Want Lighting Incentives? Check New Ground Rules

If you are considering a lighting upgrade or you are bidding on a lighting job for the Standard or the Public Sector that would require ComEd incentives to facilitate, it is imperative that you follow new certification guidelines passed by Illinois legislation. Non-compliance will result in a loss of financial incentives.

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) requires the installing contractor to be certified in order to receive any utility incentives.  According to Steiner Electric’s Lighting Division, contractors must fill out the application, send the appropriate “good standing” business form, an insurance form that has been notarized, and then mail that packet to the Commission. Then, the ICC will review the application.

According to an email from the utility:

“If the end user does not do a self-install, they must have a certified contractor install the material or the they will not qualify for a rebate. The new program goes into place on January 1, 2018, and includes any projects that are given extensions from the 2017 program year … ”

In accordance with the Future Energy Jobs Act, the Illinois Commerce Commission requires a trade ally company, i.e. contractors and home builders, to certify as an Entity Installing Energy Efficiency Measures.

To assist your company in complying with the new guidelines (Section 16-128B of the Public Utilities Act, and 83 Ill. Adm. Code (Part) 462), Com Ed has put the appropriate forms necessary to apply for the certification on its website. The forms can be found at the Illinois Commerce Commission’s Energy Efficiency Measures Installer website: https://www.icc.illinois.gov/Electricity/authorities/EEMI.aspx,

At this website, contractors can find:

* Part 462 Application Form

* Part 462 Application Instructions

* Part 462 EE Measures Installer Rules

For tips on how to fill out and submit Energy Efficiency Measure Installer Certification Application, visit the Illinois Secretary of State website (where trade allies can obtain documentation stating that their company is in good standing with the state): https://www.ilsos.gov/corporatellc/CorporateLlcController.

For additional information, contact your Steiner lighting representative or contact us at 847.956.3185.


Joy to the World, One Child at a Time

If we could harness the smiles of joy from the children and their families who attended the 26th Annual Homeless Children’s Party and convert it to electricity, we could light many future nights no matter how dark some of those nights may be.

Steiner and other companies held toy drives to collect presents for the holiday party.
Steiner and other companies held toy drives to collect presents for the holiday party. All Photos: Antonette Favia, Villa Park Electrical Supply

On a snowy, blustery Saturday morning, a record number of children and their families were transported from their temporary residences at seven Chicago-area homeless shelters to the James Jordan Boys & Girls Club in Chicago. In all, more than 250 children and 100 family members were treated to a festive Christmas party sponsored by the Chicago Electrical Industry (CEI). The girls and boys ranged in age from newborns to 16 and older. Most of the children were under 10-years old.

Each child received a gift from Santa, ably assisted by Mrs. Claus and a record number of volunteer elves. The gifts were collected during the annual Steiner Electric Toy Drive, and similar toy drives at other CEI companies. In addition to getting gifts and meeting Santa, the children and their family enjoyed a holiday meal of turkey with all the trimmings.

Volunteers wrap presents for the children attending the Christmas party.
Volunteers wrap presents for the children attending the Christmas party.

After every child received a gift, Santa and Mrs. Claus exited the hall with a trail of happy, but exhausted, children in their wake.  As the families departed, volunteers thanked them for coming and gave them a goodie bag to take with them as they were transported back to the shelters.

Through donations from CEI members, all the day’s expenses were covered. Excess funds will be used to buy much needed items for the shelters whose residents attended the party. In year’s past, the CEI has provided computers, printers, mattresses, and linens to these facilities. Additionally, the remaining gifts were donated to the Hesed House in Aurora. The shelter provides food, housing and other necessities to those in need.

2017 Company Toy Drives
Steiner Electric
Continental Electric
C&C Power, Inc.
Illinois Business Communications, Inc.
Maron Electric
Houston Wire & Cable
Allied Machine & Engineering Corp.


New List of 2018 Lighting Incentives Now Available

ComEd released its 2018 list of energy efficient lighting products for which certified contractors can receive ComEd rebates.

