August 28, 2022
Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) and Zinsco panels have design flaws that can cause their breakers to fail, creating a safety hazard. If you have either of these panels, we recommend replacing it with a new, UL-Certified panel.
In 2005, A New Jersey court ruled that Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) fraudulently labeled faulty Stab-Lok breakers as meeting safety standards. Reliance Electric Co., a subsidiary of Exxon Corporation and the parent to FPE, reported to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission that many FPE circuit breakers did not fully comply with Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) requirements. Commission testing confirmed that these breakers fail certain UL calibration test requirements. Independent studies conducted by the IEEE in 2012 also confirmed abnormally high defect rates.
Zinsco panels similarly present a safety risk due to a design flaw that allows the circuit breaker's connection to the bus bar becomes loose, causing arcing and overheating. This heat can damage circuit breakers by fusing then to the bus bar, making them impossible to remove. The heat can also fuse the breaker's contacts together which prevents them from tripping, creating a fire hazard.