Court issues $40,000 fines for rooftop solar licence-sharing scheme

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Western Australian electrical regulator Building and Energy has shut down a licence-sharing scheme after two companies and their directors pleaded guilty in Perth Magistrates Court earlier this month to offences under the state’s electricity licensing regulations.

The offences included a company misrepresenting itself as a licensed electric contractor, unauthorised electrical safety certificates, and electric contractors who allowed use of their licences for the certificates when they had no involvement in the work.

Under the regulations, only a licensed electrical contractor can execute electrical safety certificates or notices of completion for work done by its own employees.

Perth-headquartered Jafal Brothers Pty Ltd was fined $12,500 for misrepresenting itself as an electrical contractor, which included receiving payments and issuing invoices for electrical work carried out by its director Rohit Kumar Jafal.

Prosecutors for Building and Energy told the court Jafal was a licensed electrical worker who carried out electrical installing work for Jafal Brothers, which traded as WA A1 Electrical but was not a licensed electrical contractor.

Jafal was fined $5,000 for lodging 25 unauthorised electrical safety certificates through Building and Energy’s eNotice system. The certificates related to solar installations he carried out for Jafal Brothers in several Perth suburbs as well as Mandurah and Bunbury.

Jafal lodged 23 certificates that falsely identified Tanway Engineering Pty Ltd as the electrical contractor responsible for his work, even though he was not employed by that business.

Tanway Engineering was fined $12,500 for its part in the enterprise while Sukujohn Tharakan, the company’s sole director, was fined $5,000 for allowing Jafal to lodge the improper certificates.

A third man was fined $3,500 in April after pleading guilty to allowing Jafal to use his electrical contractor licence to lodge two electrical safety certificates when he had not employed Jafal for either project. He is not named due to a spent conviction.

Western Australia’s Director of Energy Safety, Saj Abdoolakhan, said the licence-sharing scheme misled consumers and created a false chain of responsibility that could have jeopardised safety and liability.

“One person was effectively carrying on an independent electrical installing business despite not holding the required electrical contractor licence,” he said. “This is illegal, dangerous and an affront to honest contractors who have diligently obtained this credential.”

“Two electrical contractors then allowed misuse of their details on official documents for work carried out by an entirely separate business.”

All five defendants were ordered to pay $272.70 each in costs.

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