New South Wales (NSW) Fair Trading revoked the licences of seven electricians after investigations by the agency’s disciplinary action unit found they had signed and submitted compliance certificates (CCEWs) for solar installations despite not having carried out, supervised, or inspected the installations themselves.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Natasha Mann said the contractor licences were cancelled by the state government department’s Disciplinary Action Unit (DAU) between March and August. Each of the electricians was also disqualified from working in the NSW building industry for varying periods of time.
In one of the cases, the individual signed off on 161 solar panel installations that were carried out across NSW while he was interstate.
“The man took advantage of the Commonwealth Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme and received tens of thousands in government rebates for installations that he did not install or inspect himself,” she said.
He was one of six of the electricians who were either interstate or overseas on the dates listed on the certificates. The seventh contractor was in Sydney instead of at the job sites in regional NSW.
“We are warning NSW consumers who are getting solar panels installed to check that the person on the roof attending to the wiring is a licensed electrician with the credentials required to work in this state and carry out solar panel installations,” Mann said.
Mann said in NSW the tradesperson installing a solar panel on any site should to be able to show the customer a contractor licence in the category of Electrician and a Clean Energy Council (CEC) accreditation.
CEC provisions require solar installers wishing to claim government rebates to provide a visual record of site attendance across the life of eligible projects.
The announcement by NSW Fair Trading comes after the Clean Energy Regulator (CER) confirmed it had executed search warrants on several residential and commercial addresses connected to a Perth-based solar PV retail and installation business as part of an investigation into a potential $1.5 million solar panel fraud.
The CER said on Friday that a Western Australian solar PV company is under investigation for allegedly fabricating information about the responsible installer and designer of the almost 500 solar panel installations.
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