Air­con dis­count scheme on ice

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

A STATE gov­ern­ment green scheme en­abling fam­i­lies buy­ing high-ef­fi­ciency air­con­di­tion­ers a dis­count of up to $1000 has been tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended af­ter an au­dit found elec­tri­cal wiring breaches by in­stall­ers.

An­nounced in De­cem­ber, the en­ergy-sav­ing sweet­ener was de­signed to re­duce the load on the elec­tric­ity sys­tem while also promis­ing to cut house­hold power bills.

An es­ti­mated 850 cus­tomers took part in the pro­gram, re­ceiv­ing dis­counts of be­tween $200-$1000 to­talling around $390,000. How­ever, it can be re­vealed the scheme was put on hold in mid-Septem­ber af­ter con­cerns some in­stall­ers did not com­ply with up­dated elec­tri­cal wiring rules that came into ef­fect in Jan­uary.

A Plan­ning In­dus­try and En­vi­ron­ment Depart­ment spokesman said the de­ci­sion fol­lowed a pre­lim­i­nary au­dit in June, which un­cov­ered “sev­eral in­stances” of non­com­pli­ance by the in­stall­ers fol­low­ing the up­date of wiring rules.

Fair Trad­ing NSW was con­tacted, with the agency ad­vis­ing there were no safety rea­sons to re­quire ur­gent re­me­di­a­tion or ad­vice to those af­fected.

Air­con­di­tion­ers in­stalled prior to 1 Jan­uary 2019 do not need resid­ual cur­rent de­vices, and, if an air con­di­tioner was be­ing re­placed with a “like for like” ap­pli­ance, there was also no re­quire­ment for a resid­ual cur­rent de­vice, the spokesman said. “Nev­er­the­less, the NSW Gov­ern­ment takes com­pli­ance is­sues very se­ri­ously,” he said.

“The depart­ment im­me­di­ately sus­pended the roll out to deal with the is­sue and de­velop a plan to rem­edy the non­com­pli­ance for ex­ist­ing in­stal­la­tions.

“The Depart­ment is prepar­ing an in­spec­tion and rec­ti­fi­ca­tion process to en­sure ex­ist­ing par­tic­i­pants of the pro­gram are given the op­por­tu­nity to have their air con­di­tioner brought up to the new stan­dard.”

The pro­gram would re­main on hold un­til the is­sue was ad­dressed, he said.

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