Electrical installers peddling misinformation to people wanting to switch from gas to electric hot water

Electrical installers slammed for misleading consumers about gas laws.

The South Australian State Government has slammed electrical installers who they say have been peddling misinformation to customers who want to replace their gas water heaters with electric alternatives.

“I am appalled to hear reports that South Australians seeking to switch over to electric hot water are being told they must also remove all their other gas appliances – at exorbitant cost – under the false guise of state government red tape,” the Minister for Energy and Mining, Tom Koutsantonis said in a statement.

The Minister says there is no such law in South Australia and installers could face fines “or worse.”

There are a range of civil and criminal penalties that apply for breaches of the Australian Consumer Law. For unfair practices such as false and misleading representations, bait advertising and wrongfully accepting payment, a body corporate can be fined up to $50,000,000. An individual can face up to$2,500,000.

The Minister also advised that the Office of Consumer Business Affairs maintains a public list that ‘names and shames’ dodgy contractors. Contractors that make false claims risk being added to the list or having their licences revoked.

“I am warning operators that we will fine, name and shame or even ban companies that engage in this type of conduct. Ultimately, the South Australian Government has the power to prosecute these dodgy contractors," the Minister said.

"So my message to these operators is clear – if you are trying to take advantage of South Australians who are just trying to switch over to electric hot water, you will pay the price.”

It is not clear how extensive the practice of electrical installers misinforming customers is. A commercial radio station in Adelaide, FIVEaa, has been airing the claims, and it’s understood the Minister's statement is in response to those claims.

In his statement the Minister referred people to the Office of the Technical Regulator to make a formal complaint about the practice. However, a spokesperson for the Minister confirmed that the Office has not yet received any formal complaints.

If you are aware of electrical installers misinforming customers about replacing gas appliances, you can also contact us at switchedon@reneweconomy.com.au

Anne Delaney
SwitchedOn Editor
June 24, 2024
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