Deadly Cable Still in Thousands of Homes

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015
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Faulty cable products which could cause deadly fires or electric shocks remain in tens of thousands of homes and business across Australia despite massive efforts to recall the product over more than a year, Australia’s leading consumer regulator has warned.

In a new update, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) said 62 per cent of the almost 4,000 kilometres worth of Infinity cable products which were installed in 40,000 homes and businesses around the country between 2010 and 2013 had yet to be remediated. The ACCC has warned electricians and building contractors who knowingly installed these products that they are putting lives in jeopardy where they fail to inform clients of the need to have this done.

“Electricians and builders have an obligation to inform the home owners and businesses where they worked that their electrical installations are unsafe and non-compliant,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

Rickard said suppliers were meeting the cost associated with the recall and that electricians should contact suppliers of any of the cables they installed in order to seek assistance.

She added that state and territory regulators were issuing rectification orders where contractors had installed products but were ignoring the problem.

“It would be far better for electricians to be on the front foot and schedule this work rather than waiting to see if a regulator contacts them,” Rickard said. “While they do nothing, they run the risk of a house burning down, or a fellow tradesperson or home owner being electrocuted.”

Supplied by a range of retailers throughout the country between 2010 and 2013, cable supplied under the Infinity and Olsent brands from the now liquidated Infinity Cable Co Pty Ltd were found during testing to fail to meet electrical safety standards due to poor quality insulation (plastic coating).

During the testing, the insulation was found to degrade and become brittle prematurely, meaning physical contact with the cable could dislodge the insulation and potentially cause fire.

Despite around $80 million having been spent on a nationwide recall as far back as August last year, only 686 kilometres out of the 3,900 kilometres supplied has been remediated, replaced or recovered. Remediation is scheduled for a further 787 kilometres.

That leaves an estimated 2,429 kilometres worth of outstanding product remaining in homes and businesses.

Rickard encourages all homeowners who had electrical cable installations carried out between April 2010 and October 2013 to have the work inspected by an electrician.

She said electricians can expect to the contacted through the licensing schemes in their respective states and territories, who will advise them on their legal obligations.

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