Australian Capital Territory (ACT) electrical retail company B and J Finnigan Pty Ltd (trading as A1 Electrical) was found to have engaged in 14 different acts of fraudulent behaviour between March and July 2019. The company submitted compliance paperwork that falsely recorded sole director Bradley Finnigan as the responsible installer of solar systems despite him being overseas at the time.
In sentencing the ACT Magistrate fined the company $9,000, down from $12,000, due to its early guilty plea. Bradley Finnigan also had his Clean Energy Council (CEC) accreditation cancelled for a period of 12 months.
Clean Energy Regulator (CER) general manager of compliance, Piet Powell, said the actions of A1 Electrical represented a clear regulatory breach.
“The company provided Small-scale Technology Certificate (STC) assignment forms to an agent who then relied on that information to create 429 STCs valued at over $15,000,” she said.
“Each STC assignment form falsely recorded Bradley Finnigan as the responsible CEC accredited installer, despite him being overseas and entirely incapable of doing so.
“We expect all information provided to us to be true and correct, and we have zero tolerance for wilful fraud or non-compliance.”
Powell said that compliance is a top priority for the Clean Energy Regulator.
“The Clean Energy Regulator is committed to ensuring businesses and consumers can have confidence in Australia’s solar industry,” she said. “Solar industry participants are reminded that any fraudulent behaviour is treated seriously and may face criminal, civil or administrative action.”
In December 2021, amendments to the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001 passed into law. The amendments address the Australian government’s response to the recommendations made in the CER’s Integrity Review of the Rooftop Solar PV Sector, and importantly, provide the regulator additional powers to disqualify installers and designers, retailers and components from participating in the SRES.