Electricians urged not to re-energise switchboards
The Victorian Government has introduced new legislation under the Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021, mandating that all rental property switchboards are fitted with safety switches from 29 March 2023.
With upgrades already being carried out across the state, Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has reminded electrical workers upgrading rental properties to ensure switchboards are not energised before the work is inspected by a licensed electrical inspector — a requirement under the Electricity Safety Act 1998.
“Switchboards must remain de-energised after replacement work has been carried out so that an inspector can certify the work as safe and ensure it is compliant to the electrical standards,” said ESV Commissioner and Chairperson Marnie Williams.
Unfortunately, ESV has already identified a number of instances where switchboards have been re-energised before an inspection was completed. This may pose a serious safety risk potentially leading to house fires, electric shock and electrocution if safety defects go undetected.
The safety body urged electrical workers to arrange for an inspector to attend on the same day to reduce inconvenience for tenants waiting for the power to be turned back on.
ESV has also called on tenants to ensure their rental providers have installed safety switches. If not, rental providers should employ a registered electrical contractor to carry out the work, and not try to do it themselves, to ensure it is carried out correctly and safely.
Safety switches protect people from electric shock. Each year around 15 people across Australia are killed in incidents that could have been prevented by a safety switch, while a further 300 are hospitalised due to electricity-related injuries.
For more information, visit: esv.vic.gov.au.
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