Is your breaker box a hazard to your home?
Federal Pacific and Zinsco-Sylvania are just a couple panel brands known to be unsafe. Federal Pacific panels are considered to have a 60% failure rate while newer panels have a less than 1% failure rate. The hazard lies within the breakers that fail to trip when faults or overloads occur. When the equipment fails to protect the circuit, the result could be overheating, a fire, or someone could get electrocuted. House fires are devastating enough when they’re caused by something that couldn’t be controlled. We recommend that these panels be replaced to keep everyone safe and sound.
Where to start
Homeowners send us pictures of their service all the time, we can usually look through those pictures and get a quote back to you within 1 or 2 business days. Included in the quote is the cost of materials, the time it will take to get the work done and the cost of the permit. If the estimate works for you, then we can start the permit process.
The permit process
We take care of the permit process in and around the Austin area. We also recommend that you find an electrician that will go through the permit process for you; unless it’s something you’re comfortable doing yourself.
For permits within the City of Austin, the whole thing takes about a month. First, we send an Electrical Service Planning Application in to Austin Energy, through them we verify the main disconnect to make sure the amount of power your panel says you get is the amount that Austin Energy is supplying you with. Once Austin Energy has given us the green light we send a permit request to the city explaining exactly what we plan to do. Usually pulling the permit takes about a week, depending on how busy the city is with other permits.
Once we have an approved permit from the City of Austin we can schedule an outage with Austin Energy, they usually stay about 3-4 weeks out on their schedule but it really depends on the area of town. Of course, there’s always the off chance that we can sneak into a cancellation spot and get scheduled a little sooner. The day the outage is scheduled someone with Austin Energy will come in the morning to disconnect power; this keeps the electricians safe from electrocution hazards while they’re working.
After the electricians finish their work they contact the City of Austin and the inspector stops by to approve the work with a temporary inspection. Once approved, Austin Energy will return to reconnect the power.
Breaker Box Hazards
After the service is rebuilt
There’s only one more thing standing in the way between the home and a clean bill of health and that is a final inspection. Any time after the work has been completed we can schedule the City of Austin to send an electrical inspector out take a look at the work and make sure that everything was properly connected and we’re good to go. The cost for this was included in the initial cost of the permit.
Outside Austin Energy
The permit process outside Austin is pretty similar to the permit process within the City of Austin; again we take care of all that. Once the permit is active, the account holder will need to call their provider to schedule an outage for a service rebuild. We'll need to be scheduled for the same date and time to do the work. We will schedule an inspection with the city for that day as well. Once it is inspected, the same day the work is done, the inspector will release it to the power company to come hook it back up.
Doing an upgrade really isn’t much different than rebuilding the service, the only difference is that in October 2014 Austin Energy began adding an upgrade fee. The upgrade fees range from $400 to $1200 depending upon how much more power is being added and if it is overhead or underground. If you absolutely need more power, we can discuss an upgrade but first we suggest utilizing what is currently there to avoid the upgrade charge.
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Regulated by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, P.O. Box 12157 Austin, Tx 78711, 1-800-803-9202, 512-463-6599; website: https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/complaints/
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