March 25, 2014
Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has supported the State Government’s decision to abandon the 8 cent solar feed-in tariff, saying it gives homeowners the opportunity to shop around for the best deal with retailers.
MEA Queensland State Manager Stephen King said new scheme meant most solar users would be able to start to play retailers off against each other to get a better deal.
“It makes sense for energy retailers to be paying a tariff for power put back into the grid by homeowners, rather than the government,” Mr King said.
“Removal of the tariff will foster competition and enable homeowners to shop around and the feed-in tariff may well increase with the added completion.
“Consumers should take this as an opportunity to not only ensure they are getting a fair deal but to do a full check of their home’s energy efficiency to see where else they can make savings.
“Homeowners can get a Master Electrician to come into their home and identify the most energy efficiency investments for their household.”
March 7, 2014
Clipsal’s Power Outlets provide an innovative and neat approach to Power Solutions!
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The Queensland Government should act to protect solar power consumers who could be negatively impacted by its decision to cut support to the state’s solar power scheme, the Clean Energy Council has said.
Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh said allowing big electricity retailers to decide what they pay solar power users for their electricity would mean that many people would receive much less than the fair value of the clean energy they generate from the sun.
“The changes announced by the Queensland Government mean that individual solar power owners will need to negotiate one-on-one with electricity retailers to sell their solar energy back to the grid,” Mr Marsh said.
“It is naive to think that individual customers will be able to directly negotiate a fair price for their solar electricity in a small and noncompetitive market.
“Solar electricity has a real value. Electricity retailers and all energy users get the benefit of the electricity that is generated by solar panels. The industry is calling on the government to legislate a fair rate that retailers are required to pay for solar electricity to ensure that those who have invested their money in good faith for their family’s future are adequately protected.”
The change will affect consumers who installed solar power after the Queensland Government closed its Solar Bonus Scheme that paid 44 cents for every kilowatt-hour of solar electricity. Estimates are that tens of thousands of existing customers will be affected.
Mr Marsh said other states and territories such as Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT had already introduced minimum rates for solar electricity to protect consumers.
“This is not something new or unusual and is already standard practice across most of the country,” he said.
“New South Wales is one of the few states that has not introduced a minimum measure to protect solar consumers. Experience in this state has shown that retailers don’t offer a fair rate when the payment is voluntary and unregulated.
“While the state government decided to rely on competition between electricity retailers to deliver a good deal for solar power owners, the decision has been a failure for consumers.”
February 10, 2014
More than 3 gigawatts of solar power has now been installed on Australian rooftops, with almost a third of this coming from Queensland alone.
Household solar power gives consumers more control of their power bills by letting them generate their own electricity from the sun.
It helps to reduce the cost of our entire energy system on hot days when people everywhere have turned on their air-conditioners,” he said. “It has started to change the way we look at energy.” Analysis released by specialist solar consultancy Sunwiz shows that more than 1.15 million Australian households have installed rooftop solar, with Queensland the national leader.
Approximately 360,000 Queensland homes now have solar power. According to figures from the Clean Energy Regulator, the 3 gigawatts of solar power installed will produce more than 4000 gigawatt-hours over the next 12 months.
Mr Green said working class suburbs and regional areas had led the charge to go solar, rather than the affluent areas of the major cities. “Some state governments initially provided generous support to encourage people to go solar, but these programs have all been scaled back as the cost of systems has fallen over the last five years,” he said.
January 9, 2014
Any application, from small home office through to commercial projects!
Technology waits for no business and in the datacomms industry, there’s a need for supported infrastructure to evolve with it. A complete network connectivity solution is required to fulfill the needs of today and for years to come. Clipsal by Schneider Electric has that solution.
For the last decade, the company has serviced the Australian datacomms market with everything from data connectors and cables, through to fibre and cabinets.
Data cabinets play a key role in this end-to-end network solution, by housing horizontal cabling and active equipment. Now you have even more choice, with a new range of wall-mounted and free-standing network data cabinets to suit any application. Additionally, for added peace of mind, it’s also nice to know that when you use the entire Clipsal Actassi Solution, your Datacomms products are covered — from connector to cabinet — by your end-to-end warranty.
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November 5, 2013
There have been a lot of concerns around the construction industry of late relating to wiring standards and this has shown that safety standards need to increase to avoid any potential workplace incidents.
Master Electricians Australia (MEA) General Manager – Services Development Mark Dearlove said the building and construction industry and unions had identified an increasing trend in safety breaches for wiring work on construction sites.
“Many electricians largely conduct electrical wiring work on domestic and commercial installations and simply aren’t aware there are a different set of safety requirements surrounding wiring on construction sites,” Mr Dearlove said.
