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Avoid hiring unlicensed electricians

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Electricians are in high demand right now, but you need to avoid hiring anyone unlicensed.

When the trees came down, so did Eli Franco's meter box.

"It's a hazard," Franco said. "You could burn your house down."

But she's not talking about the damage done by the storm; she's referring to the shoddy work of a so-called electrician.

Franco tried calling several electricians from the phonebook, they were all busy, and some weren't even taking phone calls. That's when she called Brothers Electric Company, and they were available.

They didn't do a good job fixing her box. The pipe they put in was obviously smaller than the original pipe and the wires they installed were smaller as well. That's when Franco started questioning their work.

"These are thicker than what you're using, he says 'no it's fine, it's what we use now and it's up to code'," Franco said. "I don't know any better. I didn't know anything about electricity, so I said 'OK'."

David Adcock is in charge of Oklahoma City's electrical inspectors. After seeing Franco's meter box, his office started an investigation.

"Say your air conditioner is on in the summertime, when the peak use of electricity, it would most likely melt those wires," Adcock said.

He says those wires are what you'd typically use to bring power to an electric stove, not an entire house.

Franco paid $275 for it.

She's not sure who Brothers Electric sent out to do the job, but she wrote her check to a Donavan Clary.

We checked and found Clary is an electrical **apprentice** with the state. That means he's not supposed to be out there doing work by himself, he must have a journeyman, or a supervisor with him. 

We tried to call Brothers Electric. We left a message and we're still waiting on that return call.

Those needing assistance with electricity should ask their electrician to see their required license. It should say Journeyman or Contractor and have the state seal in the middle. If you live in the city, an electrician, or whoever owns their company, is required to be registered with the city.

The Construction Industries Board is also doing an investigation on this case. On their Web site you can verify if your electrician is indeed licensed.

If you have a problem Amanda and the Consumer Watch Team can help you. Call our Consumer Watch hot line at 841-9921.

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