2018 ComEd incentives for energy-efficient lighting products.
2018 ComEd incentives for energy-efficient lighting products.

The list reflects two significant changes compared to 2017. High wattage LED lamps are now on the Instant Discounts List. These lamps replace 150W and greater HID lamps.  The other change is that the public sector, such as public schools and municipalities, will now be eligible to receive these rebates.

To help you better understand the available lighting incentives, contact your local Steiner lighting consultant by calling 1-800-STEINER (783-4637) or visit one of Steiner Electric’s convenient locations and we will help you sort out your lighting needs. Steiner’s lighting experts can help determine the most appropriate lighting technology for a job, and help ensure that you receive the most bang for your lighting buck.

Modify Your Hoffman Enclosures With Ease

Modify Your Enclosure Fast

In an increasingly automated world, manufacturing control panels can be a production bottleneck, a time consuming and costly manual process. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Steiner can help you take the chore out of modifying your electrical enclosures, and let you get back to helping your customers and doing the contracting work that actually makes you money.

Whether you need modified one-off panels or require complex modifications to vital enclosures or subpanels, let Steiner automate the process with its Hoffman Certified Modification Center, aka the ModCenter293. Utilizing our available production capacity, broad range of capabilities, and experienced technicians, we can help you slash your production costs and lead times. Our engineered solutions can help you design and select the right electrical protection solution for your application.

The ModCenter293 take the manual labor out of enclosure modification.
The ModCenter293 take the manual labor out of enclosure modification projects.

Manufacturing control panels is traditionally a labor-intensive process with a lot of steps: drilling and tapping, milling and mark up. A typical enclosure might require  marking each hole and cutout location, drilling pilot holes and expanding those holes with larger bits, and using a jig saw to do the final cut out. Then, of course, there is the post-processing work: the deburring, filing sharp edges, performing general clean-up work. Those are just a few of the potential manual processes that might be required. After all that, you might still find holes off centered or threads misaligned.

All-and-all, not a fast, precise or repeatable solution.

Engineered Solutions

Considering that a 36-in. by 48-in. electrical enclosure could have 40 to 50 holes and cutouts and a back panel could have as many as 200 holes with taps, the ability to accurately and expeditiously customize enclosures is vital. Especially at a time when customers are demanding shorter build times, and accuracy and quality requirements are increasing.

Steiner can help contractors meet customer mandates. Dan Williams, manager of the Steiner Electric Custom Products Group says, “By automating labor-intensive modification tasks we can increase productivity, quality, and flexibility. We can produce holes and cutouts in minutes, not hours, and when we are done the holes are precise and clean and ready to populate.”

The ModCenter293 features software that integrates seamlessly with CAD DXF files and other file formats to push jobs forward.

The CNC unit handles enclosures up to 93.7 in. by 86 in. and back panels up to 93 in. by 94 in. It can process a variety of materials including mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper and PVC, polycarbonate, amd glass-reinforced plastic (GRP).

It features smooth, low-vibration movement of the cutting head, which is precision ball-screw spindle driven. Minimizing vibration helps extend tool life, but more important to our customers is that it processes materials fast and accurately. For instance, it can process up to 78 in. per minute (2000mm/min) in mild steel.

Automatic tool changer that holds up to 21 tools.
Automatic tool changer that holds up to 21 tools.

An automated tool changer with a magazine that holds up to 21 tools to perform all necessary drilling, milling, tapping, circular  milling – all the processing steps required for enclosure modifications.

Vertically oriented and operating in multi-axes, the unit grabs a tool and makes all the cuts that it can with that cutting tool, moving along a preprogrammed cutting path, before exchanging the cutter with another tool to continue the process.   The CNC machine operates along these vertical lines, explains Williams. “It rides on this plane, modifying whatever is on the plane.”

A flexible machine, the ModCenter293 allows for fast changes if needed.  “We are like an on-site job shop,” says Williams.  “Our number one priority is to make sure our customers get the enclosure they need for the job, at a competitive price, and get it on time, every time.”