“It is industry’s expectation that all electrical workers understand and apply construction standards when conducting wiring work on construction sites.”Due to industry concerns, Mr Dearlove said MEA was rolling out a new online Construction Wiring course
to improve safety standards for the sector.
“The course aims to provide an understanding of construction wiring principles to generate more awareness of the issue and reduce the number of non-compliant cases,” he said. “It will be a benchmark to improve safety standards for construction wiring and give principal contractors confidence in electrical contractors.”
The Construction Wiring course condenses the requirements of AS/NZS 3012:2010 Electrical Installations – Construction and Demolition Sites into a learning format along with the requirements of the Wiring Rules.
MEA is the only organisation offering this course online.
October 8, 2013
The Queensland Government has released some informative guidelines that will help maintain the longevity of your Solar PV Systems.
Solar PV systems are like any electrical equipment and need to be regularly maintained for safe and efficient use. Regular maintenance should be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Cleaning your Solar Panels
- Keep you solar panels clean so they operate efficiently.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations:
- use water, not cleaning products
- avoid using scourers or other abrasive cleaners
- avoid using high pressure water cleaners
- do not rest buckets or lean on the panels
Have you Checked?
- Check all panels for cracks or chips in the glass, discolouration or other obvious defects.
- Ensure the panels and supporting frames are firmly secured.
- Make sure that the fittings and cables at the panels and the inverter remain securely attached.
- Review the inverter display panel for any recorded faults (refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for advice)
- Check that emergency procedures for shut down and isolation are clearly displayed.
- Make sure that the cooling vents of the inverter are clear of debris.
- Ensure access to the isolator switches is not impeded.
Maintenance & Repairs
- Never attempt electrical repairs yourself. Contact your electrician or installer to repair any damage to the solar panels, any loose fittings or exposed cables.
- Look out for overhead powerlines around the home.
- Take care when working on ladders or at heights.
September 3, 2013
A new mentoring program run by Master Electricians Australia will boost small businesses in the construction industry by providing free mentoring and training in business management for electrical contractors.
Master Electricians Australia’s new Pre-contractor Program allows electricians to access mentoring and training services free of charge, giving them superior knowledge and an added advantage in their business.
Master Electricians Australia Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Richards said the program aimed to assist electricians to start and maintain their own small business, and also empower them to make informed choices about their career pathway.
“All too often industry sees ambitious new contractors entering the marketplace without the skills or experience needed to run a successful business,” Mr Richards said.
“They have the right skills as a sparky but not the business know-how needed to actually manage a prosperous company. This leads to long term electrical contractors paying the price by picking up the pieces when a new inexperienced business is forced to close down.”
“The Pre-contractor Program provides electricians the opportunity to learn the tricks of the trade from an industry mentor, boosting the success rate of small businesses in the sector.”
Mr Richards said the 12-month program would enable electricians to undertake the training and professional development necessary to progress forward in their career and help them build a successful business.
“As part of the program electricians will complete a nationally recognised Certificate IV in Small Business Management, as well as develop skills necessary to advance into a management role,” he said.
“Industry leaders can also play a pivotal role in the program and give back to the sector by imparting their knowledge and experience to the next generation of managers and electrical contractors.”
Master Electricians Australia is seeking applications from electricians interested in participating in the Pre-contractor Program or those with established electrical careers who are keen to become mentors.
Recent media reports of electric shocks – and even deaths, from smartphone chargers are a timely reminder of the dangers that exist in the home in regard to domestic electrical appliances.
Australia has very comprehensive safety standards for electrical appliances – including smart ‘phone chargers, but many smartphone chargers in use in Australia today are bought cheaply on-line, often from Asia, and do not meet Australian standards, despite their labeling.
A user of these non-compliant chargers can potentially be exposed to fire, or electric shock, risks due to sub-standard manufacturing. A breakdown in the insulation can see 250 volts on the ‘phone charger plug rather than the recommended 5 volts. And this leaves the user very exposed to a potentially fatal electric shock.
NECA is therefore very concerned about non-compliant products being sold to both the trade and to consumers in Australia, and recently launched their “Does it comply?” campaign to raise awareness of this issue.
Householders should also periodically inspect all plugs on appliances, especially in kitchens and bathrooms, to ensure there is no damage to electric cords, or plugs. They should also ensure that safety switches are fitted to the home to add that extra degree of electrical safety.
The general rule of thumb is that if a ‘phone charger, or anything electrical, looks too cheap to be true, the chances are it does not meet Australian standards. And we suggest you ask yourself whether if it is worth taking the risk, just to save a few dollars, given the potential injury you, or your family member, may suffer.