are coming from.

We thought it would be an enlightening topic of discussion to take a look our own electrical infrastructure and see where things are headed.


Electrical Energy Generation in Canada

Canada is quite diverse in its energy generation, being the second largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world. With the demand for electricity, especially in the industrial sector, only expected to grow, Canada has some interesting ways with how it’s going to keep up with demand. Change in electrical infrastructure, generation and production are always subject to government changes, and what parts of the country are most and least in demand.

In terms of generation, according to the government of Canada, the country is expected to continue producing hydroelectricity at high levels but will see its share decrease from 55% to 51% of total production by the year 2040. Where the slack will be picked up is in wind generation, which is expected to rise from 7% of total electricity produced to 11% by 2040. We will also see a rise in production from biomass, solar, and geothermal, which will account for about 5% also by 2040. We will also see natural gas rise from 15% to 22% over that same time span. In terms of decreasing production, nuclear energy is expected to shrink down to about 6% from 10% by 2040.

On top of that, the country is linked to a number of exciting projects moving forward, including smart grids, small-scale renewable and clean energy products, and ecoEnergy. Diversification and a smaller reliance, if ever so slightly, on the types of energy Canada has always produced seem to be what’s going to be the norm in the coming decades.


Electrical Infrastructure and Civic Recycling

I guess this all begs the question of what does it all mean? Well, it’s important to know where Canada stands on energy as there are a great many jobs and investments that rely on what the future may hold. With climate change also becoming a greater concern, finding ways to combat its effects is an important discussion and process to begin. We also must ask; how does this impact us? As an electrical supplies company, we always need to know what comes next, whether that means changes in commercial or personal sales. The rules of the game are always changing and if you can’t keep up then you’ll get left behind.

At Civic Recycling we strive to be a part of Canada’s future energy goals while maintaining the things we do that we feel make us great. The world’s, and Canada’s, consumption of electricity and electrical infrastructure will change over the coming years and we plan on being right there with it.


 

Thanks for reading and we hope to chat with you soon.

Contact us here or learn more about how we test our electrical products, safety is our top priority. Civic Recycling is committed to delivering fantastics products to our customers across Canada.

Think of us for Electrical Equipment and breakers including:

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National Electricity Month in Canada is this Month!

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National Electricity Month #NEM

June is National Electricity Month, and here at Civic Recycling, we are proud to supply equipment across Canada that powers you! As you may well know we supply a wide range of circuit breakers, panels, transformers, fuses and general electrical supplies. With brands like Cutler-Hammer, Federal Pioneer Electric and Siemens you can be sure both our new and tested reconditioned equipment will last.

The Canadian Electricity Association posted an article in this about this special month, we really enjoyed the following:

“Electricity is the backbone of the Canadian economy – it powers everything from household appliances to medical technology, smart phones, computers, to bank machines, businesses, and stores…the CEA hopes to foster a national conversation on the value of electricity, stimulating and informing the discussion about the choices that need to be made today if Canada is to maintain a reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity grid.”

So let’s all celebrate this month by sharing a little love for electricity and the equipment that delivers it to us. Creating a sustainable and innovative future for the grid is also important. We talked about this topic in a previous article titled Electric Innovation and Action in Canada.


 

June is National Electricity Month in Canada and at Civic Recycling

 

We also wanted to share a quick video via PowerfortheFuture.ca

View it here:

http://powerforthefuture.ca/2016/06/june-is-national-electricity-month/

Electricity has been powering progress for over 125 years and tomorrow’s economy will be built on a solid foundation of clean, sustainable growth. Growth that will drive new technologies; increase productivity, and create jobs for Canadians. Growth that will be powered by safe, reliable, sustainable Canadian Electricity. – CEA

 

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Top 8 Myths about Reconditioned Electrical Equipment

Reconditioned Electrical Equipment pearl professional apparatus recyclers league testing myths breakers

Ever heard something about electrical equipment you weren’t too sure about? What about reconditioned electrical equipment? Depending on what you heard it may be flat out wrong. Knowing the facts about reconditioned equipment is important. According to PEARL knowing the difference can “save you big bucks while helping your company meet environmental goals”.

