Vol. 2 No. 8

June 2007

- The Home Depot Unloads HD Supply
- OEL Takes Centre Stage in Windsor
- Electrical Bluebook Now Online
- Saskatoon Wraps Up Canadian Skills Competition
- And Speaking of Trades Competitions...
- New Web Presence for Lam
- Clean Tech Sector Website Launches
- Coming Events


After investing roughly $8 billion to buy all the various parts that made the whole, The Home Depot is selling HD Supply.

Depot began reviewing its commitment to HD Supply back in February, then decided to sell the division to private equity firms Bain Capital Partners, The Carlyle Group and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) for $10.3 billion. The deal is expected to close this fall.

“HD Supply is a leader in its industry,” said Frank Blake, Depot’s chair and CEO. “We are proud of the business we built and know that it will continue to grow and flourish under new ownership.”

Depot execs say the HD Supply sale is just part of a much larger commitment to enhance shareholder value “through an exclusive focus on our retail business and the return of cash to our shareholders”. Depot also announced a $22.5-billion increase in its share repurchase program, meaning it intends to repurchase up to $22.5 billion in common shares as soon as practicable. Net proceeds from the sale of HD Supply will help fund this manoeuvre.

(TED’s newsletter of June 20 points out that CD&R also owns a piece of Rexel SA, and in the past owned Wesco. It goes on to surmise that CD&R may also have been an unsuccessful bidder for Hughes Supply, which HD Supply acquired last year. TED leaves us with the question: How will the three new owners split up HD Supply?)


EB's editor mans the Electrical Business booth at the Product Expo portion of Contractor Day.

Although the drive to it can be pretty monotonous (sorry guys... it’s true), Windsor is a nice city once you get there, with a beautiful waterfront (Toronto could learn something here) and a downtown core that’s not too big or unwieldy. Windsor was the setting for the Ontario Electrical League’s (OEL’s) annual Electrical Industry Conference, and EB was there to take in some of the action.

The conference proper kicked off with opening comments from Reid Bigland, the president and CEO of DaimlerChrysler Canada Inc. Though he seems quite young—and by no means an electrician—he knows something about politics, public opinion and market forces. For example, when speaking about the environment and what the public would like a car to be and do, he said, “Ask me what a consumer wants, and you could fill the room [with their ideas]. What the consumer is prepared to pay for, however, I could put on a sticky note”.

Terry Young of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) made some interesting observations during his presentation, which started with the opening line, “I used to be ‘Chief Apologist’ for the old Ontario Hydro”.

IESO’s mandate is to monitor demand, operate the wholesale market and ensure reliability of the electricity system. What’s interesting to note is that while the Province of Ontario busies itself with the construction of all kinds of green power generation, like wind farms, IESO often imports electricity because it’s cheaper. (What are the chances the imported power is green?) Young also pointed out that Ontario used to be a winter-peaking jurisdiction, meaning the greatest demand on the system came during the winter months. That changed 20 years ago when Ontario switched to a summer-peaking jurisdiction, and it hasn’t looked back since!

As fate would have it, Electrical Business not only hosted the Hospitality Suite on Contractor Day, but served up drinks to boot! Left to right: John MacPherson, EB′s publisher; Norm Bilous of Dial One-Wolfedale Electric (official conference photographer); and Anthony Capkun, EB′s editor.

The presentation on smart meters, delivered by Don Charron of Chatham-Kent Hydro, was both intriguing and, truth be told, a little baffling. When we first starting reporting on smart meters, they were touted as some great thing... as the vehicle by which we achieve responsible electricity use (i.e. Ontario’s Culture of Conservation) and fair billing. The sad truth of the matter is that smart meters are pretty dumb. For example, we told you when IBM came on board to help IESO with MDM/R (Meter Data Management and Repository). First, the true cost of the MDM/R is still unknown, and whereas consumers initially thought they could monitor energy usage in real-time, Charron explains that “there’s really no viable technology out there to do that”. Another quirk with the whole smart meter system is that meter data sent daily to the MDM/R for storage is also there to be verified. So, again, how smart are smart meters?

These summations of mine are just the tip of the iceberg. CLICK HERE to visit OEL online and download PDFs of these and the other presentations. (I also recommend the presentation, “Demand Response Project”, presented by Raymond J. Tracey of Essex Power and Cole Cacciavillani of GenSet Resource Management.

The highlight for Electrical Business, of course, was having the opportunity to participate in the Product Expo on Friday and, of course, pour drinks for guests of the Electrical Business Hospitality Suite. (A big thanks to the members of the Essex and Kent County chapters who helped us pull it off!) If you haven’t already, CLICK HERE to check out Norm Bilous’s photos from the conference.


