Electrician,Upgrade,Bethesda, MD
Written by Walt Meyer

Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok Hazards – Part 1

Installed throughout the United States, Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok (FPE Stab-Lok) manufactured electrical panels and circuit breakers marketed under the Federal Pioneer brand. The shortcomings of FPE Stab-Lok have been known by professionals even before its production ceased in the mid-1980s.

Substandard manufacturing, fraudulent labeling, recalls, fires, and injuries are all attributable to FPE Stab-Lok. Tests by independent labs have found that its circuit breakers have a failure rate of up to 80%. As a result, the product is considered a serious hazard. 

The following will further discuss FPE Stab-Lok panel and circuit breaker issues. Consult with an experienced and licensed electrician regarding replacement for your safety.

Fraudulent Testing and Labeling

A class-action lawsuit filed in New Jersey found that Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) had violated the New York Consumer Fraud Act over numerous years. In its 2002 ruling, the court stated that FPE unlawfully distributed circuit breakers that were not tested to meet UL standards as was labeled on their products.

Extremely High Failure Rates

Although FPE was aware of its fraudulent testing and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) labeling, the company continued to allow the installation of FPE Stab-Lok circuit breakers in millions of homes in the United States. When more than 500 installed Stab-Lok circuit breakers were tested, approximately 20% of the single-pole type and 33% of the two-pole type failed.

Another test of about 830 FPE Stab-Lok circuit breakers installed in a New Jersey condominium complex, discovered trip-failure rates of 70% for the two-pole type. In addition, there was trip-failure rate of 80% on GFCI breakers. Most alarmingly, there was a 100% trip-failure rate when a second overcurrent occurred on a jammed 2-pole circuit breaker.

Injury and Death Hazard

Compounding its inadequacy in protecting people and property from hazardous overcurrent, FPE Stab-Lok circuit breakers that are switched OFF will occasionally remain ON inside, potentially causing injury or death. Studies have confirmed FPE Stab-Lok panels are responsible for a considerable number of injuries, deaths, and property losses annually.

Part 2 will discuss Latent Hazards, National Electric Code Violation, Field Inspection and Testing.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Founded in 1991 and serving Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services you can trust, including:

  • Standby Generator Installation
  • Panel Upgrades (Heavy-Ups)
  • Electrical Vehicle Charging Stations
  • Structured Cabling
  • Circuit Breaker Replacement

Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.