Western Australian home and business owners are being urged to contact their builders or electrical contractors to determine the brand of electrical cabling installed in homes or business premises following a national safety recall of Infinity brand cables which don’t comply with Australian safety standards.
EnergySafety advises licensed electrical contractors who know or suspect they have purchased and installed these cables should confer with their cable supplier to ascertain whether they had supplied these cables. Replacement cables will be a commercial matter between the contractor and supplier. Contractors should then check their records of jobs, contact the clients involved, offer to inspect the cables used and, if they prove to be one of the faulty brands, offer to replace the cables with a complying brand.
The sub-standard cables, imported by Infinity Cable Co Pty Ltd (in liquidation), were sold in WA during 2012 and 2013. All supplies are being recalled after samples failed to meet electrical safety standards due to poor quality plastic insulation coating. It is estimated that about 40,000 homes and businesses throughout Australia may be affected. About 250 kilometres of the cable were sold into the WA market. The average house uses a maximum of 500 metres of electrical cable.
The national recall is being coordinated by a taskforce chaired by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). EnergySafety, Consumer Protection and the Building Commission are working with the taskforce as the WA regulators.
All sizes and configurations of 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 by Masters Home Improvement & John Danks & Sons (trading as Home Timber & Hardware, Plants Plus and Thrifty-Link Hardware).
EnergySafety’s Director of Electricity Compliance Michael Bunko said homes and business premises that were built or had undergone electrical repairs or renovations in 2012 and 2013 must be checked to determine if cabling supplied by the Infinity Cable Co Pty Ltd was used.
“Testing has found that the cables will degrade prematurely and, if the cables are disturbed, the insulation could break and expose live conductors, - resulting in possible electric shock or fires,” Mr Bunko said.
“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.
“Householders and businesses that have had electrical wiring work carried out in 2012 or 2013 need to contact the responsible builder, electrical contractor or appliance installer to confirm whether Infinity cable was used. The cable supplier will arrange for an inspection of the wiring and remediation of any Infinity cable that they supplied, free of charge to consumers.
“Consumers should not attempt to inspect cables themselves. The inspections must be carried out by licensed electrical contractors. Consumers should contact the licenced electrical contractor who did the job or, if unknown, contact another contractor to perform the checks. We believe there is no immediate danger but an inspection should be undertaken as soon as possible.
“Any affected cable installed in accessible areas or near heat sources must be removed and replaced under the safety recall. Suppliers have been asked to assess and work on the oldest or highest risk installations first.
“If you are uncertain if Infinity cable was installed, the cable installer or their supplier should be given the first opportunity to arrange an inspection of your wiring. Inspection costs are not recoverable from cable suppliers if Infinity cable was not installed or if the installer and the supplier cannot be determined.
“Any Infinity cable left installed in appropriate cable conduit or in inaccessible wall, floor or ceiling spaces or embedded into a masonry wall surface must have an appropriate Residual Current Device (RCD), installed and tested on that circuit. In this case, an appropriate warning sticker must be affixed to the relevant electrical metering/switch box alerting building owners and tradespeople to the presence of inaccessible Infinity-sourced cable.
“All stocks of unused or removed Infinity cable must be returned to the cable supplier for destruction and a full refund or replacement.
“This recall serves as a reminder that companies sourcing or accepting products from cheaper overseas suppliers must have quality assurance processes in place to ensure compliance with Australian safety standards.”
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe 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 either replaced or, if it’s inaccessible, an RCD should be installed,” Mr Gow said.
The recall notice can be viewed at www.recalls.gov.au and further information and Frequently Asked Questions are available at www.accc.gov.au. For general enquiries: EnergySafety on 6251 1900 or firstname.lastname@example.org (for electrical contractors); Consumer Protection – 1300 30 40 54 or email@example.com (for consumers) or Building Commission on 1300 48 90 99 or firstname.lastname@example.org (for builders).
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