Corrections or additions?
These articles were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on December 15,
1999. All rights reserved.
Millennium Madness: Portable Generators
Here’s a press release that never would have come our
way but for Y2K and its attendant disaster-mongering: "Responding
to reports of an increase in the purchase of electric generators by
homeowners, Public Service Electric and Gas Company, New Jersey’s
largest electric and gas utility, urges consumers to exercise extreme
caution when buying and operating the units.
"Portable generators should be operated only when they are
from utility lines. Ordinarily, portable generators are connected
directly to an appliance or piece of equipment by a properly rated
extension cord. They should never be plugged into a wall outlet to
power an entire house.
"To safely connect an electric generator to your home or home
wiring system, have a licensed electrician install the generator and
a transfer switch. A transfer switch is a device that disconnects
the home’s wiring system from your utility’s wiring system, preventing
the generator from sending electricity out of the house into utility
service wires. A transfer switch must be installed by a licensed
and requires an electrical permit and inspection. Simply throwing
the main circuit breaker does not always successfully disconnect the
home electric system from utility lines, and circuit breakers have
been known to fail."
The release, dated December 10, quotes John V. Hughes, PSE&G’s
administrator for Distribution Environmental Health and Safety:
generators can provide an important back-up power supply for
with special needs, such as medical equipment, refrigerators, sump
pumps, or office equipment."
"If a generator is plugged directly into a building’s circuits
without a positive disconnection between the home electric system
and the utility’s lines, the electricity from the generator will `back
feed’ — flow from the interior wiring of the house back out into
the nearby power lines." Hughes noted that if there are utility
working on the same lines, they can be seriously injured or killed
by the flow of electricity from the generator. Hughes also warned
that when power is finally restored to the line, electricity flowing
back into the operating portable generator could damage it.
PSE&G’s safety tips for nervous customers installing backup
from combustible material. Do not operate a generator in your basement
or anywhere inside your home.
the generator with a particular appliance, consult the manufacturer
of the appliance to determine if any special measures should be taken.
electric generator to ensure safe operation. Customers who improperly
install, operate or maintain a generator are responsible for any
or damage suffered by themselves, their neighbors or utilities.
not sell or install electric generators and does not provide
or advice about connecting them to building or home wiring systems.
To find a licensed electrician, consult your local phone
You have a great idea, and you can sell it, but you
can’t package it. it. Or you have a great idea, and you can package
it, but you can’t sell it or distribute it. Or maybe what you need
is an effective database.
At South River Park, a new warehouse center at Exit 8A, Con-Way
Services can take any of 12 problem areas off your hands
Con-Way Transportation started out as a trucking firm in Chicago but
has grown to be a nationwide jack-of-all-trades. "We have state
of the art tools for managing transportation and logistics functions
for clients who would not be able to afford it," says Jim
director of sales and marketing of the Chicago-based firm. "A
company that is growing like crazy can outsource their supply chain
to us. What they get is somebody to manage that business on a day
to day business."
The parent company was mainly an "LTL" or "less than truck
load" firm as opposed to a package delivery service or a full
truckload firm. Within the $2 billion parent firm, there are
that can supply chain management solutions, warehousing,
management services, distribution, logistics, telemarketing, all types
of fulfillment, and E-commerce.
For a variety of clients ranging in size from $500,000 to $5 million,
Con-Way can do value-added services to a product before the product
reaches its final destination. These services might include
ticketing, reboxing, repackaging, or even getting a shipment through
customs. Perhaps random samples need to be taken for a quality check
before a container is loaded onto a trailer, and then the container
needs to be repackaged and relabeled. All of this activity needs to
take place in a multipurpose warehouse. Cranbury’s is one of four
such facilities, and Con-Way expects to have a network of 10
by next year.
Says Reid: "Nobody is going after the market we have — both
warehouses and transportation management." A client from Turkey,
for instance, can take orders but needs help on distribution. "We
create the invoice, mail the invoice, we source the order and clear
customs. All the client does is marketing and collecting."
For a company selling candles for home parties, the warehouse workers
will assemble kits, taking items from a dozen palettes and reboxing
them. Another client, dealing in automotive parts, may need the
to handle sheet metal without denting it.
The new warehouse in Cranbury has state-of-the-art systems and its
client base is expanding by an account every couple of weeks. One
person needs to be hired for every two accounts. All the workers might
work in one area of the building for one week and move to a different
client the next week.
If a company needs 20,000 feet one month and 10,000 feet the next
month, Con-Way helps them meet those changing staffing and space
"We can give a price on per unit or per case basis, versus fixed
costs on labor and fixed costs on handling. We give predictability
and price-ability." The minimum charge is for 1,000 feet of
and 1/2 a person, but some clients bill in the millions of dollars
per year, others do only $50,000 worth of business.
"We want to make our clients John Q and Mary Public look and feel
like a Wal-Mart. We give them the tools to understand their business
and get more control over it," says Reid, noting that his clients
have real-time access to their inventory on a variety of platforms.
"We use their inventory database with a software platform by
Systems (from Toronto) that translates from anything, and we also
have a database engine. No one else is using this as we are, to
to the client and allow our systems to communicate with each
— Barbara Fox
Corrections or additions?
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— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.