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General information

Electrical Safety laws

Disclaimer
The information below has been provided by Marlborough Lines Limited in good faith, but Marlborough Lines does not accept any liability for anything that may arise from use of this information. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with here.

Principal electrical safety laws in New Zealand
In New Zealand, any electrical work that exceeds 32 volts a.c. or 100 volt d.c. is governed by law.

The principle laws are: These laws are administered by the Energy Safety Service of the Ministry of Economic Development

Any person, other than a homeowner, who carries out prescribed electrical work, must be registered by the Electrical Workers Registration Board.

All registered electrical workers must hold an annual practising licence if they carry out prescribed electrical work for reward. (This means that money is paid, or any valuable thing is given to them, or to any other person, in exchange for the work they have done).

If you engage an electrician, ask to see their licence. If you are not sure whether the person is licensed, contact the Electrical Workers Registration Board on 0800 66 1000.

Certificate of compliance

When an electrician installs any new or altered wiring, they must provide you with a certificate of compliance as soon as they have completed the work. This is your warranty that the work is safe and complies with the law.

Certain maintenance work, such as repairing a damaged cable or replacing a broken light fitting, is required to be tested, but the electrician does not need to issue a certificate of compliance.

Prescribed electrical work

'Prescribed electrical work' is work defined in the Electricity Regulations that must be done by a registered electrical worker. It includes work to:
  • Install conductors.
  • Install fittings that are connected, or are intended to be connected, to conductors.
  • Maintain conductors.
  • Maintain fittings that are connected, or are intended to be connected, to conductors.
  • Maintain electrical appliances.
  • Connect or disconnect conductors to, or from, a power supply, other than by means of a plug, appliance inlet, or a pin that is inserted into a socket outlet.

Work requiring inspection

New laws introduced in 1993 removed the requirement for MLL to inspect electrical work. However, some work must still be inspected before it’s connected to the power supply. We can carry out these inspections or you can use an independent contractor.

In a new house, for example, the only work that is required to be inspected is the work involving the mains supply and the main switchboard.

Electrical work inspections

There are some things that you should note:
  • The installing electrician is responsible for getting the work inspected that is required to be inspected.
  • We can’t liven any premises until we’re satisfied that the premises have been certified and inspected.
  • We do undertake inspection work, or you can use an independent inspector.
  • Connection and livening to the network can only be done by an approved contractor. Contact us or your electrician for more information.

Substandard electrical work

We are not responsible for checks on the wiring in customer premises. If you want an independent check, you should ask an electrician or an inspection company to do this - you may be expected to pay for their services.

Resolving issues with substandard electrical work
If you are not satisfied with the electrical work done by your electrician, you should first try to resolve the problem with them. If they are a member of the Electrical Contractors' Association the association will provide an independent report and mediate on your behalf. The association can be contacted on 0800 506 688 or visit their website.

You may also complain about electrical work or the work of an electrical tradesperson to the Electrical Workers Registration Board. For more information on laying a complaint. phone the board on 0800 66 1000 or visit their website.

The board has powers to investigate and discipline electrical workers where they have failed to comply with the electrical laws, but the board can’t get involved in other disputes, such as costs of work. In these cases there may be breaches of the Fair Trading Act or Consumer Guarantees Act which may be remedied in the Disputes Tribunal. Information on arranging a disputes hearing can be found on the board's website.

Electric and magnetic fields

Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are found everywhere. They’re part of the natural environment and present in the atmosphere. They’re also produced wherever electricity or electrical equipment is in use. Health concerns have been increasingly discussed due to numerous technological advances (e.g. mobile communications (cell phones), computers, microwaves) of which electric and magnetic fields are a by-product.

Meeting the needs of our customers and responsible design
Marlborough’s growth and the increased demand for electricity from customers require the continuous upgrade and reinforcement of our electricity distribution network to meet the needs of the community. We take very seriously the health and safety of our customers, staff and public.

We’re not an authority on EMFs, so we defer to the national and international authorities for best practice and health guidelines for EMF levels. The NZ guideline used for acceptable exposure levels is the Ministry of Health National Radiation Laboratory guideline, which in turn refers to the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

The NZ recommended safe continuous exposure limit for magnetic fields, for the general public, is 100 microteslas (µT). This exposure limit is the same as those specified in Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The EMF levels of our electricity network lines and equipment comply with and are well below those limits.

All electrical equipment produces EMFs
When turned on, or in standby modes, your computer, television, hair dryer, clock radio and refrigerator, for example, all produce EMFs. The strength of EMFs reduces rapidly with distance from the source.

Common household and office appliances produce EMF levels which are comparable with Marlborough Lines’ electricity equipment and substations. For example, an electric kettle produces up to 1µT, a computer up to 2µT, a Marlborough Lines substation (at peak load and at the boundary) less than 0.1µT for a small substation, ranging up to around 5µT for a very large installation.

Further information about EMFs:
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