My residential electrical panel is located in a commerical unit that is not accessible, what do i do?

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Posted by: from Burlington
5/24/2021 at 7:16:51 AM

I live in an apartment in Ontario ontop of a resteraunt. My electrical panel is located in the restaurant basement and is not accessible to me. My entire apartment has 3 breakers: 1 for the furnace/ac (but have to be switched and can only use one, so no central air when I have window ac unit) 2. For the stove. 3. Rest for the entire apartment including: fridge, all lights, appliances (microwave, fan, toaster, clocks, tvs, etc.). My landlord is telling me they cant fix my electricity. I feel i dont have adaquete electricity for my appliances. I wish to have my ac and fridge on its own breaker so I can have all my appliances working without the breaker tripping and not being able to access it. I have food that is going bad everytime my breaker goes off and they are telling me im unable to plug in a fan while my ac unit is on. It is way too hot out, and i wish to purchase a second window ac unit but they are giving me a hard time. What should i do?

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Ian in Edmonton
Date/Time5/25/2021 at 12:01:20 AM

It sounds like you have any illegal suite. In Edmonton there is a specialized City team which investigates whenever there is a suspicion of an illegal suite; it's probably the same there. The Owner would be required to bring it up to a minimum standard of safety which may be cost prohibitive in this case.

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Date/Time5/25/2021 at 7:58:22 PM

Hi Judy,

You can always contact the Electrical Safety Authority and ask them to come out and preform an electric check . Once they complete their findings they can write up a report and provide your landlord and yourself a copy. In some situations the landlord would be required to fix and deficiencies on the list within 30 or 60 days. You definitely have a lack of power for your unit and should be brought up to code.


Matt McCarthy, M.E

President / Owner

M&J Electric Inc.

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Date/Time6/4/2021 at 2:02:38 PM

Hello Judy

There are rules in the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (OESC) that require you to have access to your panel 24/7. That does not mean the panel is required to be in your apartment, it just means that if it is not, somebody has to be available to let you access your panel / breaker / fuses.

The second issue is your loading of circuits. Again, there are a number of rules that pertain to what is required for a dwelling / apartment. Having said that, there is no requirement to have dedicated AC circuits for window air conditioners in the OESC. Now things like your refrigerator, microwave, kitchen counters, etc need to have dedicated circuits as per the OESC. Having them on their own dedicated circuits may relieve some of the burden on the general use circuits, but again there is no requirement to install circuits for your AC.

As suggested, you can call the Electrical safety Authority (ESA) and have them come out to do an ElecCheck, but you may also want to look at the Landlord Tenant Board to see if there is some process to get the suggested repairs completed. As an example, if your unit was rented with AC, then your landlord is obligated to provide that. However, if it is not, then there is no obligation.


John L. Kuehnl-Cadwell, CD, ME

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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