AFCI - Mr Brown Responds and More

From Mr. Brown:

Mike, the cost figures for an AFCI in my negative comment as published in the NEC ROP was based on the written wholesale cost I procured from three different distributors in three different locations at the time I wrote the comment. These costs were (and may still be) as listed in the manufacturer's catalogs. As for going to Home Depot to purchase an AFCI, my experience shows the electrical company performing the installation in new construction does not frequent Home Depot. They will use a large electrical distributor whose prices are usually not as low.

As for the fire loss figures, they came directly from NFPA. If you would like I can send you a copy of all of the materials.

After looking at all of the facts, the installation of AFCI's as required by the NEC, will never be cost effective. It would seem it has been a push by the manufacturers to recoup the millions of dollars in R & D monies they have invested over the past many years. This is especially relevant considering the consolidation of the many manufactures to just a few in the past 7-8 years. You should have been at the ROC meeting in San Diego in December 1997. You would then understand my point.

If you have any questions, please contact me at any of the numbers listed below.

Lawrence Brown, CBO
5203 Leesburg Pike, Suite 600
Falls Church, VA 22041-3401
703-931-4533 x15
Fax: 703-379-1546

Response No. 1

Mike, I suggest you reconsider your apology. Your 08/20/2002 Newsletter contained only an excerpt from the NFPA 2001 May Association Technical Meeting, National Electrical Code Committee Report on Proposals. This report contains proposed amendments for the 2002 National Electrical Code. The first paragraph of your newsletter referenced the proposal submitted, that is, "Proposal #2-106, Page 129 of the Report of Proposals (ROP) for the 2002 NEC".

If the writer of the complaint were to visit that document, he/she would see the "EXPLANATION OF NEGATIVE: BROWN:” is an explanation of a Panel member's vote. This is history! It was published in June 2000.

Mr. Brown, the author of proposal # 2-106, was a member of National Electrical Code Panel No. 2. His full name is Lawrence Brown. He represented the National Association of Home Builders. He submitted a proposal to delete Section 210-12 of the 1999 National Electrical Code. If accepted, the requirements to install arc-fault circuit interrupters in dwelling units would have been removed from the Code. His fellow Panel members rejected his proposal. He wrote "EXPLANATION OF NEGATIVE: BROWN:” to explain why he did not agree with his fellow Panel members.

The writer of the complaint challenged the list price of an arc-fault circuit interrupter mentioned in Mr. Brown's explanation of his negative vote on the Panel's action. The March 2000 Square Digest, page 1-3, shows a 15 A, type QO-AFI (arc-fault circuit interrupter) circuit breaker with a list price of $160. This is the list price Mr. Brown quoted.

While one can debate the accuracy of data contained in Mr. Brown's explanation of his negative vote, inclusion of history in your newsletter is acceptable. One may not like portions of history, but in this country freedom to read history is a right we all enjoy.

Again Mike, no apologies are required from you.

Frank Robertson, PE
Consulting Engineer, Electrical
AMEC, Inc.
Atlanta, Georgia 30301
Phone: 404-370-3372
Fax: 404-370-3646

Response No. 2

I disagree with the guy that said you were providing false information in your newsletters. I am an electrical contractor, I called Home Depot and they didn't know what an AFCI breaker was. I went to a wholesaler and purchased one for $ 85.00. That was for a 20 amp AFCI breaker. The above prices you quoted are very much in the norm.

Thanks for your time,
Eric Hill,

Assured Electric Inc., Buena Park, California

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