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Interview with Jason Mienscow of Northern Lights Electric

By Ryan Kaplan

Please describe a little a little bit about your company and the services that you offer.

We're fully licensed and insured and we've been in business for seven years. We have two full-time crews as well as a service technician. We offer 24-hour emergency service and the one year guarantee on all parts and labor. We have some of the best reviews on websites like Angie's list. We have also won the Super Service award for the past seven years.

How did you get into this line of work?

My grandfather was an electrician, so from a very young age I just started following him around. I've been doing it ever since. Most kids wanted to be rock stars but I just wanted to be an electrician.

What are common household mistakes homeowners make concerning their electricity?

I see a lot of people wiring outlets backwards or putting in the wrong type of device in their home, causing damage to lightning, electronics, etc., when it's such a easy job for a electrician to come in and do at a low cost. People think that they can save a little money because it does seem like a simple task, but then they end up out of a laptop or a whole room of LED lighting.

What projects should an electrician come and set up for people?

Any electrical work at all. We do a lot of remodeling and service calls; we have anywhere between five and 10 customers that we service a day. The great thing about having two crews and a service technician is we can do the big jobs as well as the small ones. Anything from fixing a bad outlet to rewiring a 200-year-old house.

Do you have any tips for people that are looking to save on their electric bill?

Absolutely, Mass Save and Rhode Island Green always have rebates for lighting. There are places you can go now that have amazing deals on LEDs. If the lightbulb is $50 it can be all the way down to $5 to $10. They last 30 years and use about a 10th of the power of a regular lightbulb. They surpass the lighting quality and dimming capabilities of fluorescent lighting. In a residential home, anywhere from 40 to 50% of your electric bill is actually your lighting, which most people don't know. In a commercial situation it's typically up to 60%.

Does proper wiring increase the value of the home?

Absolutely. People want to see circuit breakers installed; it's the heart of the electrical system. Homebuyers want to see that the service looks new: no frayed wires, no rust. It's a costly job to get done otherwise. For a 200 amp service, it costs upwards of $1700. If that's taken care of, everything else will be a little bit easier to handle.

What should people look for in a good electrician?

They want to see quality. They want someone who is willing to compete and someone who warrantees their work. They also want someone who was been around for a while and has good reviews on websites like on Angie's list. They should also have a website and show proof of their license on that website.

Is there anything you haven't said that you feel homebuyers should know when it comes to electricity?

If a job is over $3000 - $5000, always look for a contract. It protects both us and the customer by saying that we won't get paid until the job is completed. A lot of guys will try to get too much money upfront and then the customer will be stuck with the electrician who they've paid thousands of dollars to and who won't return their phone calls. If you're trying to hire somebody, you shouldn't have to chase them down.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with your business?

They can go right to our website: www.northernlightselectric.com.

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