Minister Rabbitte moves to increase electrical safety in the home

Energy Minister, Pat Rabbitte, has today brought a motion to the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications, the aim of which is to increase electrical safety in domestic property. It follows on from the Minister’s approval to draft regulations on Restricted Electrical Works, which the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) prepared following a public consultation. 

According to the Minister “Simple but fatal accidents can happen in all walks of life, but when they happen in one’s own home because of faulty workmanship they are all the more tragic. The motion I have brought to the Committee today will mean that the electrics in domestic property should be safer and the risk of tragic accidents should be minimised. In essence, it will mean that any works relating to the distribution board (or fuse board) in a domestic setting, will have to be carried out by a Registered Electrical Contractor and the work will have to be certified.”

Electrical installations, if not properly maintained, can kill. In Ireland, on average, approximately three people every year are killed from contact with electricity. That number includes commercial/industrial premises and overhead lines but does not include people killed as a result of fires caused by electricity. This move is designed to protect the safety of consumers in the home. It follows a public consultation process by the CER who are the body responsible for regulating electrical contractors in Ireland. Minor works such as changing switches, sockets or light fittings are not covered by this regulation as they are not seen as a significant safety risk to the consumer.

The Minister concluded “This regulation is designed to protect the safety of consumers in the home and has my full support. It will mean that it will be illegal for anyone other than a Registered Electrical Contractor to complete most electrical work in a domestic setting. The motion today is to satisfy a statutory requirement requiring a formal resolution in both Houses of the Oireachtas to approve the Regulations. Once the motions are approved the Commission for Energy Regulation will proceed to implement the Statutory Instrument. I understand that the CER will begin a media campaign later on in the year to inform the public of these changes.”