ALERT: Why You Should Replace Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok Panels

Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Stab-Lok panels shouldn’t be inspected, but replaced. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, FPE Stab-Lok residential circuit breakers may fail to trip properly with overload and short-circuiting. Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) standards require that breakers trip, or shut off the current, when overloaded to prevent electrical hazards. The FPE breakers did not comply fully with UL testing requirements, and are not UL listed. The National Electric Code (NEC) requires all electrical components and products be listed by UL or other registered testing agency to be acceptable for installation and use. 

What Are Federal Pacific Stab-Lok Panels?

Federal Pacific Stab-Lok Panels are a brand of electrical circuit breaker panels that were manufactured and installed from the 1950s through the 1980s. They were one of the most popular brands on the market at that time, and were installed in millions of homes and businesses. Due to their popularity, many buildings and houses still have FPE electrical panels in them to this day.

Electrical Risk Associated with FPE Stab-Lok Panels

Breaker panels should trip when a circuit has been overloaded or if there is a short circuit, but FPE Stab-Lok breakers may fail to trip as they are supposed to. This creates an electrical hazard that can lead to fires, injuries and property damage. An in depth study of fire reports suggests that “FPE Stab-Lok breakers may be responsible for as many as 2,800 fires, 13 deaths and $40 million in property damage every year.” Even if the circuit is in the ‘off’ position, FPE Stab-Lok has been known to still power the circuit causing an electrocution hazard.

What Action is Needed If My Business Has an FPR Stab-Lok Panel?

If your electrical breaker cover plate or panel has the words Federal Pacific Stab-Lok on them, we recommend that the electrical breaker panel be replaced. Working with electricity can be dangerous so this should be done by a licensed electrical contractor.  A licensed electrical contractor will ensure appropriate UL listed equipment is installed to meet the NEC.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace an FPE Stab-Lok Panel?

The cost to replace FPE Stab-Lok panels is variable, as it depends on the size and number of panels that need to be replaced as well as your location and type of business. But the cost if you don’t replace them could be catastrophic for your business, employees and customers. Consult a licensed electrical contractor for pricing.

Read more from the Society Insurance risk control team in this blog: 8 Steps to Reduce the Risk of Fire at Your Bar or Restaurant. Or contact your local independent Society agent with coverage questions.

Author

Brian obtained his bachelors degree in Occupational & Environmental Safety and Health from UW Whitewater. He has been in risk control for six years. Brian is also a lieutenant on his local fire department, where he has been an active member for over 10 years. He currently holds many certifications in firefighting, fire prevention and emergency management.

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