The Electrical Bluebook, the source directory for all things electrical for the Canadian market, is now available online at EBMag.com. Fully searchable, the link allows you to search keywords (i.e. wire) by company, product or school. Of course, this is just the beta version; with the launch of the new and improved source directory later, the online version will be even more user friendly and informative. CLICK HERE to give it a whirl!


Saskatoon recently hosted the 13th Canadian Skills Competition, run by Skills/Compétences Canada—the national not-for-profit organization promoting careers in skilled trades and technologies to Canadian youth.

You will recall that provincial and territorial branches of Skills/Compétences Canada hold annual Olympic-style competitions to test the abilities of young people at secondary and post-secondary levels for trade and technology occupations. Gold medallists from each province or territory then go on to compete in the Canadian Skills Competition.

Roughly 550 Canadian youth—accompanied by their coaches and parents—gathered in the Hub City to carry out the annual ‘Trade Olympics’ event, and the winners in the Electrical competition were:

Electrical Wiring (post-secondary)
GOLD: Garrett Pearman of Alberta
SILVER: Martin Baribeau of Quebec
BRONZE: Ryan Longe of Ontario

Electrical Wiring (secondary)
GOLD: Markus Wall of Manitoba
SILVER: Kevin Pencer of British Columbia
BRONZE: Marty Clemmer of Ontario

Congratulations to all event participants and sponsors! Mark your calendars now for next year’s national event, slated to take place May 25 through 28 in Calgary.


As it happens, Calgary is also hosting the 40th WorldSkills Competition, September 1 through 6, in 2009. The competition will attract 850 competitors from 48 member countries (representing 17 languages).

This competition will be attended by nearly 150,000 visitors and 5000 international experts, delegates and judges from around the world, and will command close to 800,000 square feet of space at Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Park.

The WorldSkills Competition is the biggest skills competition of its kind in the world (the first was held in 1950 in Madrid, Spain). Every two years, competitors from the 48 member countries gather to compete in over 40 skill categories, ranging from welding and electrical to cooking, autobody repair and landscape gardening.


Lam Lighting (a Genlyte Group company) has unveiled a new, reconstructed website that provides an interactive way to learn about the company’s range of lighting products and capabilities. A navigation menu along the left side of the home page lets you browse products by application type (including ceiling, wall and cove installation). Once a type is selected, you can download brochures, specs, IESNA files and more. Meantime, a Portfolio link allows you to view photos of actual applications. CLICK HERE to pay them a visit.


Public interest in climate change and our environment is swaying organizations to change the way they operate, requiring many to adopt better practices and cleaner technology to attract and retain clientele.

Helping out is a new website called WorkCabin, which is designed to help green employers and organizations connect with individuals who want to work (or volunteer for) green businesses, government departments and environmental organizations. Environmentally knowledgeable staff constantly work at matching employers with employees with the training, knowledge and experience in the field of conservation and sustainability.

“Canadian employers now have an outlet to advertise positions and recruit the right person with the best green credentials, experience and enthusiasm,” said WorkCabin founder Gregg McLachlan.

Users can also subscribe and receive e-mail alerts regarding recent postings and review the Link of the Week, which offers them a chance to review emerging ideas, programs and studies. As an introductory offer, anyone wishing to post an employment opportunity can do so free of charge. (For a basic 14-day listing. Offer expires August 31.)

Based in Simcoe, Ont., WorkCabin.ca is 100% Canadian owned and operated. CLICK HERE to check it out.


Annual Golf Tournament
Ontario Energy Network (OEN)
July 26, 2007
Gormley, Ont.
CLICK HERE for details

Stroke Play Golf Tournament
Manitoba Electrical League (MEL)
August 8
Winnipeg, Man.
CLICK HERE for details

Annual Golf Tournament
Ontario Electrical League (OEL)
August 15
Nobleton, Ont.
CLICK HERE for details

Atlantic Golf Tournament
Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)
August 16
Moncton, N.B.
CLICK HERE for details

Federation Cup Annual Charity Golf Tournament
Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)
August 28
Bond Head, Ont.
CLICK HERE for details

Fall Golf Tournament
Calgary Electric Club
August 30
Okotoks, A.B.
FOR DETAILS call 514-3085

Annual Conference & Convention
National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)
October 5-8
San Francisco, Calif.
CLICK HERE for details

Electrix 2007
British Columbia Electrical Association (BCEA)
October 25
Victoria, B.C.
CLICK HERE for details

National Training Symposium
National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO)
November 2-4
Barrie, Ont.
Details to come. Stay tuned.

CLICK HERE to check out more industry events at EBMag.com.

Want more information, or have information to share? Contact the Editor at acapkun@clbmedia.ca or call (905) 713-4391.

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