Prosecutions of non-licensed work
An important part of the Board's functions is to prosecute non-authorised persons who carry out prescribed electrical work. Holding those persons to account in the courts ensures that the public are protected from illegal work as well as ensuring that the value of electrical workers' licenses is maintained.
The Board receives a number of complaints each year and, on average, proceeds with about 8-12 prosecutions a year. In a number of cases there is insufficient evidence or the Board elects to issue a warning rather than prosecuting. However, if there is strong evidence that an unlicensed person has been carrying out prescribed electrical work for reward the Board invariably prosecutes.
There are a range of offences under the Electricity Act that the Board can pursue. These range from falsely claiming to be licensed or registered to the most common offence of carrying out prescribed electrical work (PEW) when not authorised. The Board can also prosecute a person for employing a person to carry out PEW.
The fines for carrying out illegal prescribed electrical work are substantial. Individuals can be fined up to $50,000 and corporations up to $250,000. A court usually orders that a high percentage of the fine be paid to the Board.
The Board and electrical workers are fortunate that funding to investigate and prosecute persons who carry out illegal work comes from an electricity levy and not from licence fees.
To be successful in pursuing those who carry out illegal prescribed electrical work the Board needs the support of electrical workers. The Board can only deal with those matters that come to its attention so all electrical workers are encouraged to report any suspected illegal activity to it. The easy way to do this is to use the Report A Cowboy App. The App can be downloaded at www.pgdb.co.nz.