Today, peak Australian electrical industry body, the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), welcomed a decision by the NSW Government to conduct further safety inspections of solar panels installed under the solar bonus scheme.
NSW Fair Trading announced it would conduct further safety inspections after an audit found some installations in northern NSW were seriously flawed and dangerous.
NECA’s NSW chief executive, Mr Lindsay Le Compte, said the electrical industry has had concerns about dangerous solar panel installations since the program commenced.
“NECA has had concerns for some time about the potential for dangerous installations and the industry welcomes the announcement by the Government to conduct further safety inspections,” Mr Le Compte said.
NECA expressed concerns to the former Government because there appeared to be solar panel installations being conducted by people without an electrical licence and that this could cause problems if the right checks or supervision requirements were not enforced.
“NECA advised the former government of our concerns that installation businesses appeared to be operating in the marketplace that were not licensed, were not complying with their contractual responsibilities under the Home Building Act, were not offering home warranty insurance and were taking excessive deposits”.
“I’m sure there are many installers who did the right thing but we need to make sure there are no dangers hiding on rooftops.”
NECA represents over 5000 electrical contracting businesses in Australia and was also the first organisation to warn the Australian Government about possible dangers with the Home Insulation Program. NECA has called on the need for greater industry consultation before government programs are implemented.
“When governments are implementing programs that involve electricity and electrical installations it is important to consult the experts in the industry. NECA is happy to provide the expert advice to ensure we don’t see another insulation debacle.
“NECA is working with the new government and Fair Trading to ensure only licensed electrical contractors are used to install solar panels and to rectify any dangerous installations indentified as part of the safety audit,” Mr Le Compte said.
NECA also provides on its website www.neca.asn.au a Find an Electrician service where consumers are able to locate a range of NECA’s licensed contractors in their area to assist with installations.