PEARL is the Professional Electronics Apparatus Recyclers League. They ensure the quality AND safety of electrical equipment. Here at Civic Recycling we are a proud member and are certified with the organization.

Pearl has a fantastic article showcasing the top myths about reconditioned equipment. We will be showcasing and summarizing each point in our “Top 8 myths” post. Know the difference between fact and fiction from Civic Recycling and PEARL!


The myths are as follows:

Myth #1 – Reconditioned electrical equipment could be counterfeit

Reconditioned doe not equal counterfeit. Reconditioned models may not be supported by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) but that does not mean they can be lumped under the same categories as surplus and counterfeit. As always all equipment is tested to high standards. Civic Recycling would know right away if anything was out of place.

Reconditioned equipment is obviously not new and in the case of counterfeit equipment, it almost always is. Counterfeit models will likely be in new packaging and can’t easily be mistaken for a reconditioned one. Most often residential style breakers or MCCBs is where counterfeiting occurs.


Myth #2 – Reconditioned electrical equipment is not as safe as new

Reconditioned electrical equipment is just as safe as new models as we have already outlined in a previous post. It may even be safer! This is because OEMs only batch test their products, reconditioning requires 100% device testing. The fact that the testing standards are so high are a testament to this fact. Civic Recycling is so sure about safety standards that we offer a 1-year warranty on all our products. Pretty great right? Visit our testing page for more on our process. Typically the general standards are as follows:

  • Conduct initial test
  • Disassemble, inspect, and clean
  • Replace/recondition worn and aging components
  • Reassemble
  • Perform verification test
  • Document
  • Certify

Myth #3 – Reconditioned equipment is less reliable, lower quality than new

As the PEARL article states:

“If a piece of electrical equipment was reliable and high quality when it was new, then older electrical equipment reconditioned to perform as good as or better than the original must also be considered reliable and high quality. Quality isn’t a question of new versus reconditioned, but rather, can you trust the source of the equipment? If you’re familiar with an OEM brand, you probably trust them.”

And on top of that, all PEARL certified companies such as Civic Recycling hold themselves to high standards in testing and quality.


Myth #4 – Reconditioned electrical equipment costs less, but more to operate

This argument is valid for certain types of equipment such as new TP-1 transformers and circuit breakers with solid-state trip technology or zone alarms. But most electrical equipment is passive and is not required to consume electricity to do its job. So the argument is not valid for most of the 21 types of standard electrical equipment covered by PEARL.

In addition, new and reconditioned equipment will be field-tested regardless. Onward to safety!


Myth #5 – Reconditioned electrical equipment increases liability

Let’s start by saying that each piece of reconditioned equipment is tested twice. Once before reconditioning and once after. Say one out of 100 breakers were tested coming off an assembly line…which would you trust more? Both are pretty solid bets but liability is not an issue for reconditioned equipment.


Myth #6 – Only OEMs can properly recondition electrical equipment

OEMs say that a company needs to understand the exact electrical engineering behind an electrical device and should only purchase reconditioned products from OEMs. However, there are some differences between private OEM reconditioning versus public PEARL reconditioning standards

  1. PEARL uses independent, third-party electrical engineers to review its standards (OEMs do not).
  2. PEARL makes its standards available to the public for review and comment. Open and transparent! OEMs don’t do this.

Myth #7 – Reconditioned electrical equipment invalidates the (UL) mark

Underwriter Laboratories (UL) official position is that independent testing and certification companies takes no position on the validity of UL marks after the equipment leaves the factory.


Myth #8 – Myths make for bad business decisions

By debunking myths and focusing on facts we can be sure to develop competitive solutions to electrical needs. The goal is to purchase the highest-quality electrical equipment at the best possible price and with the least amount of lead-time. Civic Recycling is happy to be serving Canadians since 1995.


A quick recap on each Myth we have debunked!

