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Thanks to City Electric Supply, an ongoing electrical retrofit project in Denver Public Schools (DPS) saves the district precious time and money while preventing critical system failure. DPS electricians have updated about 40 schools since 2017, replacing 65 electrical panels with Eaton custom panel upgrades.

DPS has built and expanded since 1859, growing to 207 schools. “Our schools range from very, very old to very, very new,” said Mike Lakos, Electrical Department Manager for DPS. “When a bond passes, the old electrical has to wait in line to get replacement funding.”

Innovation to Installation

Keeping the lights on in every building requires smart, economical, and quickly implemented solutions. Sales Representative for City Electric Supply Denver Ted Lunn checks in to hear out issues and research answers.

“We lean on vendors to bring us certain products or resources. We rely on people like Ted and CES to show us the latest and greatest stuff,” said Mike. “Otherwise, we’d bug them every other day for something,” he laughed.

Years ago, older schools’ electrical panels became impossible to repair. Obsolete breakers and other parts had become impossible to order. However, a single panel replacement could take several weeks, disrupting daily school operations.

Ted returned to DPS, suggesting custom panels from Eaton. These electrical retrofit panels would fit in the existing structural walls, utilizing the existing back box. Eaton could rush-deliver each panel in as few as two-to-four weeks.

Each school so far required one to five panel replacements. Electricians can install most panels within an eight-hour timeframe, either overnight or during weekends. In some cases, electricians can even convert the panels into the main breaker to ensure it’s not hot while working on it.

“We literally have failing panels, and replacing entire electrical structures won’t happen for a few years. This gets us to the point where we can maintain the power moving forward,” said Mike.

The Perfect Electrical Retrofit

Ted continues to assist with initial measurements, order forms, order accuracy on arrival, and more. “When I meet Mike’s electricians, they usually know how many panel retrofits they want before I come out. It takes about 30 minutes depending on the number of panels and circuits.”

“We’re lucky to work with DPS and have built a good relationship with them,” explained Ted. “In addition to counter business, we have opportunities for double-bookings if a school is near another branch. That’s the beauty of having so many locations in Colorado and throughout Denver.”

Mike expressed great satisfaction with the Eaton custom panels and relief about the project overall. “It’s funny because electricity is taken for granted, and it has to be that way. Nobody notices anything other than our technicians arriving for installation, so we’re doing a pretty good job.”

“Our team is very appreciative for the solutions and supplies from Ted, CES, and Eaton,” Mike shared. “Our schools do not experience a power outage for any time at all. It just goes to show that the industry is really listening and changing.”

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