Residents returning to bushfire-ravaged areas have been urged to use local and qualified tradespeople for electrical safety checks and fixes to avoid being scammed.
Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has established a free hotline for residents affected by bushfires to help prevent dodgy scammers taking them for a ride.
Licensed electricians in bushfire-affected areas have also been urged to register their details with Master Electricians Australia so that they can recommend their services.
“We see this sort of thing following every natural disaster – groups preying on people in areas that have been affected by offering services that are always too good to be true,’’ MEA CEO Malcolm Richards said.
Mr Richards warned residents to be wary of anyone offering free electrical safety checks or cut-price electrical work.
“We’re establishing a national hotline number of 1300 889 198 for returning residents to call to check the bona-fides of electricians they are considering engaging or if they want help to find a qualified electrician,’’ Mr Richards said.
“Often people are unaware of the need to conduct an electrical safety check following an event like a bushfire but even homes partially heat-damaged can suffer damage to wiring.’’
Mr Richards said a common scam involved offering free electricity checks for homes, which then end up costing money for work that could potentially cause a fatality.
“We’re advising residents only to use their local qualified and insured trades people for anything to do with electricity in the home,’’ Mr Richards said.
“It’s important residents or homeowners realise that electrical work in the home is work that must be done by licensed electricians. Paying for this service ensures local businesses and the local community get back on their feet as soon as possible.’’
Residents returning to bushfire-ravaged areas can get help to find a licensed electrician by calling 1300 889 198. Licensed electricians can register their details on the same number.