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    Dodgy electrical cables that put homes at risk recalled by ACCC

    Geraldine Chua

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has recalled non-conforming electrical cabling that were sold through major hardware stores and fitted in an estimated 40,000 homes and businesses across the country.

    The recall followed after testing found that cables supplied by Infinity Cable Co Pty Ltd did not meet electrical safety standards (AS/NZS 5000), which could cause the cables to break and cause a fire. It applies to all sizes and configurations of TPS and Orange Round mains power cables, supplied under the ‘INFINITY’ and ‘OLSENT’ brands. Infinity Cable is currently in liquidation.

    “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,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

    According to chief executive of the Australian Industry (Ai) Group Innes Willox, the national recall will cost tens of millions of dollars, and is another example of the risks to the community of non-conforming products.

    The news comes less than a month after a random survey found that nine similar, commercially available insulated flexible duct products in Australia do not comply with mandatory energy efficiency performance standards.

    The Ai Group stated in a release:

    “Ai Group supports the ACCC’s action which involves replacing accessible installed cable in an estimated 40,000 homes and businesses. The ACCC and other regulatory agencies involved in the recall are acting responsibly to prevent the much more serious problems that would arise from deteriorating electrical insulation – such as much higher risks of fire and electrical accidents in homes and buildings over the coming years,” Mr Willox said.

    Enforcement of standards and regulations is a part of the conformance framework that is seldom applied to general building and construction products. As long as there is a significant presence of non-conforming products in the Australian building and construction market, consumers, employees and businesses will continue to face risks including around safety, business sustainability and long-term asset values.

    Ai Group’s recently published report – “The quest for a level playing field: The non-conforming building products dilemma” – revealed the widespread use of non-conforming products across the building and construction sector. This report specifically highlighted concerns that sub-standard cable and other non-conforming building products could jeopardise consumer and employee safety, detract from long-term asset values; and impact negatively on Australian businesses.”

    A taskforce of consumer agencies, building regulators and electrical safety regulators are currently co-ordinating the safety recall. The ACCC has also advised that although the recalled cables do not pose an immediate threat, they will become brittle far more easily than compliant cables. It also asks homeowners not to inspect the cables, but to contact a licensed electrician to do so.

    The Infinity cables were supplied in all states and territories except the Northern Territory. The recall covers the following suppliers:

    NSW 2010 – 2013
    Masters Home Improvement; John Danks & Sons (trading as Home Timber & Hardware, Plants Plus and Thrifty-Link Hardware); Mitre 10; Pioneer Electrical Supplies; Salmon Bros. Data and Electrical; United Electrical and Data Supplies; Alliance Electrical Wholesalers; Sydney Electrical Wholesalers; Ramax Electrical Wholesalers; Network Electrical Supplies; Go Electrical; Advanced Electrical Wholesalers, EZLEC Trade Supplies & Project Lighting

    ACT 2011 – 2013
    Masters Home Improvement; Project Lighting & Popes Electrical and Data Supplies

    Vic 2012 – 2013
    Masters Home Improvement; John Danks & Sons (trading as Home Timber & Hardware, Plants Plus and Thrifty-Link Hardware); Mitre 10 & Go Electrical

    Qld 2012 – 2013
    Masters Home Improvement; Mitre 10 & HEM Queensland

    SA Mar 2012 – Oct 2013
    Masters Home Improvement; John Danks & Sons (trading as Home Timber & Hardware, Plants Plus and Thrifty-Link Hardware)& Mitre 10

    WA Mar 2012 – Sep 2013
    Masters Home Improvement & John Danks & Sons (trading as Home Timber & Hardware, Plants Plus and Thrifty-Link Hardware)

    Tas Jan 2013 – Oct 2013
    John Danks & Sons (trading as Home Timber & Hardware, Plants Plus and Thrifty-Link Hardware) & Mitre 10

    The cables were also supplied in smaller quantities by a number of other smaller suppliers. Individual State and ACT agencies are in contact with those suppliers and recall arrangements will be announced separately.

    Click HERE for more information.

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