Vast Array of Options

As an authorized Hoffman Distributor, Steiner offers the largest inventory of Hoffman enclosures in Northern Illinois. And these enclosures can be modified to specific requirements. In fact, by combining standard enclosures with available modifications, thousands of unique enclosures are possible.

This enclosure example shows a variety of holes and cutouts possible with the ModCenter293.
This enclosure example shows a variety of holes and cutouts possible with the ModCenter293.

Standard options available include:

  • 100+ standard paint finish options
  • Dimensional changes
  • Holes and cutout options
  • Studs, nuts, and tapped holes
  • Installation of standard accessories
  • Ventilation options

Hoffman enclosures are UL-certified to comply with all relevant specifications including UL, CSA, NEMA, CE, and IEG classifications. Some models are UL explosion-, chemical- and corrosion-proof, and some are IP-rated to prevent dust and water ingress.

Our factory trained Hoffman Enclosure Specialist, Bret Bevers, can assist you with product and technical application information, training, research, design and special quotation for your enclosure needs.

“The range of enclosures are remarkable,” says Bevers. “We can make them from a variety of materials and in all different types of classifications. For instance, a contractor might need a NEMA 1 enclosure or a multitude of different enclosures with different ratings.”

Stainless steel can be appropriate for food and beverage projects, and special coatings can be applied to the stainless steel to prevent corrosion. A corrosive environment might require special coatings to protect the enclosure from dangerous and corrosive gases or harsh liquids.

“The options are great with the Hoffman line,” says Bevers. “Each one has its own character.”

So, come and get modified enclosures without the hassle of measuring, drilling, cutting or any of the other tedious operations that are required.

To help you select or design the most appropriate enclosure for your application, contact Steiner at 800.783.4637, visit our website, or Email:  modificationcenter@stnr.com


LED Parking Lot Lights Grow in Use


Cities around the world are switching to LED street lights as a way to save both energy and money. The LEDs have a significantly longer life expectancy than other types of lights, resulting in fewer replacements and lower costs associated with maintenance.

In the U.S., LED’s used in area/roadway lighting have achieved 28.3% market penetration nationally, with parking garage fixtures achieving a 32.5% market penetration.

Even Chicago is embarking on a Smart Lighting Project. The project’s goal is to replace 270,000 of the city’s light fixtures, which now use less efficient high-pressure sodium lamps, with new LEDs. In addition, the plan calls for the installation of a state-of-the-art lighting management system that enables remote monitoring and control of the City’s outdoor lighting system.

Local lighting
Parking garage and canopy lights are large fixtures that are designed to be rugged and adequately light a space for navigation and safety. Photo: Eaton (Cooper)

In the Chicagoland area, Steiner Electric is a leading distributor of outdoor LED lighting and controls. We have a vast inventory of lamps, controls, retrofit kits, and other lighting related items from leading suppliers including Philips, Eaton (Cooper), Lithonia, and RAB.

Lithonia’s D-series of LED lighting for parking garages and canopys.

For instance, the Lithonia D-Series LED Parking Garage luminaire provides energy savings of 88% when replacing 175W metal halide luminaires. With an expected service life of over 100,000 hours (10+ years of 24/7 operation), up to five metal halide lamp changes are avoided over the life of the product. All of this adds up to quick paybacks and a very low total cost of ownership.

In addition to stocking products from the leaders in the lighting industry, Steiner also employs an experienced and dedicated cadre of experts who can help determine the best lighting plan for your applications, including those concepts spelled out in the DOE database.

An outdoor lighting snapshot

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Snapshot report on LED outdoor area lighting is based on the agency’s LED Lighting Facts database. The Website features areas of growth such as outdoor area/roadway luminaires (including street lighting and wall packs), parking garage luminaires, and canopy luminaires such as those used for gas station fuel pump areas. Retrofit kits and dedicated luminaires in these categories are not considered separately, as only in the area/roadway category did retrofit kits make up a notable percentage (8%) of the products listed in the category.

