MASTER Electricians Australia has issued an urgent warning to home owners that they are putting the lives of their loved ones at risk if they use illegal electricians to avoid paying for electricity.
Responding to reports that police are pursuing a group of unlicensed electricians operating illegally in Sydney, Master Electricians Australia CEO Malcolm Richards said homeowners who engaged them were putting themselves in grave danger.
"I cannot be any clearer than this - you will die or your loved ones will die. If you think electricity is expensive now, think about the price that you might pay," Mr Richards said.
"If you pay unlicensed people to illegally bypass your power meter, you also bypass all the devices built into your switchboard to keep you and your property safe. If you have an electrical accident later, your safety switches and circuit breakers won't be able to cut the power.
"In our experience, these dangerous operators also use sub-standard wiring and equipment – including cables that have been recalled by legitimate wholesalers because they have been shown to breakdown over time or melt under extreme loads.
"All together, this presents a very serious risk of electrocution or fire, and of someone you care about getting hurt or killed."
Mr Richards said Master Electricians were increasingly finding illegal and highly dangerous wiring installations when they were working on properties, and he called on regulators to increase penalties for illegal operators and the home owners who engage them.
"We know from recent police reports that this activity has already cost the life of one young tradie, and we can be certain that many more innocent workers will be put at risk by this disgusting behaviour," he said.
"In our view the only way to stop these people selling their dangerous services is to increase penalties for both the people who do the work and those who own or rent the property.
"We need to do everything we can to stop these people putting lives at risk – including the lives of legitimate tradespeople who are later exposed to their dangerous work."