Public Warning – Do not deal with Charbel Khoury

Filed under: News — julieb @ 5:46 pm

Mr Stowe said Fair Trading has information Charbel Khoury operates Switchiton although he is not a listed director of the company. “We also have evidence Mr Khoury continues to do electrical wiring work while disqualified and there is an ongoing investigation into him and the company,” he said.

Charbel Khoury was a director and the nominated supervisor of Switchworx Electrical Pty Ltd. Switchworx and Charbel Khoury targeted the elderly and vulnerable, falsely representing the need for electrical work. His work was sub-standard and failed to comply with electrical safety standards.

In November 2012, Parramatta Local Court ordered Charbel Khoury and Switchworx to pay $31,162 fines and costs following a conviction on 14 charges under the Australian Consumer Law and the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act.

At that time $50,000 compensation was paid to affected consumers. Charbel Khoury was disqualified from working in the industry for three years and disqualified for a further three years from holding a licence. His licence and the licence for Switchworx Electrical Pty Ltd were cancelled. Switchiton advertises in local newspapers and online Yellow Pages under its name and registered business names.

Switchiton’s electrical licence 259638C was cancelled by Fair Trading on 14 May 2014. Mr Stowe said Fair Trading had received a number of consumer complaints about Switchiton regarding unethical business practices and overcharging.

“Consumers have reported Mr Khoury attending their homes, conducting electrical work and coercing them into buying unnecessary and expensive electrical services,” he said.

“This is the same behaviour for which he has previously been prosecuted. “Anyone who has had any dealings with him or the company and associated businesses can lodge a complaint at the Fair Trading website or at any Fair Trading or Service NSW Centre.”

Mr Stowe said consumers should only deal with appropriately licensed tradespeople and should check trade licenses with Fair Trading online or by calling 13 32 20. -

Wiha VDE 1000 Volts + SDS Bits

Filed under: Products — julieb @ 4:02 pm

6 piece screwdriver set+ 4 piece SDS carbide set packed in Wiha tool bag.

Two German manufacturers, Wiha and Hella, have combined their best selling products to create a VDE driver set complete with 4 SDS plus drill bits.

Part No WIH00833+SDSKit.

The Wiha VDE 1000 volt rated screwdrivers have been the driver of choice for many Australian Sparkys, and now come with 5mm, 6mm, 8mm and 10mm SDS Plus drill bits included in the set.

Screwdrivers included are 3mm, 4mm, 5.5mm & 6.5mm slotted as well as PH1 and Ph 2.

All tools are packaged in a handy zip up tool bag and are a must have for any Sparky working in the construction or maintenance.

Exclusive to RHA stores during June and July.


Clipsal Single Powerpoint with USB Charger – Available Soon

Filed under: Products — julieb @ 3:54 pm

- 30USBCM – Standalone Charger- 2015USBC / C2015USBC – Single powerpoint with 1 x USB Charger

- 2015USB2C / C2015USB2C – Single powerpoint with 2 x USB Charger

Designed in Australia, Clipsal by Schneider Electric’s innovative USB charger offers adaptability, efficiency and reliability in one convenient universal mech.Compatible with a range of plate offers and colours, it includes protection against adverse electrical and temperature conditions.Providing up to 1.2 amps, it is efficient in charging times with minimal standby energy consumption.

When used instead of GPOs, it reduces maximum circuit demand lowering infrastructure requirements and costs.

Available soon, drop into your local branch for more information!


ROBUS NEW catalogue release

Filed under: Products — julieb @ 3:34 pm

ROBUS has just launched a new catalogue.Featuring over fifteen innovative and exciting new products, such as the high lumen output BAT and DOCK LED Highbays and the sleek range of recessed ETERNITY LED downlights.

With an emphasis on product imagery, installation images, quality procedures at the LED Group and useful information on LED Technology, this 110 page catalogue is ahead of the market in terms of design, sophistication and usability.

For further information on new products featured in the new Robus catalogue please log on to: For detailed information or more images please contact:

Stephanie Walsh Marketing Executive LED Group

Tel: +353 1 709 9000




Clipsal Heavy Duty Surface Switch

Filed under: Uncategorized — julieb @ 2:15 pm

Less hassle, more grunt with the 56 Series Base Mounted Heavy Duty Switchgear Range Extension– 56SWH deep enclosures. 

