Cable Guy + drill + electrical panel = Trouble

After church my mother-in-law asked me to come over to her house and look at the electrical panel. Yesterday she had some people working around the panel and they nearly got killed. They said the electrical panel was a safety hazard and that she should get some lawyers to sue the electrical company that put in it.

Although I am not an electrician I am an electrical engineer with some practical experience around electrical panels. When I got there the cover was off the panel. That is always a bad sign. So I asked my mother-in-law to tell me the story. Yesterday the cable guy installed new cable and telephone service. First he ran the cable came into the garage next to the electrical panel. Next he installed a device similar to the cable modem on the wall for the telephone service. When he plugged the device into the outlet next to the panel, he caused a breaker to trip. This is where the story gets real funky. The cable guy removes the electrical panel cover. I have no idea why he removed the panel cover but he does something in the panel and then has problems putting the cover back on. I am guessing he was having problems with one of the screws used to attach the cover to the panel not lining up with hole. So he pulls out his drill and sets about enlarging the hole on a live electrical panel. By definition anyone pointing a drill at a live electrical panel is an idiot looking for trouble and that is what he found. The drill went through the hole in the panel and into the 200 amp main feed to the house. A small explosion occurred, part of the drill bit is vaporized, and he is blown backwards. He is lucky. If the panel was not grounded, he would be dead now. Hopefully he knows the difference between electricians and cable guys. Cable guys do not work on electrical panels.