Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative Recalls Junction Boxes for Fire Hazard

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Wm. David Champion, Jr., President/ CEO of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, has issued the following statement on August 13 regarding the recall of junction boxes for fire hazard:

It has recently come to our attention that there may be an overheating condition due to a loose connection in the junction box between the load control switch and your electric water heater.

The heat that may be created could be hot enough to scorch the paint on the water heater, and in certain conditions there is concern that a subsequent fire could result. We have discovered and corrected several hot connections and we have no documented incidents of fire or injury being caused by this condition, but we believe it to be prudent to check each installation. (This should not be an issue for switches that are connected to air conditioners outside the home.)

We are initiating visits to each member’s home which may be affected by the potentially loose connections. We are working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to implement a corrective action plan to address this matter and as part of the plan we will be calling your telephone number, as shown on our records, to schedule an appointment date and time when we can visit your home or business to check the suspect connections.

In the meantime, we ask that you perform a preliminary inspection of your water heater and the load control switch area. The load control switch should have a sticker on the front of it that reads, “Property of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative”. It is gray and approximately 6” x 7” x 3”. The manufacturer’s name (“Relm” or “Scientific-Atlanta”) should be on the front of the box. If you detect a hot wiring odor or excessive heat on the outside of the connecting junction box that is between the water heater and the load control switch please immediately contact EIEC at (800) 824-5102 (the EIEC office is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday; however, our answering service will be instructed to forward your message to the On Call Supervisor, if you call after hours concerning your preliminary inspection findings) and we will expedite our visit to your home. Turn off the water heater if you detect the condition. Do not attempt corrective action yourself.

Please remember the concern we have is not with your water heater or the control switch, but with a wire connection located inside the junction box. We regret any inconvenience that this may cause for you, but we place your safety and the safety of your property as an immediate priority.

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