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Mike, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1425
Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
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My power kept fluctuating in my home. I had an electrician

Customer Question

My power kept fluctuating in my home. I had an electrician come. He called the power company and they took off the meter.
Under the meter was just one insulated line. It was secured by a rusted little square piece and screw or something that secured the line inside the box somehow. I don't know if it was the power guy messing with it or etc but, the line either was touching the box by the time I saw it and there was a sort of arc burn in the box.
The city made me replace the whole box at a cost of 4700.00 Whos fault is this?
Yes they made me upgrade the whole box. I don't know that it needed it. What do you think?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Jason replied 4 months ago.

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer.

Expert:  Jason replied 4 months ago.

I understand the city requiring the exterior portion of the electrical service to be replaced. However, under the circumstances presented, I've never known them to force a homeowner to replace the interior breaker panel. Did the $4700 price tag include a new electrical system for the entire structure?

Expert:  Jason replied 4 months ago.

In other words, what all was replaced?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The exterior panel and all the breakers
Expert:  Jason replied 4 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information. That price, for the scope of work performed, sounds significantly higher than necessary to me. Did the same electrician who did the troubleshooting of the problem complete the repair work for you?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
No. The city would not let him. They said he had no contractor license
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
A different electrician did it.
Expert:  Jason replied 4 months ago.

Even though the work was completed by a licensed contractor, he was aware of the situation you were in (being forced by the city to have the repairs done). I'm not accusing the electrician of doing anything wrong, but it sounds like the price was pretty high for the work that was completed. For that price, I'm pretty sure I could have done the work you listed, plus replaced the interior breaker panel, and still made a good profit on the job.

Expert:  Jason replied 4 months ago.

I'm curious as to what drove the price so high, just for replacing the exterior portion of the service. You could ask a couple of other local electrical contractors to come out and give estimates, or explain the scope of work to them over the phone, and see if they can ballpark a price for you, just to see if the electrician who did the work is in the right price range. But it sounds high to me.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
My isue in this is, with the Original Electrician not having a contractor license to work on my home, and the city alliowing him to work on my home are they liable for anything?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
We suffered for over two weeks , and froze.
And even aging setvices was called on me.
Expert:  Jason replied 4 months ago.

Unfortunately, the city can rightfully claim that they have no liability for anything. It's okay for an unlicensed electrician to respond to and troubleshoot a problem. However, because he isn't licensed, he can't pull a permit for the repair work. If all he did was look at and diagnose the problem, but he didn't perform any repairs, the city can say all he did was look.

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