How to Replace Obsolete GE Electrical Panels in Commercial Buildings

Upgrading and replacing electrical panels is an important part of maintaining a safe and efficient electrical system in any commercial building. GE electrical panels in particular can become obsolete over time as technology improves and electrical loads increase. Replacing outdated GE panels requires coordination with professionals, permits, inspections, and adherence to electrical codes. This comprehensive guide will walk through the entire process of replacing obsolete GE electrical panels in commercial buildings.

Understanding Obsolete GE Electrical Panels

GE electrical panels, also known as load centers or breaker boxes, distribute electricity throughout a building. Over time, these panels can become outdated and require replacement for several reasons:

Typical signs that GE electrical panels need replacement include:

Replacing obsolete panels provides safety, capacity for growth, and access to modern technology.

Choosing New GE Panels

When selecting a new GE load center, consider the following factors:

Consult with qualified electricians to select the optimal GE panel. GE load centers come in a range of ampacities and space for breakers. Common upgraded panels include GE Spectra, GE Powermark Gold, and GE Powermark Platinum models.

Hiring Qualified Electricians

Replacing electrical panels must be done by qualified electricians, not DIYers. Be sure to:

Ask electricians about experience with:

A qualified electrician is essential for a smooth electrical panel replacement.

Permits and Inspections

Any kind of electrical work in commercial buildings requires permits and inspections from the local building department. When upgrading GE electrical panels:

The electrician is responsible for scheduling inspections at the right times. The inspector will check that the new GE panel and breakers are listed and labeled by a testing laboratory like UL or ETL to ensure safety.

Safely Disconnecting Old Panels

Before installing the new panel, the old GE electrical panel must be disconnected. Safety is critical since panels contain high voltage electricity.

The basic steps are:

If possible, schedule a shutdown to turn off power to the entire building while swapping panels. Alternatives like temporary generators may be needed to maintain critical systems while the old panel is disconnected.

Coordinate timing with inspectors, electricians, and occupants for a smooth electrical panel replacement.

Installing New GE Panels

Proper installation of the new GE electrical panel is critical for safety and performance. Key steps include:

Installation must comply with all local codes and the GE panel instructions. Take photographs at each step of the process for reference and inspection.

Testing and Turn On

Once installation is complete, the new GE electrical panel needs thorough testing:

Only when all tests pass inspection will the new panel be approved for full use. Monitor closely for first days and weeks to ensure no abnormal behavior develops.

Maintaining New GE Panels

Like any electrical equipment, new GE panels require ongoing maintenance:

Follow manufacturer maintenance recommendations and keep records of all inspections and repairs. Proper maintenance greatly extends the life of new GE electrical panels.


Upgrading obsolete GE electrical panels with modern equipment improves safety and allows for future growth in any commercial building. While the process is complex, having qualified electricians handle permitting, installation, testing, and inspection ensures a smooth upgrade. With the right planning and precautions, GE panel replacement projects can be completed successfully with minimal disruption. Maintaining new panels properly will provide decades of reliable service.