$40,000 fine for unlicensed electrician over illegal electrical work

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Wednesday, 26 April, 2023 - 12:45
Incidents & prosecutions

A sole trader in Queensland has been fined $40,000 for performing unlicensed electrical contracting and unsafe electrical work.

The defendant recently pleaded guilty in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court to performing unlicensed electrical contracting and failing to comply with an electrical safety duty.

He performed electrical work to install air-conditioning units at five residential properties in Southeast Queensland between December 2019 and May 2020. During this period, he was actively promoting air conditioning installation services on social media.

The installations were not electrically safe and exposed individuals to a risk of death or serious injury.

The Electrical Safety Office (ESO) received a complaint regarding work conducted by the defendant and commenced an investigation resulting in the prosecution.

The court heard that on 2 February 2020, the defendant was issued with an electrical work training permit which was restricted to refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. He never held any other class of Queensland electrical work licence. The electrical work training permit did not permit him to perform any electrical installation work.

In handing down the penalty this week, Magistrate Howden said that the defendant had overstepped the mark and went beyond what he was authorised to do, noting it was fortunate no damage or injuries were sustained.

Magistrate Howden fined the sole trader $40,000, with court costs of $1,641.40. No conviction was recorded.

The fine was a strong warning to anyone thinking about doing unlicensed electrical work, said Donna Heelan, head of the ESO.

“This is a reminder for consumers too that there are unlicensed people advertising for electrical work using various internet platforms,” Heelan said.

“The ESO is targeting these activities and urges homeowners to be vigilant because unlicensed electrical work is dangerous, unlawful, and puts lives and property at risk.”

Heelan said anyone getting electrical work done should ask the provider of services for a copy of a valid electrical contractor’s licence or do a check of the ESO licensing database.