  • Reconditioned electrical equipment could be counterfeit
  • Reconditioned electrical equipment is not as safe as new
  • Reconditioned electrical equipment is less reliable, lower quality than new product
  • Reconditioned electrical equipment costs less to buy but more to operate
  • Reconditioned electrical equipment increases liability concerns
  • Only OEMs can properly recondition electrical equipment
  • Reconditioning electrical equipment invalidates the Underwriter Laboratories (UL) mark
  • Get It Straight: Myths make for bad business decisions

For the full article take a look at the original PDF document:

http://www.pearl1.org/downloads/Busting-Myths-About-Reconditioned-Electrical-Equipment_lowres.pdf


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Electrical Safety: The Top 5 Points you Need to Know

civic safety top five tips safe pearl nema neta ieee

Civic Recycling offers new and reconditioned electrical equipment. Our certified technicians follow our rigorous testing standards on all reconditioned products. Safety is our top priority and so we have put together some information to keep you safe.

Electrical safety is critical both at home and at work. Here, we look at 5 top considerations to enhance your safety.

Electrical Safety: Use sockets with tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles

The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires that all buildings constructed or renovated after 2008 have tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles. TR receptacles are special devices with spring-loaded shutters that close off the contact openings of the receptacles. Because both springs need to be compressed before the shutters can open, electrocutions resulting from accidental insertion of a conducting material into one contact opening can be minimized.

Ensure that your home has ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs)

When there is a break in the grounding path of a low-resistance current, the current can take an alternative path to the ground through the user. This is called a ground fault. Ground faults are common and have resulted in severe injuries and even deaths in the past. Ground Fault Current Interrupters (GFCIs) are lightning-quick circuit breakers used to cut off such faults.

Protect your electrical outlets with Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)

Replacement receptacles should be arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) protected. An AFCI is an electrical safety device that helps to prevent fires.  It resembles a GFCI in the sense that both devices have test buttons and a reset button. The main difference, however, is that GFCIs are designed to protect people from getting electrocuted whereas AFCIs are meant to prevent fires.

Be extra careful with transformers

Transformers must be carefully tested before installation and continuously monitored thereafter. Make sure that there is no continuity (electrical leakage) between the primary and secondary coil. Also, ensure that there is no leakage between the power cord and any metal external parts such as the rivets. Most transformers are equipped with circuit breakers for additional safety.

Use only tested devices that meet industry quality standards

The design and manufacture of electrical devices is guided by certain industry standards. The Canadian Electrical Code or CE code develops and maintains these standards. Our neighbours to the South follow the National Electric Code and the National Fire Protection Association. Electrical components that fail to meet these standards might expose you to unnecessary danger. Civic Recycling certifications meet and often exceed the standards set out by PEARL (Professional Electrical Apparatus Recyclers League), NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association), IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and NETA (InterNational Electrical Testing Association).

All Civic Recycling electric devices; from circuit breakers to transformers, and fuses to motor controls, are tested to the highest standards to ensure that they are not only safe but very reliable.

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Find out Where Canadian Electricity Comes From

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Canadian Electricity? We are in fact big consumers of electrical power. In fact, when calculated per capita, we’re the fourth largest consumers of electricity in the entire world. Only Iceland, Finland and Norway use more electrical energy per person. And within this country, Albertans consume the second greatest amount of electricity of all the Provinces, second only to Saskatchewan. In total electric kilowatt per hour use per person in homes, however, Alberta comes in number one, at 15,334 kWh per person.

Where Does Canadian Electricity Come From?

The production of electricity is achieved through the turning of a turbine, which requires application of some type of mechanical energy. The energy used to turn the turbine can come from a variety of sources, including:

  • Coal
  • Hydro Electricity
  • Fossil fuels such as natural gas and oil
  • Wind Power
  • Solar Panels
  • Biomass/biogas
  • Nuclear (uranium), and more

Water is King for Most of Canadian Electricity

While Canada is a global leader in hydroelectric production, with nearly 60% of all our electricity coming from water turning those turbines, there’s still a lot of coal being burned to make power, at about 18% of the total. Burning natural gas and oil make up for about 8% of electrical generation nationwide, although in some Provinces, such as Ontario, they’re responsible for the creation of almost 25% of Canadian electricity being produced. This is slightly more than the 22% coming from hydro, but significantly less than the 32% total electricity coming from nuclear power plants in the Province.

