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The Internet Electrician

Terry Peterman, the “Internet Electrician®” – A Brief Intro:

The above is a video clip from a national television show that I appeared in several years ago. I served as the electrical expert, answered live calls from people across the country, and provided educational tips and home electrical wiring advice targeted towards the DIY audience.

Here’s a Little Background on myself:

The Entrepreneur

My background in business began back in 1981 (18 years old) when I purchased the assets and operations from the company that I was working part time for, and helped to establish, “Canadian D.J. Services”, a mobile disc jockey service providing music and entertainment for all types of functions from school dances (rock & roll) to 50th wedding anniversaries (old time waltzes and polkas).

My Work Experience

I began my career as an electrician the Monday morning following graduating from high school, with a company in Edmonton Alberta. The field of work was residential electrical construction, and I stayed there for 8 months, riding out the end of the economic boom of the late 70’s.  It was then back home to Olds Alberta, working where I could in everything from farm labour, to oilfield maintenance and construction until I was able to get back in to the trade with a larger oilfield electrical contractor in the oil and gas industry as a maintenance and construction apprentice electrician.

I completed my Journeyman certification and inter-provincial “Red Seal” accreditation in 1988, qualifying me to work as an electrician anywhere in Canada.  I continued to own and operate Canadian D.J. Services on evenings and weekends until selling the business in 1990.  I successfully challenged the first year exam for Instrumentation Mechanic and began the process of entering the corporate world with Shell Canada Ltd., at the newly constructed Caroline Gas Plant near Spruceview Alberta.  I was hired as a “Craftsmen 1” (which is their term for a tradesman).  My role was technical and electrical support to an operations team, and was expected to learn plant operations and to operate a unit as part of the team.  I continued to pursue my Instrumentation Mechanic certification (achieved 4th year apprentice status), and also successfully challenged the 4th class Steam Engineer’s exam.

Reviving the Entrepreneur

In 1996 I accepted a voluntary buy-out package in a corporate downsizing effort and used that money to start up an agency for Autonet, an on-line used vehicle listing and selling venture.  I purchased the rights for the City of Airdrie Alberta, and started up business there until the concept ran out of momentum in early 1997.  It was then back in to the electrical trade as an employee until I gradually moved towards my own business as a sole proprietor.  It was around this time (1997) that an associate and I got the idea for the website, and started electrical-online.com.  We worked together developing the website for a couple years, at which time he approached me to buy out his interest in the venture, and I obliged.

The Politician

In the fall 1998, I put my name forward for the position of a Councillor, in my hometown of Olds, Alberta.  I was successful, and was also re-elected in 2001.  After 2 terms (6 years), I chose not to run in the 2004 election.

The Road to the Present

My work as a sole proprietor grew to a point where I needed more equipment and employees, and in the year 2000 my wife Sandy and I established the corporation of Olds Electric & Lighting Ltd., the largest and most successful electrical contacting business in our trading area.  During this time we accumulated some commercial properties to house our operations. Sandy and I operated that business until September 4, 2008, when we sold our shares to Jeremy and Cindy Tookey, long time employees of ours.  We also sold them the properties, and this left Sandy and I mostly un-encumbered.

About the Website

The website, electrical-online.com, is designed to share my knowledge and experience with the home handyperson, do-it-yourself type in performing small and medium sized home electrical repairs, renovations, or additions to existing home electrical systems.  One question and / or criticism that seems to come up quite often, and usually from fellow contractors or tradesman is:  “Why would you help someone do their own electrical work?  Isn’t that counter-productive to encouraging people to hire professionals, and furthermore, isn’t that a huge liability”?

Once I point out the facts to them, it usually ends the conversation rather quickly and effectively.

FACT:
In most areas of Canada and the United States, homeowners can legally work on their own electrical systems within their own dwelling to varying degrees of complexity, providing that they obtain a “Homeowners Electrical Permit”.  A surprisingly large number of municipalities do not even regulate electrical work, performed by a licensed electrical contractor or anyone else.

FACT:
People are doing their own renovations, additions and repairs, including the electrical work, in staggering numbers. To ignore this fact would be denying the existence of the large section of most home improvement centres that are dedicated to electrical work (and plumbing, heating, air-conditioning to name a few).  These stores cater far more to the do-it-yourself home handyperson than they cater to licensed contractors, so that alone speaks volumes.  The “Home Handyman” is here to stay!

Now given this information, and understanding that I’m not doing anything illegal or immoral, I felt that there was a huge need to help with some well intended advice and assistance to help people do this work correctly, to advise them of the requirements of the permit process (if one exists), and the need to comply with applicable electrical codes.  I always stress the ramifications of not respecting electricity, and stress the proper installation of the devices and systems.  When I encounter someone who clearly does not have the aptitude for such projects, I’m quick to recommend the hiring of a professional, and they are usually appreciative of the advice and take it to heart.

As far as the liability issue goes, I always attach legally drafted disclaimer statements and God willing, I hope to avoid any litigation over well-intended guidance.  There are pages on the Internet that will describe in detail how to make bombs and weapons of mass destruction.  I would hope that they would be targeted by litigation before myself, or any of my many other colleagues on the net who provide helpful advice on any subject that they feel qualified to assist with.

What Matters Most

On a more personal note, I am happily married to my wife and business partner, Sandy, and have one son, Lyle, who is a great kid, and active in the amateur equestrian show jumping world, dabbling in politics, and completing his Business Administration degree.  Sandy and I now are following the dream.  We have moved in to our 40 ft. diesel motor coach and we are now free to follow the sun, and to work full time on electrical-online.com.  Our plan is to live at Carefree Resort on Glennifer Lake for the summer months, and then spend the rest of the year between British Columbia, and warmer climates south.

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you find our site informative and helpful!

Terry Peterman, The Internet Electrician®

 

The Basics of Household Wiring DVD

"If you're looking for a good reference to help you understand simple home wiring, I personally recommend 'The Basics of Household Wiring' DVD".

Terry Peterman, the Internet Electrician
 
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