Federal Pacific Electric Service Panel
If you goggle Federal Pacific Electric or "Stab-Loc" circuit breakers you will find a lot of discussion concerning the safety and inherent defects of the panels. The defect has been linked to numerous electrical fires.
In a class-action lawsuit against Federal Pacific Electric in New Jersey, the Court found that Federal Pacific Electric Co. committed fraud by representing that their Stab-Lok circuit breakers met the applicable (UL) standard test requirements when in fact they did not. The Court’s finding of fraud, published in 2005, indicates that FPE cheated on the tests they were required to obtain to maintain UL listings. That the company improperly applied UL labels to circuit breakers that could not and did not meet the UL requirements. Federal Pacific Electric covered up the defective performance of the circuit breakers by a long-standing practice of fraudulent testing. The Court's finding helps resolve the question as to how the defective breakers got into the marketplace and into homes.
You will not find any supporting evidence from any government agency or regulatory authority stating that these FPE panels are unsafe and should be replaced. There has not been a recall by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The CPSC did start an investigation but then closed its case against Federal Pacific Electric due to lack of funding.
From the CPSC website.
""The Commission staff estimates that it would cost several million of dollars to gather the data necessary to assess fully whether those circuit breakers that are installed in homes but which may fail UL calibration tests present a risk to the public. Based on the Commission's limited budget ($34 million for fiscal year 1983), the Commission has decided not to commit further resources to its investigation of FPE's circuit breakers.
Federal Pacific acknowledges failure of their breakers to comply with UL calibration requirements but insist that the breakers do not create a hazard in the household environment. It is Federal Pacific Electric's position that FPE breakers will trip reliably at most overload levels unless the breakers have been operated in a repetitive, abusive manner that should not occur during residential use. Federal Pacific Electric believes its position in this regard is supported by test data that it provided to the Commission."
The Commission staff believes that it currently has insufficient data to accept or refute Reliance's position.""
It should be noted that Federal Pacific Electric is no longer in business.
The CPSC’s advice to consumers concerning these panels is to avoid overloading circuits as well as to turn off and have examined any devices that are causing the circuit breakers to trip.
The problem is of course when the circuit breakers don't trip.
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