Forget trying to force cables into small enclosures

- Clipsal has extended the legendary 56 Series™ range to include a removable, base-mounted switch, giving you easy terminal access to make wiring and maintenance a breeze.

The deep model has all the space you need to fit larger cables.It is housed in spacious 56E2 enclosures and colour options include Grey, Resistant Orange, Resistant White and Chemical Grey; accommodating a wide range of industrial needs.

Technical Data Sheet



Wiha LiftUp Magazine Bit Holder – Available Late July

Filed under: Products — julieb @ 4:49 pm

The new Wiha LiftUp Magazine Bit Holder is rated at 1,000 volts to IEC60900:2012.

This new product will be available at all Rexel stores and on our web store from late July 2014.

This tool has all the advantages of working with 1000 Volt rated screwdrivers plus has the following features:

• Light and universal, ideal for use on the move – each blade can be removed from inside the handle and re-inserted easily• Does the job of 6 screwdrivers, all common drivers are now at easy reach

• Has a turnable cap to allow additional axial force

• Durable – internal metal construction ensures that the bit holder does not wear

• Maximum safety – the bits and driver handle are individually VDE-GS certified according to IEC60900:2012




Robus Space LED Panel

Filed under: Products — julieb @ 3:27 pm

Robus has just launched the new SPACE LED Panel. This superb range provides one of the highest energy and maintenance saving solutions available today.

The ideal replacement for the standard T5 and T8 lay-in modules, it provides up to 5 times longer life but more importantly, no tube replacements which reduces maintenance costs and can lead to a payback in months rather than years.

Features and Benefits

* Light output comparable to 2 x 36W fluorescent (replacement for fluorescent modular fittings * Fits into standard sizes of ceiling grid – 15mm and 24mm * 50,000 hour average lamp life. Up to 5 times that of a standard fluorescent * Simple to install and minimal maintenance

* Low glare diffuser and 5500K colour ensures this product can be effectively used in offices, hospitals, restaurants, leisure, retail and educational centres * Suitable for PIR switching * 4 wire suspension system available – can suspend panel to a length of 1.5M (RSUSLEDP)

* Surface mounted kits available.Available in a choice of colour temperatures and dimensions, these fittings are slim and stylish in appearance and quick and easy to install.



Osram Platforma LED Ceiling Luminaire

Filed under: Uncategorized — julieb @ 2:59 pm

The OSRAM PLATFORMA LED Ceiling Luminaire is an attractive, slim and simple light source for general use in the home.

Designed to meet all of the technical standards of conventional lights, the fixtures’ simple construction is also optimized for easy installation.

The OSRAM PLATFORMA LED Ceiling Luminaire has been designed with energy-saving LED technology, helping you cut down on electricity bills and lessen your home’s carbon footprint.


The product is quick and easy to install and provides the quality assurance of the OSRAM brand.OSRAM’s PLATFORMA LED Ceiling Luminaires are perfect for providing energy saving, bright, room lighting in corridors, living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms.

3000K Warm White

6500K Cool White











Features and Benefits:

• Available in three sizes – designed to blend • seamlessly into a white ceiling. • Up to 40% energy savings • Long life 30,000 hrs • 3 sizes – 12W, 17W and 22W • Slim design – 60mm high • Opal diffuser.



Photoluminescent Exit Signs Not Commercially Viable

Filed under: News — julieb @ 12:39 pm

Lighting Council Australia (the peak body representing Australia’s lighting industry), electrical contractor representative bodies, and fire industry representative bodies, amongst others, have expressed concern over the recent introduction of photoluminescent (PL) ‘glow in the dark’ exit signs to the National Construction Code of Australia (NCC).
“One of the major concerns is the confusion amongst electricians, building owners and building managers, as to how PL exit signs may be used. If installed in accordance with the NCC amendment, PL signs will cost considerably more to install and maintain than the current electrically powered LED exit signs” says Lighting Council Australia Chairman, Russell Loane, OAM.“The installation of a PL exit sign typically requires the installation of two additional luminaires. Firstly, the NCC amendment requires that a PL exit sign must have a dedicated, uninterrupted light source continuously illuminating 100 lux onto the face of the sign. Secondly, the NCC already requires, via AS/NZS 2293.1, that an emergency luminaire must be installed within 2m of an exit door or typically where exit signs are located (AS2293-1 clause 5.4.1).