Alberta’s Electricity Generation

As of late in 2014, homes, businesses and agricultural operations depended on Alberta’s near-14,600 megawatts (MW) of electrical generation capacity then currently installed. 78,000 MW of this generation capacity has been newly built since 1998. Much more is needed to keep up with the increasing demand.

This power is delivered through a system of approximately 24,000 km of installed transmission lines. About 43% of the electrical generation capacity in the Province comes from the burning of coal. Nearly 40% comes from the use of oil and gas. Because water isn’t nearly as plentiful in Alberta as it is in other locations, only a small amount of hydroelectric generation occurs here. Throughout Canada, different areas depend on difference energy resources to create the mechanical energy responsible for producing electricity. In some areas near the ocean even wave technology is being utilized.

Co-generation and the Environment

Co-generation makes up for almost 1/3 of Alberta’s electric generation capacity, which is both efficient and environmentally sound since the process produces substantially lower greenhouse gases. With co-generation, fuel such as gas or biomass is much more efficiently used since not only is electricity being generated but also heat and/or steam are byproducts that can be used for a variety of purposes, primarily industrial. Alternatively, waste heat generated through various industrial processes can be redeployed to produce electricity. This, too, is quite efficient since this heat would otherwise be wasted.

Other Energy Options in Alberta

The production of electrical energy is a vital service to all Albertans and electrical energy consumption is more common than any other type of energy use, not only on an individual, personal basis but also commercially, industrially and agriculturally. It’s also the most convenient form of energy to use as well as the quickest to deliver to the customer.

Alberta’s policy regarding electric micro-production allows individuals to create their own electricity, often in an environmentally friendly fashion, and even receive credit for any excess electricity produced and sent back to the existing power grid. Here at Civic Recycling we give a thumbs up to anything electric-related that benefits the environment, saves our customers money and makes life just a little bit better.

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CANADIAN ELECTRICAL CODE CHANGES YOU NEED TO KNOW

SCC Standards Council Canada Conseil Canadien wires worker electrical CANADIAN ELECTRICAL CODE

The Standards Council of Canada or SCC has accredited changes for approved electrical equipment in Canada. The changes have taken effect this year (2015) and the changes affect the electrical industry nationally, regionally and internationally. Electric standardization helps boost Canada’s competitiveness and safeguard the health and safety of its citizens.

If you want to get technical the following article outlines the revisions and new installation requirements. Deliberations of the changes have ended but general debates continue, what do you think?

http://electricalindustry.ca/latest-news/641-2015-ce-code-changes-on-approved-electrical-equipment

The Canadian Electrical Code and Standardization

Standardization is important, here is an excerpt from the above article…

“Standards development is extremely important and recognizing those standards that have been in use for decades to certify equipment now allows the electrical industry to fully understand the scope of what goes into certified equipment.  The process of standards development is intended to deliver standards that will:

• Advance the national economy;

• Support sustainable development;

• Benefit the health, safety and welfare of workers and the public;

• Assist and protect consumers;

• Facilitate domestic and international trade; and

• Further international cooperation in relation to standardization”


Here at Civic Recycling we want to keep you up to date with news from the electrical industry and facts that help you make informed decisions. Such as Canadian Electrical Codes and topics that affect you and your business. Do you want to see us write about a specific topic? Let us know what you would like to see us blog about.


Read some of our previous posts below:

Reconditioned Circuit breakers: Are they safe?

Civic Recycling has PEARL Certified Technicians

Electric Innovation and Action in Canada

Thanks for reading about Canadian Electrical Code changes. We make sure we are up to date on the changing landscape in Canada. Civic Recycling is also a part of PEARL (Professional Electrical Apparatus Recyclers League), NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association), IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and NETA (InterNational Electrical Testing Association).

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