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  • Writer's pictureGarrett Howard

The History of Federal Pacific Electric Panels: Why It's Crucial to Replace Them

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

The History of Federal Pacific Electric Panels


In the 1950s, the Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) company became a major manufacturer of electrical panels in the United States. FPE panels were widely used in homes and businesses throughout the country, and they were considered to be a reliable and affordable choice for many years.


However, over time, it became apparent that FPE panels were not as safe as originally thought. In the 1980s, concerns were raised about the design and construction of FPE panels, and it was discovered that they had a higher than normal failure rate. In fact, some studies suggested that up to 80% of FPE panels were defective in some way.


Why It's Important to Have Federal Pacific Electric Panels Replaced


If you have an FPE panel in your home or business, it's important to have it replaced as soon as possible. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Safety: Federal Pacific Electric panels that are outdated or defective can pose a serious safety hazard. They may not be able to handle the electrical demands of modern appliances and devices, and they may be more prone to overheating, sparking, or causing a fire.

  2. Insurance: Many insurance companies will not provide coverage for homes or businesses that have Federal Pacific Electric panels that are known to be defective. If you have an FPE panel or another type of outdated panel, you may have trouble getting the coverage you need to protect your property.

  3. Resale value: If you plan to sell your home or business in the future, having an outdated Federal Pacific Electric panel can negatively impact its resale value. Potential buyers may be hesitant to purchase a property that has an outdated or potentially dangerous electrical system.

  4. Compliance: Many local building codes require that Federal Pacific Electric panels be replaced if they are outdated or defective. If you don't replace your panel, you may be subject to fines or other penalties.

  5. EV Charging: Federal Pacific Electric circuit breakers were never designed to take the constant load that an EV charger will draw on a continuous basis and as such we strongly recommend not adding an EV charger to an existing Federal Pacific Electric panel. The panel should be replaced with a reliable brand, such as Eaton, Square D, or Leviton.

In conclusion, Federal Pacific Electric panels have a long and complicated history, and it's important to have them replaced if they are outdated or defective. Not only can an outdated panel pose a serious safety hazard, but it can also impact your insurance coverage, resale value, and compliance with local building codes. If you're unsure whether your electrical panel needs to be replaced, it's always a good idea to consult with a licensed electrician.


Alameda Electric LLC can install any of the major lines of electrical panel, including Eaton, Square D, and Leviton. It is also highly recommended to install a surge protector in your new panel to prevent any damage to your modern home appliances.


Update to original post: Federal Pacific Electric circuit breakers were never designed to take the constant load that an EV charger will draw on a continuous basis and as such we strongly recommend not adding an EV charger to an existing Federal Pacific Electric panel.



Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok panel
Federal Pacific Electric Panel

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