Tom Koutsantonis, Minister for Energy and Mining, has issued a warning to electrical installers in South Australia that could face fines or worse for peddling misinformation, after claims customers have been told they must have all their household gas appliances removed if they change from a gas to electrical water heater.
Customers have made claims to radio presenter, Matthew Pantelis, on FIVEaa this week that installers have told them if they change to an electric hot water service they must also disconnect all other gas connections to the property, allegedly citing State Government law.
Mr Koutsantonis has reassured there is no such law in South Australia.
“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.” Mr Koutsantonis said.
The only requirement when changing a heated water service from gas to electric when gas is reticulated to the property, is that the replacement electric heated water unit would need to be a ‘Low emission’ unit.
The Government is concerned to hear multiple reports of various operators telling customers it was a government requirement to remove all gas appliances from their property and change to electric alternatives – at considerable cost.
The Minister urges anyone who is given this information to contact the Office of the Technical Regulator on 1300 760 311 or email@example.com and report it – to will ensure that any operators spreading such misinformation are dealt with.
A $315 fine (plus the victim of crime levy) applies for performing non-compliant work.
However, there are a range of civil and criminal penalties that apply for breaches of the Australian Consumer Law ranging between $2,500,000 and $50,000,000.
Moreover, the Office of Consumer Business Affairs maintains a public list that ‘names and shames’ dodgy contractors. Contractors that make false claims of this type are at risk of being added to that list or even licence revocation.
“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.” the Minister added.