Among the key findings in the Snapshot are:

  • Outdoor area lighting remains a major component of the LED Lighting Facts database, and of the lighting market in general. Combined, the three types of outdoor area luminaires considered in the Snapshot make up about 26% of the database.
  • LED outdoor area-lighting products are available in a wide range of outputs and color characteristics, allowing the specifier to match the needs of the project.
  • At any given output level up to the equivalent of 1,000 W HPS (about 100,000 lumens delivered), LED products are available with substantially higher efficacy than that of their conventional counterparts.
  • There is a wide range in efficacy for LED outdoor area lighting products.

For a closer look at the findings, download the full report.

To help you better understand the available outdoor lighting  options, contact your local Steiner lighting consultant by calling 1-800-STEINER (783-4637) or visit one of Steiner Electric’s convenient locations.

Elk Grove to Japan, Steiner Delivers

Imagine you’re sitting in your office, and your corporate headquarters contacts you and tells you they’ve had an emergency shutdown and they need you to get them some critical parts by the next day. But, you realize that you don’t have the parts in stock and besides, corporate headquarters is on the other side of the world more than 6,000 miles away.

What do you do?

The first thing you do is call your sales representative at Steiner Electric and ask for help. In this case, Matt Piekarczyk and Rich Meagher, both inside sales representatives, went into emergency order mode and ascertained that we had the needed parts. They then turned to Jose Gonzalez and Rigoberto Gonzalez in the warehouse department and Jim Boss in shipping to locate, box and prepare the parts for shipping. In all, 3 boxes of much-needed parts were transported.

“From sales to shipping to the customer, it was a group effort,” says Boss, “Even the customer had to create original labels and get them to us so that they could be shipped via FedEx for next day shipping to Japan.”

It is this type of effort, this desire to help a customer—no matter the challenging circumstances—that sets Steiner apart from other distributors. And, it is this effort, this willingness to go that extra mile (or in this case 6,000 miles), that keeps customers coming back to Steiner to help them with their business and supply needs.

In fact, a few days later, the customer, a reseller of industrial machinery and related equipment, placed another overseas order with us. This time, the deadline was not as immediate, but that doesn’t mean that the Steiner team didn’t go above and beyond again.

“Without being asked, we made sure that this order was shipped to Japan on heat-treated skids,” says Boss. Heat treated-skids are heated to a core temperature of 140 degrees for a minimum of 30 minutes to kill off any insects or larva that might be in the pallet. “The use of heat-treated skids should be routine for any company that ships out of the country, but some companies don’t do it,” he adds. “I know about it because of all the freight that I have shipped out of the country over the years.”

For help with any order a Steiner representative is always just a phone call away. If you are in need of emergency services call the 24-hour service line at 1-800-STEINER (783-4637).

Selfless and Generous Act Shows the Spirit of the Holidays

The holiday season brings out the good in most people, but sometimes the not so good in others. A recent event brought out both actions.

On Nov. 16, a woman stole a donation jar filled with money earmarked for two Rockford-based charitable organizations. The theft at the Treasures Galore Resale Shop in Rockford, reported by the Rockford Scanner, prompted a man to donate $300 dollars from his own pocket.

The anonymous donor wore a Steiner Electric t-shirt. While we do not know if he was a Steiner employee, customer, or just someone who ended up with a Steiner shirt, we applaud him for his generosity and encourage others to learn more about the organizations to whom the donated money was earmarked: the Rockford Rescue Mission and The Carpenters Place.

The Rockford Rescue Mission provides assistance to the homeless, near-homeless, addicted, and the working poor in the Rock River Valley. Each month, the Mission provides nearly 142,000 meals and 50,000 nights of lodging for area men, women, and children. To learn more about this group, visit www.rockfordrescuemission.org.

