Unregistered Auckland electrical workers fined over $6,000 each for unauthorised prescribed electrical work

Published: 19 June 2020

In separate hearings held at the North Shore District Court, two unregistered persons from Auckland have been sentenced for carrying out unauthorised prescribed electrical work (PEW).

Naveen Kumaran and Duncan Bennett were fined $6,750 and $7,650 respectively and ordered to pay court costs and solicitor’s costs after they both pleaded guilty to the charges of performing unauthorised PEW and holding themselves out as registered electricians under the Electricity Act 1992.

Mr Bennett also pleaded guilty to doing work in a manner dangerous to life and has been ordered to pay $1,417 reparation to the homeowner. The work included the installation of a spa pool and relocation of power points during a renovation, which was later found to be electrically unsafe and posed a danger to life.

The Electrical Workers Registration Board (EWRB) laid charges against Mr Bennett after receiving a complaint about electrical work that he had carried out involving the installation of a heat pump at a property in Auckland. Following the completion of this installation, the homeowner had asked Mr Bennett if he was a registered electrician; he said that he was and returned to the house at least seven times to carry out prescribed electrical work while unsupervised, unlicensed and not registered. The homeowner had originally hired Mr Bennett after seeing an advertisement on Facebook.

Mr Bennett had previously held a Limited Certificate with the EWRB on two occasions, which would have permitted him to carry out PEW when supervised by a licensed electrical worker. At the time he carried out the work, his Limited Certificate had expired, and he was not authorised to undertake PEW.

When sentencing Mr Bennett, Judge Glubb said “It was not a one-off. You continued to do electrical work in the full knowledge that you were not qualified to do so.”

Registrar of Electrical Workers Duncan Connor stated “having previously held a Limited Certificate Mr Bennett would have had full knowledge of what electrical work he can or cannot do.

“The aim of regulating electrical workers is to ensure that those performing prescribed electrical work are properly trained in order to avoid electrical hazards and to protect the safety of consumers.

“Anyone engaging an electrical worker should check the public register of licensed electrical workers(external link) and ask to see their licence card before hiring them.”

In Mr Kumaran’s case, he advertised his ability to carry out electrical and maintenance work in the New Zealand Herald. After engaging Mr Kumaran to install lights and switches at an address in Browns Bay, the homeowners had concerns with the work and, on investigation, they found out that Mr Kumar was not a registered electrician authorised to carry out the work and reported this to the EWRB. 

Mr Kumaran has previously been charged for similar offending. He was found guilty on 19 August 2016 of two charges of doing prescribed electrical work, and one charge of holding himself out to be a registered electrical worker.

Mr Connor says “Pretending to be a registered electrical worker and carrying out PEW is not only deceitful, it’s highly dangerous for everyone involved.

“All complaints about unregistered electrical workers are taken seriously and investigated by the Electrical Workers Registration Board, who will not hesitate in holding people to account”.

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