RON Tomlin is still struggling to work out why all of a sudden his home and others in the Bay and Basin area are no long compliant with an electricity provider.
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Mr Tomlin was told in person and in writing that his home does not meet Endeavour Energy’s occupational and health and safety compliant standards.
An extension to the St Georges Basin property made in 1993 now means the house is not compliant.
“Well the building inspector approved the extension and the electricity was originally connected to the house in about 1970,” he said.
“So it has been a long-standing dwelling.”
Now all of a sudden the connection is deemed to be unsafe.
“The occupational health and safety regulations say an electrician cannot go up on one roof and put a ladder up to a second roof to disconnect your electricity,” he said.
I said ‘why would you put a ladder alongside the house when it’s on fire?- Ron Tomlin
To abide by the regulations he had to pay and install a small power pole in front of his house.
Such work does not come cheap and he is not the only person facing this situation.
His neighbour is facing the same issue and Mr Tomlin heard of people being quoted $4500 to get the work done.
“Now if the electricity needs to be disconnected they can go up this pole,” Mr Tomlin said.
“One electrician told me if there was a fire, without the new pole, it would be difficult to get up there and put a ladder against your house.
“I said ‘why would you put a ladder alongside the house when it’s on fire?”
When a letter arrived in the mail saying what was needed Mr Tomlin, even though he had spoken to an inspector, thought something was odd.
“I thought it was a scam,” he said.
“With the lapse of time that had gone by since the original electricity was put on the place I can see no reason why it does not abide by these rules.
“It’s a paltry excuse really.”
Mr Tomlin said he saw and spoke to an inspector who was going around looking at all the power poles and tapping them for signs termites.
“When he came to me I said to him ‘you don’t need to tap that one over there because it’s concrete’,” he said.
“He said ‘yeah I don't but I do have to give you a ticket because your house does not meet our occupational health and safety requirements’.
“I can see the inspector was just doing his job and was told get out there and look to see if every house complied with the rules and regulations.”
Since he had to get the work done he has noticed lots of other houses in the surrounding villages are in similar situations.
“I appreciate that safety is a big thing for any workers and I think the reasons given, not by Endeavour Energy, but by an electrician who has given me quotes are fair,” he said
“One electrician said ‘if a child climbed onto the extension’s roof get to a ball they could touch the wires’.
“However, he would have to be a very tall kid to touch does wires.”
He added given the slope of the roof means the “ball” would not end up in the gutter, not the on roof.
Residents what to know why this is happening and why is it happening now?
To keep the community safe, Endeavour Energy inspects overhead power lines up to customers’ main switchboard every four and a half years to identify defects on power poles, conductors, pole-top fittings and tree clearances.
The Point of Attachment (POA) is where overhead conductors are terminated on a customer’s property. As it belongs to the property owner, they are responsible for its safety and maintenance, although many customers are not aware of this.
The Service and Installation Rules for New South Wales cover the requirements for the connection of homes and businesses to electricity networks. These Rules require customers’ POA to be accessible from the ground unimpeded by balconies, awnings, carports or other structures.
Where a POA is unable to be accessed in accordance with the Rules, the customer needs to engage the services of a suitably accredited private electrical contractor to bring their property into line with current standards.
We strongly recommend all customers who have received a notice to obtain multiple quotes to determine the going market rate for safely completing the work.
What happens if people cannot afford to pay for the work?
Customers can contact Endeavour Energy on 133 718 if they wish to be assessed for eligibility to our hardship program. If eligible, we provide interest free payment plans to have the work completed.
What will happen to the homeowners if they don’t get the work done?
If Endeavour Energy cannot access a customer’s POA, we would be unable to complete repairs and restore power supply if their service line were damaged. We believe it is better for customers to bring the POA up to current standards in a planned way rather than making emergency repairs after a storm or bushfire had damaged their service line.
Is Endeavour being over diligent?
No. Our highest priority is the safety of the public and our people and we strive to make sure people are not harmed. Endeavour Energy must apply the current standards within the rules when undertaking routine inspections.
Residents say Endeavour should focus their energies on finding a way to reduce power costs. So should Endeavour focus their energies on finding a way to reduce power costs?
We are committed to running our business as efficiently as possible so we can continue to pass on savings to customers.
Since 2012-13, Endeavour Energy’s customers have paid the lowest network charges in NSW due to a long term, organisation-wide efficiency program.
Our network charges are now $75 less than in 2012-13, and make up about 30% of the average residential customers’ electricity bill.
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