The Carpenter's Place
The Carpenters Place

The Carpenters Place provides “the tools necessary for rebuilding the lives of the homeless” including necessities such as shower facilities, secure storage for their belongings, and a mailing address. In addition, case management teams work one-on-one with those in need to develop a personal Life Recovery Plan. For more information, visit www.carpentersplace.org.

In the same spirit of giving, Steiner Electric has matched the donation made by this generous individual.

Get More at Steiner Electric’s Will Call Counters

Steiner Get More Out of Your Will Call

In many ways, Steiner’s Will Call Counters are the face of our renowned, 100-year-old company, and many area contractors, industrial electricians, maintenance workers and others depend on us as a trusted, reliable resource, much as they would a handy tool in their toolbox.

And that, the Will Call Counters are…reliable and trustworthy…and a whole lot more.

Products on display at a Steiner Will Call Counter.
Products on display at a Steiner Will Call Counter.

In fact, in the last several months, customers who visited our Will Call Counters have had the opportunity to partake in a variety of special offers from big-named brands such as SqD, Hubbell, Ideal, Lutron, Milwaukee, Panduit, Carhartt, and more. Customers have had a chance to see new products hauled to our facilities on specially designed trucks, displaying tuggers and benders, lighting and gear, while eating burgers or hot dogs grilled fresh on the back of the rolling product display.

In addition, everyone has had the opportunity to view great deals, participate in product giveaways, and some customers even won a prize or two along the way.

If you missed out on those special offers, don’t fear. More special deals are coming down the pike. Stop in and see what’s new. Check out our digital display boards that can be found just outside the doors of our Will Call Counters. Look for flyers on our countertops; posters on our shelves or checkout our website at www.steinerelectric.com.

Easy In-and-Out Convenience

Steiner operates these well-stocked counters at our nine conveniently located branches across Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana. Whether looking for electrical supplies, safety gear, power tools, lighting options, or any of the thousands of other diverse products available for the electrical and industrial professional, Steiner is your place to shop.

Shopping may even be easier with modern electronics. You can order

Steiner's Smartphone App.
Steiner’s Smartphone App.

products from our website or on your phone using the free Steiner Smartphone App. Using these devices, you can also manage your account, check on product availability and price, view order history, reorder frequently purchased products, and more.

Steiner represents the leading manufacturers in the electrical industry. However, it is the knowledgeable sales team that makes the difference.


It goes without saying that having access to the right product, service, or tool needed for a job, as well as the ability to pick the brain of an experienced staff member, are driving forces for a Will Call customer. But that may not be the only reasons. Often, our Will Call Counters will have some benefits that just might make a customer’s day a little nicer.

Tinley Park Will Call Counter
When at the Tinley Park Will Call Counter, stop and have a cup of coffee or maybe popcorn or a donut.

For instance, Steiner Will Call Counters offer cold water bottles to our customers, and all offer coffee. Some branches offer popcorn while others have the occasional donuts on hand for when you need a recharge. Several facilities offer USB charging stations to give your phones a power boost, and some offer electric car vehicle charging stations to keep your vehicle in operation.

So, stop in for something cold, or hot, to drink, but don’t forget to bring your list of materials. While you’re there, keep an eye out for any last-minute sales and promotions.


Steiner Honors Our Veterans

Duty. Honor. Country. Steiner Salutes our Veterans

Duty, Honor. Country.

These hallowed words, as Gen. Douglas MacArthur reflected, is not only the motto of the West Point Military Academy, it is the heart and soul, the strength and the goodness, of those sons and daughters who serve in the United States military to protect our freedom and way of life.

On this special day, let us pause and salute all who serve in war and in peace. We pay homage to your efforts and wish you our best.

We especially honor the 30 current Steiner Electric employees who served in the cause of liberty. Steiner also salutes the mothers, fathers, and family members of those who have served this nation at posts around the world.

Siemens Circuit Breaker Expands Design Possibilities

Siemens 3VA Molded Case Circuit Breakers

A circuit breaker such as the Siemens new 3VA molded case circuit breaker line is an essential piece of safety equipment that protects critical infrastructure from the harmful effects of short circuits and overloads.