In practice this additional emergency light is not required where an electrically powered exit sign is used, as almost all internally illuminated exit signs already have sufficient light output to be also classified as emergency luminaires. PL material cannot achieve a light output to obtain this classification, so the additional emergency will be essential.” This comes at a cost.

“The expected supply and install cost of a standard LED exit sign is in the order of $250, with ongoing energy costs of $3.16 per year. The supply and install cost of a PL exit sign and accompanying emergency light and separate luminating light source is in the order of $550, with ongoing energy costs of $21.56 per year.”

There is also a legal requirement to comply with the NCC and AS/NZS 2293.1. Emergency and exit lighting is an essential life safety device, and the non-compliance with regulations regarding its correct installation and maintenance jeopardises the safety of building occupants.

It is therefore surprising the number of people who are not aware of their exposure to significant penalties for non-compliance with regulations regarding exit signs and emergency lighting. Penalties are imposed for non-compliance with the proper installation and maintenance of exit and emergency lighting, on building owners, building managers and employers, under Work Health and Safety (WH&S) laws, OH&S legislation (which applies in Victoria and Western Australia where the WH&S laws have not been adopted), and under state building regulations,. The WH&S legislation treats a serious breach as an indictable offence, and carries a maximum penalty of $3 million dollars for a corporation and significant financial penalty and up to 5 years imprisonment for individuals.  In Victoria and Western Australia the maximum penalties for a corporation are $1.3 million dollars and $625,000 respectively, and significant financial penalties and possible imprisonment are imposed for serious breaches by an individual.
Also of concern is the safety issues associated with the use of PL exit signs (even when installed correctly). Mr Loane says, “Even with the additional luminaires which must be installed with PL signs, there is a strong consensus view across a number of industry bodies, experts and academics that the use of PL signs significantly compromises safety. Exit signs have over 30 years of test and empirical data supporting the worldwide view that the safety of an exit sign is determined by its luminance level, and that the appropriate luminance level to ensure safe egress in an evacuation scenario (irrespective of the type of sign emitting it) is between 8cd/m² (candela per square metre) and 15cd/m². The amendment to the NCC provides for a luminance level for PL exit signs of 30mcd/m² (millicandela). One candela is 1000 times the luminance of one millicandela.

Mr Loane adds, “This 30mcd/m² figure is essentially 250 times less than the luminance an existing electrically powered exit sign needs to be. The level is adopted based on a test process used in the US, called “The Observer’s Visibility Test”, which purely tests the visibility of PL signs, without regard or relevance to evacuation requirements or emergency considerations.

One of the many submissions to the Australian Building Code Board opposing the amendment to permit PL signs was by The Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Building Code and Audits Division in Melbourne. That submission states:
“When firefighters are in a smoke affected environment, the visibility of exit signs is an important safety aid, which will be compromised by the lower level of brightness of PL exit signs.

It will be difficult to evaluate the compliance of a PL sign during essential services audits, and Fire Brigade Fire Safety Inspections. I foresee issues with inspection and enforcement regarding the requirement for 100lx of illumination onto the face of these PL exits and as to whether the signs provide the requisite minimum light output.

It is not difficult to envisage situations where a much cheaper, stick on, glow in the dark exit sign will be used in a non-compliant way. Essential life safety devices should not be put in a situation where they can be compromised in this way.

The type of premises that tend to be attracted to cheaper alternatives, also tend to present fire services with the biggest challenges when it comes to public safety and the maintenance of essential services, for example: backpackers, nightclubs and budget accommodation.

High visibility [of exit signs] – from a distance and in smoke conditions undoubtedly aids occupant survivability.”

Although the additional price tag, and ongoing additional energy costs, should deter the use of PL signs, Mr Loane says that simply allowing their use is of concern as safety is compromised, and the potential for confusion and misinformation presents a risk that the PL signs may be used without the additional luminaires and therefore without the financial deterrent.

Lighting Council Australia is the representative body for members in the lighting industry, including emergency lighting. The Council’s goal is to encourage the use of environmentally appropriate, energy efficient and quality lighting systems. The Council works with, and advises the government on policy and strategy and has representation on numerous Australian and International standards committees.
Should any building owners, facility managers or employers be concerned about their current or proposed emergency lighting options, they can contact Owen Manley at Lighting Council Australia (02 6247 8011) for further advice.

