The 'other' New Zealand problem: Electricians urge Federal Government to be alert

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15 August 2017

Master Electricians Australia has warned the Federal Government of another potential headache emanating from across the Tasman, after New Zealand regulators issued a warning about the sale of unsafe electrical cables.

MEA Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Richards said New Zealand safety regulators had issued an alert regarding the sale of cable for electrical wiring, which had most likely been imported from China.

Testing had shown the insulation on the cables will become brittle and fracture within a few years of installation, posing a serious risk of fire or electric shock.

He urged Australian Border Force and electrical safety authorities to be on high alert for non-compliant imports, to ensure the New Zealand experience is not repeated here.

“We think Australians have had enough sudden shocks courtesy of our New Zealand friends in recent days.  We certainly don’t need any more,” Mr Richards said.

“The Australian construction industry is still dealing with the fallout from cheap Infinity brand cable being installed in homes and buildings across the country back as far as 2013.  We don’t want any more inferior cable products coming into Australia on the sly.”

Energy Safety New Zealand said the thermos-plastic sheathed (TPS) cable was marked “EESS 150102-0”, was sold in either white or yellow sheathing, and was produced in 2.5 mm2 and 1.5 mm2 sizes.

“We are deeply concerned because this problem looks very similar to the Infinity Cables issue from several years ago,” Mr Richards said.

“It would be deeply concerning if the same factory was pumping out the same product under a different brand, and trying to find a market here in Australia.

“Even worse, it may be some of the Infinity Cable that was recalled now being rebadged and resold under a new name.

“Either way, we urged Customs officials to scrutinise very closely the paperwork associated with any imported electrical cable, and to be absolutely sure that imports are going to comply with our tough laws.

“We also urge contractors only to source their products through reputable wholesalers, and for consumers to leave the electrical work to the experts,

“By working together, industry, consumers and regulators can ensure there is no market for dodgy products in Australia.”

Malcolm Richards is available for interview. Please phone The SAS Group on 07 3221 9222.

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