Fire risk for homes and businesses with inferior electric cabling

Some WA homes and business premises may be facing a serious fire risk if they have had sub-standard electrical cabling installed which is not replaced soon.

In August last year, the inferior cabling imported by Infinity Cable Co Pty Ltd (in liquidation) was the subject of a national recall, with about 40,000 homes and businesses believed to be affected throughout Australia.

The cabling does not meet Australian electrical safety standards due to poor quality plastic insulation which will start to deteriorate from next year, exposing homes and businesses to a high risk of electrical fire or exposing occupants to electric shock.

All sizes and configurations of Infinity brand flat white cable and orange round Infinity mains power cables, as well as Olsent brand power cables sourced from Infinity, are affected. In WA, the cables were sold between March 2012 and October 2013 by Masters Home Improvement and John Danks & Sons trading as Home Timber & Hardware, Plants Plus and Thrifty-Link Hardware.

EnergySafety’s Director of Electricity Compliance Michael Bunko said that since the recall many inspections and some replacements have been carried out in WA but more needs to be done.

“There are dozens of other homes and business premises which may have the dangerous cabling installed which have yet to be inspected, which is a major concern to us,” Mr Bunko said.

“Owners of homes or business premises that were built in 2012 and 2013, or those who may have had renovations or any electrical work carried out in that time, should contact their builders, electrical contractors or appliance installers to determine the brand of electrical cabling used. Any Infinity cable that has been installed will be replaced free of charge to consumers.

“Owners who are unsure who installed the cables, or are unable to contact them, should get a licensed electrician to inspect the cabling. In this situation, if faulty cabling has been used the inspection cost may be reimbursed. If the cabling is not found to be faulty, the cost won’t be reimbursed but it will be a small price to pay for peace of mind.

“Licensed electrical contractors who know or suspect they have purchased and installed these cables should confirm this with their cable supplier.  If confirmed, they should contact the clients involved and offer to inspect the cables used. If sub-standard cabling is found to have been used, the contractor should offer to replace the cables with a complying brand.

“The cables will age at different rates subject to ambient temperature and may become brittle from 2016 onwards, so there is urgency that they be replaced as soon as possible.”

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard advises consumers who are having difficulty getting a resolution of the issue through their electrical contractors can seek assistance from Consumer Protection.

Building Commissioner Peter Gow said building companies should check with their electrical contractors to determine if Infinity cable was used in the construction of their homes or commercial premises.

“If it is determined that Infinity cabling was used in their construction or renovation projects, builders should ensure that the cabling is replaced,” Mr Gow said.

For general enquiries on this issue, contact: EnergySafety on 6251 1900 or (for electrical contractors); Consumer Protection – 1300 30 40 54 or (for consumers) or Building Commission on 1300 48 90 99 or (for builders).

Media Contact:  Caroline De Vaney 0408 927 563

Building and Energy
Media release
17 Jun 2015

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