For media information, images or interview opportunities with a Lighting Council Australia representative, please contact

Cecelia Haddad or Matt De Carli, Marketing Elements, Phone:  (02) 9360 3600




The Federal Budget and its Impact on the Electrical Industry

Filed under: News — julieb @ 12:23 pm

Joe Hockey last night released his first federal budget, in what was described as the most important budget since Peter Costello’s first for the Howard Government in the mid-90s.Company tax cut of 1.5 per cent The treasurer stated in the speech that company tax would be cut by 1.5 per cent, however there are no figures in the budget papers clearly outlining what a small business is or when this may commence. Master Electricians Australia (MEA) will monitor this and begin advocating for its introduction as soon as possible. Over the coming years, as the budget and actual expenditure results develop, we will see how and when the Government will implement this much-needed relief.Carbon Tax and the Mineral Resource Rent Tax

These taxes are to be abolished, however this will obviously depend on the passing of the appropriations bill through the Senate in the coming days. Early media reports today indicate this may be difficult and that the Government will have its work cut out to see these passed. Superannuation Guarantee It was confirmed that the scheduled incremental rises in the superannuation guarantee charge will continue to be delayed.

Mature Aged Workers Incentives

Employers who employ mature aged workers aged over 50 years who have been out of work for six months or more will receive up to $10,000 in payments to assist offset costs. MEA understands that this will be particularly targeted at those who have been on welfare benefits for a period of time, however it will be interesting to see how this may interact with the Trade Loans for re-skilling workers into a new career. The $10,000 payment will be staggered over a two year period, based on length of employment.


The budget sees a total infrastructure investment of $50 billion over a seven-year period, with up to $39 billion invested over the 4 year forward estimate. Each state has had a number of projects identified but projects consist mainly of upgrades to roads.

Increases of the Excise Tax

This will obviously affect all of our members and our industry as a whole and has not been welcomed, however the undertaking to directly link the funds raised from this tax to future road projects and upgrades is a major step forward, and will assist businesses in the long term whilst driving economic growth. The index will be reviewed every 6 months and aligned to CPI.

Apprentice Tools for Your Trade

The Tools for Your Trade program will cease from 1 July 2014, and financial assistance for apprentices will be supplied through the newly established Trade Support Loans Program. These Trade Support Loans will be provided at concessional interest rates and capped at $8,000 in the first year of the apprenticeship, $6,000 in the second, $4,000 in the third and $2,000 in the fourth. They will be available to apprentices undertaking a Certificate III or IV qualification that leads to an occupation on the National Skills Needs List. Apprentices will be required to commence repaying the loans when their income exceeds a minimum repayment threshold ($53,345 in 2014‑15) consistent with arrangements applying to university students under the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). Apprentices who successfully complete their training will receive a 20 per cent discount on the amount to be repaid.

Industry Skills Fund

An Industry Skills Fund has been established and will provide $476 million over four years from 1 January 2015, to support the training needs of small to medium enterprises which cannot be readily met by the national training system. Industries targeted will include: health and biomedical products; mining, oil and gas equipment technology and services; and advanced manufacturing, including defence and aerospace.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency

The Agency will cease, however the Government is establishing the Emissions Reduction Fund including $2.55 billion to provide incentive based action by businesses to reduce emissions.

Solar Towns program

The program will provide $2.1 million over three years from 2014-15 to community groups, such as sports clubs, seniors’ clubs and scout centres, to support the installation of solar photovoltaic and solar hot water systems, and reduce energy costs in the electorates of Corangamite, Bendigo and McEwen in Victoria, Moreton and Bonner in Queensland and Lyons in Tasmania. Grants will also be available to community groups in the City of Monash in Victoria and the Port Adelaide/Wakefield/Makin area in South Australia.

Outback Power

This program will provide $10.6 million over four years to service up to 250 existing renewable energy systems in remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory

Small Business access to Commonwealth Contracts

The budget details funding earmarked to assist small business access government contracts, and assist them to share in the expenditure and infrastructure. This will come in the form of improving processes and guidance material for business to navigate the procurement process that Government use. MEA will be particularly interested in this to assist members engage with new markets and build customers.



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