Federal Pacific Electric
Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) was a popular manufacturer of panels and circuit breakers from the mid 1950s to the early 1980s. Their products were very popular throughout the country and some communities have FPE panels in every home. For many years stories have dispersed about the hazards and defects to this equipment. Many of the products have been recalled, fraudulently manufactured, and many houses have caught fire from the malfunctioning breakers.
The main problems with FPE panel are:
The equipment is old and manufactured to less trict codes than modern equipment. There are problems unique to the design of the FPE Stab-Lok breakers, such as breakers overloading and failing to trip. These problems are also found in older equipment as well. There are also issues with manufacturing defects and circuit breaker failures.
For homes that have any FPE Stab-Lok equipment, we recommend immediate replacement of all the equipment, regardless of model number or the manufacturing year. We do not recommend replacing individual FPE circuit breakers. Having the FPE panel evaluated or “tested” by an electrician has no value and can also be dangerous. Visual inspections cannot provide an assurance that the panel is safe and having the panel “tested” could potentially start a fire. The safest route is replacing any old equipment.