MCCBs rank among the most important safety components in low voltage power distribution.  An estimated 30 million MCCBs are installed each year around the globe.

Siemens 3VA5 molded case circuit breaker.

The new UL-certified series of 3VA molded case circuit breakers from Siemens was designed for low-voltage power distribution in buildings, infrastructure, and industrial applications. But the line was not just designed to protect devices today, but to grow as applications demand and needs change.

Siemens 3va electrical circuit breaker line is built around a modular concept with a variety of models and accessories.

Steiner Electric has placed in inventory Siemens 3VA products that meets the needs of Chicago-area contractors, electricians, MROs, OEM personnel and more.

The 3VA Family

This wide-ranging list of devices include multiple circuit breaker types, auxiliary switches and alarms, a variety of trip options, and the lugs and wire connectors that keep it all together.


Siemens 3VA5 circuit breakers are available in 125 A and 250 A
Siemens 3VA5 circuit breakers are available in 125 A and 250 A frames with a variety of options for each.

Steiner offers these breaker boxes based on two Siemens 3VA5 frame families.

  • The 125 A frame is a 3-pole breaker box with 25 kA @ 480 V interruption rating that come in models that trip at 15 A, 20 A, 50 A, 100 A, and 125 A.
  • The 250 A frame has a 35kA @480 V interruption rating, and trip circuits are rated at 150 A, 200 A, 225 A, and 250 A.

Both devices require minimum space because of their compact design. The footprint for the 3VA5 125 A frame model is 3 in. by 3.8 x 5.5 in. and the footprint for the 250 A frame is 4.13 in. x 4.21 x 7.28 in.

Safe Tripping

For safe operation, the 3VA5 Siemens circuit breakers are based on the concept of thermal magnetic trip units (TMTUs). These TMTUs are two separate tripping mechanisms – thermal and magnetic—that are built into the same device.

In a thermal-magnetic circuit breaker, the trip unit includes elements designed to sense the heat resulting from an overload condition and the high current resulting from a short circuit.

The thermal safety component works on thermal inverse-time, meaning the higher the current, the faster the breaker trips. The thermal element is a bimetallic strip, which means it has two different metals bonded together that have different thermal expansion characteristics. As that strip warms up, the thermal differences cause the metals to twist and bend and eventually contact a trip bar causing the contacts to spring open.

The second safety component is the magnetic trip. The circuit breaker has a trip unit that senses a magnetic field generated by current to detect a short circuit. This type of circuit breaker trips immediately when a short circuit occurs, but delays an appropriate amount of time before tripping in the event of an overload.

Array of Design Options

Steiner offers a wide range of Siemens’ internal accessories that can fit in any of the 3VA products. They can be adapted flexibly, quickly and easily to individual specifications. Color coded for simple installation process, they are designed to always be installed at the correct position in the circuit breaker.

A door mounted rotary operator. Just one of the many options available from Steiner.
A door mounted rotary operator. Just one of the many options available from Steiner.

Accessories include multiple operator options, including door mounted rotary operators that come either with illumination, which provides a clear indication of the switching position, and without an illuminating kit.

Also available is the Max Flex flange mount operating system that allows the user to locate the circuit breaker almost anywhere within an enclosure. It uses a flexible cable that connects to a breaker operator mechanism and a handle located on the enclosure’s flange.

Also available are auxiliary and alarm switches that can be integrated with all sizes of Siemens breakers. The switches snap for easy installation and to swap out as needs change.

3VA9, UL, UVR undervoltage release
The Siemens 3VA9, undervoltage release switch.

Auxiliary switches can be used to operate indicator lights, relays or other accessories to provide the breaker’s status. Alarm switches indicate that the circuit breaker has tripped due to an overload, short circuit or ground fault. A shunt trip will trip a breaker remotely, and an under voltage trip release will activate when voltage shuts off or dips.

So, when looking to install new or replacement breakers, consider the 3VA5 products that offer myriad design possibilities.