BANGOR — The fortunes of a local industrial electric repair company have brightened with the recent stamp of approval it received from General Electric Corp.
Under a one-year renewable contract, AC Electric Corp. of Auburn and Bangor will be GE’s lone factory-authorized repair service for Maine and northern New Hampshire.
AC Electric will be authorized to fix GE switch gear — the circuit breakerlike systems that control the distribution of electricity in factories and other large commercial operations.
“This is really a first for the industry,” said Scott Roberts, the quality assurance manager at AC Electric. “They understand that you can’t adequately service your customers from 100 miles away.”
Since the closing of its Pittsfield operation in 1994, the closest GE repair shop for Maine customers has been in Boston. AC Electric competed with the Pittsfield repair shop and to a lesser extent the shop in Boston. Now, the 38-person company will boast the addition of the signature GE logo on its service trucks and hard hats.
“The association of the GE name with AC Electric will give us immediate recognition and credibility,” noted company President Daniel Parsons.
Its addition to GE’s new factory-authorized service team also brings to the fore AC Electric’s long-term plans to diversify operations. The company, founded in 1950, has specialized in rebuilding industrial motors, but in 1991 added engineering services such as repairing switch gear.
That side of the business has continued to grow for AC Electric, while the motor repair and sales business has slackened. According to Parsons, engineering services now contribute about 25 percent to AC Electric’s revenues.
“In the past three years, it has grown threefold,” he noted. “Motor repair is at a mature stage.”
While the company will not immediately be adding employees, Parsons said that the stamp of approval to fix GE switch gear products in Maine and New Hampshire should help AC Electric grow in the future.
For the electrical distribution and control segment of the GE conglomerate, the “preferred provider” relationships with companies like AC Electric mean a greater emphasis on servicing products worldwide.
“It’s a renewed focus on service,” said David Hibbert, the manager of marketing and sales at GE’s electrical distribution and control division. “It’s also a great value to AC Electric. They will be part of our training and promotion.”
Hibbert said that the GE division has a huge base in Maine, with at least one-third of the market for switch gear, including many of the state’s pulp and paper mills.