According to Master Electricians Australia (MEA), Western Power has dumped its bungled electricity connection scheme in the ‘too hard’ basket, with home owners and small businesses set to suffer as a result.
MEA WA State Manager Anthony Mancini explained that Western Power had failed to offer any new accreditation training to contractors since August last year, after it was forced to update its procedures following damning audit recommendations.
According to Mr Mancini, the blanket rejection of any new Contractor Connect training in the last eight months is now beginning to jeopardise the entire electricity connection process, ultimately leaving WA home owners in limbo because local contractors do not have enough accredited staff to complete power connections.
With the responsibility for completing new electricity connections to fall entirely on Western Power, delays may occur and Western Power linepersons will be unable to cope with demand when new housing connection volumes rise.
Mr Mancini commented that Western Power’s inability to create a new training scheme for Contractor Connect and their failure to provide a date for its recommencement has left many business owners in WA with major work demand issues and unable to engage new operatives.
Many contractors have also dropped off the scheme as the new audit requirements have become too tedious, and the connection process has fallen back to Western Power. Contractors had previously connected up to 70% of all installations resulting in consumers having immediate power.
Mr Mancini added that MEA had raised its concerns over the scheme with Western Power, and despite promises that industry would be consulted over any re-development of the Contractor Connect scheme, no consultation has occurred to date.
Feedback from members in WA has showed this issue has taken a huge financial toll on their businesses.
MEA is currently in the process of bringing this matter to the Minister’s office.