Motor Doc's Hot Topics: Cash For Clunkers? For Electric Motors?

Making decisions on whether to repair or replace your electric motors may become even more interesting in the near future. In the original EPAct 92 electric-motor requirements, motor manufacturers could no longer produce NEMA frame standard efficient motors from 1-200 horsepower (hp), standard, foot-mounted, design A & B, 2-, 4- or 6-pole as of October 24, 1997. After that date, motors needed to meet the NEMA MG-1 energy-efficient-table nominal efficiency.

The 2007 Energy Independence and Securities Act (EISA 2007) took this a step further. It called for expansion of requirements to premium efficient tables for the above motors, including C-face and D-flange motors, as well as another expansion: After December 19, 2010, motor manufacturers of NEMA machines must also meet energy-efficient tables for all motors to 600V, close-coupled pump motors, vertical hollow-shaft, footless, 200-500 hp, firepump, U-frame, 8-pole and design C motors. You will, however, still be able to purchase the older motors that were built prior to this date.

In an effort to promote the use of the newer motors, the U.S. Senate has proposed tax bill S. 1639, the Expanding Industrial Energy Efficiency Incentives Act, that provides a tax credit of $125 per hp for the substitution of advanced motor systems with adjustable-speed capabilities that may be included in the new energy policy act.

Furthermore, in order to promote new motor replacement over repair, the new energy act includes an incentive referred to as "crush for credit." In this program there must be evidence that an existing motor is replaced and disposed of as part of a repair or retrofit. The incentive, should it pass, includes $25 per hp for users who purchase new premium-efficiency motors and a processing-of-the-motor disposal credit of $5 per hp for the distributor, in addition to the scrap value, with evidence of the unit's disposal, to cover associated costs.

As I said before, it looks as though your motor decisions are soon going to become very interesting. Stay tuned! MT

Howard Penrose is VP of Repair Services (Operations) for Dreisilker Electric Motors, Inc. ( and editor-in-chief of the IEEE DEIS Web ( He is author of the Axiom Business Book Award-Winning Physical Asset Management for the Executive and the ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist, Electrical Motor Diagnostics: 2nd Edition.

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