ACCC puts electricians and builders on notice that they must replace unsafe Infinity cables

19 October 2015

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is urging electricians and builders to replace dangerous Infinity electrical cables that were installed in up to 40,000 homes and businesses throughout Australia.

The cables fail to meet safety standards due to poor quality plastic insulation coating. Tests have shown that the cable may become prematurely brittle from 2016 onwards, which could cause fires or electric shock if the cables are then disturbed.

“More than a year after the recall of Infinity cables, 62 per cent of the faulty cables are yet to be remediated, posing a serious and unnecessary risk to community safety,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“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.”

“State and territory regulators can issue rectification orders requiring electricians and builders to replace non-compliant cables, and will do so where Infinity cables are known to have been installed and contractors have simply ignored the problem. Such orders have already been issued and more are expected to follow,” Ms Rickard said.

Infinity Cable & a cross section of cable

Ms Rickard advised electricians to immediately contact the suppliers of Infinity cables they installed to seek assistance with remediating Infinity cables under the supplier’s recall. As outlined in the recalls, electricians should not fear costs as these are being met by their suppliers. If an electrician thinks they bought Infinity cable from a supplier not listed in the recalls they should contact the ACCC.

“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. While they do nothing, they run the risk of a house burning down, or a fellow tradesperson or home owner being electrocuted.”

Licensed electricians can expect further contact via the licensing schemes in their respective states and territories to be advised about their legal obligations and urged to take action now—before it’s too late.

Home owners are also urged to have all electrical cable installations carried out between April 2010 and October 2013 inspected by an electrician. Any Infinity cables that are discovered should be remediated as soon as possible under the supplier’s recall. An inspection can be carried out for as little as $100.

Further information is available on our website

Background

Following the announcement of national recalls of Infinity cables in August 2014, NSW Fair Trading also issued a mandatory recall capturing a further 25 smaller NSW wholesalers in August 2015.

In early 2014, the ACCC formed a taskforce of state and territory electrical safety, building, and consumer affairs regulators to address the problem when the importer of the cables, Infinity Cable Company, liquidated.

The recalls apply to all sizes and configurations of TPS and Orange Round mains power cables sourced from Infinity Cable Co Pty Ltd and supplied under 'INFINITY' and 'OLSENT' brands.

Information received from suppliers as at 12 October 2015 indicates that between recall notifications and that date, the following progress has been made:

  • at least 686 km of cable has been remediated or returned to suppliers
  • three of the smaller suppliers have completed their remediation
  • at least 823 homes have been remediated
  • 787 km of cable has been identified for future remediation
  • remediation has been scheduled in a further 389 premises.

ACCC Data as of 12 October 15

STATE

INSTALLATION PERIOD

KM SUPPLIED

KM REMEDIATED (replaced, rendered safe under the recalls, or returned to stores)

KM RECOVERED FROM WAREHOUSES

KM SCHEDULED FOR FUTURE REMEDIATION

KM OUTSTANDING

% OF CABLE OUTSTANDING

AS A PERCENTAGE OF CABLE SUPPLIED IN THE STATE OR TERRITORY

% OF CABLE ACCOUNTED FOR AS A PERCENTAGE OF CABLE SUPPLIED IN THE STATE OR TERRITORY

PROPERTIES MADE SAFE

NSW

2010-2013

1,849

28

-

-

1821

98

2

169

QLD

2012-2013

680

20

-

-

660

97

3

202

SA

2012-2013

44

0.1

-

-

44

100

0

3

TAS

2013

4

0.1

-

-

4

97

3

1

VIC

2012-2013

910

13

-

-

897

99

1

60

WA

2012-2013

251

0.6

-

-

250

100

0

7

ACT

2011-2013

162

5

-

0.6

157

97

3

195

NT

N/A

N/A

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Unspecified state

-

-

215

403

786

-

-

-

186

TOTAL

-

3900

283

403

787

2429*

-**

38%***

823

* Cable remediated or recovered in unspecified states/territories has been deducted from total km outstanding, as has cable scheduled for future remediation.

** note that % outstanding is a maximum and additional cable may be remediated as part of the unspecified state figures.

*** Includes cable remediated or recovered in unspecified states/territories and cable scheduled for future remediation.

 

Release number: 
MR 197/15
Media enquiries: 
Media team - 1300 138 917

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