We’re Under Attack By… The Electrical Unions

highvoltage-rave-1212In states all over the country, electrical unions are trying to convince state and local governments that low-voltage installs need to be handled by them.

That’s right — to keep people safe from the 5-, 7-, 11- and 12-volt signals (and, of course 70-volt audio systems too) running down speaker wire, Ethernet cables, RS232 cabling and through HDMI ports, apparently we need electricians pulling, terminating and interconnecting those wires. Not to mention, making sure it’s all done right.

Give me a break. This is a scam. You know it, I know it and the electrical unions nationwide know it.

So, why are they doing this? More and more signals can travel the low voltage way (e.g., we can power and charge tablets and phones via USB and we can run security cameras and control systems via PoE — power-over-Ethernet) and soon TVs and projectors will be powered via HDMI and Cat5 – no high-voltage cabling required. So, the need for the over-priced, high voltage contractor will soon be diminished to just rough-ins.

The union is coming to the rescue… of their members (not the consumers!).

If this happens in the states where legislations is pending (California, New Jersey, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and a handful of states in and around New England), this will spell disaster all-around.

The price of installs will go up. The price of gear will go up and the time to do an install will go up — costing everyone more money — and adding someone that, to be frank, isn’t needed on the job site.

In fact, what will likely happen, if it does pass, is what you saw in that scene from The Sopranos: There’s a construction site and the union boss is sitting in a folding chair at the job site watching the lower-skilled laborers do the work — all the while he is “certifying” it as passing union construction standards. We’ll all be required to have a high-voltage electrician sitting on a job site watching us do installs — we just have to pay him off to “certify” the installation since we’re working with the super-deadly, 5-volt power coming from a USB-powered VTC camera.

We will just have to provide the folding chair.

Gary Kayye is the founder of rAVe [Publications]. Reach him at gary@ravepubs.com