Let me ask you a question…If this happened to you with a GE, Square D or Cutler Hammer panel would you feel the same way. If so the poor consumers are running out of manufacturers to use…lol…my point is this, the panel is old and depending on the condition of the panel it could happen with any type of panelboard manufacturer.
Now…I am not here to support FPE ( lord knows they had their day in the sun ) but I am more concerned with making recommendations based on the age of a product and condition of the equipment versus just saying it is FPE…so it is bad. Yes, it sucks…I got that but I find just as many problems with other manufactures as well and more often than anything it is AGE related or installation related versus any specific manufacturer.
Also keep in mind that the stab-lok design is still used in Canada under the Schnieder name and the method is still reliable. The contact points of a properly installed stab-lok breaker has more surface contact area than most other brands today…Canada is in some ways WAY more restrictive than the NEC and in fact the reason the NEC removed lighting and appliance panelboards and removed the 42 circuit limitation was primarily due to the Canadian Code and no reports of issues…and FYI they are not having issues with the stab-lok design either…so that leaves us to the breakers…THAT is where the real concern lies…
Here is an MODERN stab-lok panelboard for you…forsale everyday at home depot in Canada…Enjoy