Feel a tingle in that switch or tap? Report it, says Ergon

Ergon Faults team respond to emergency call by householder, testing electrical fault in kitchen
Image: Ergon Energy

Thousands of Queensland households are being exposed to electrical dangers, with some not recognising the risk, and others confused over who to report it to, according to Ergon Energy and the Electrical Safety Office.

In the past 12 months, Ergon Energy and Energex crews have been called out to nearly 2500 premises to investigate reports of electric shocks throughout Queensland.

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It’s a 3% increase on the previous year, but an even more worrying trend is the spike in calls from tenants who have informed their landlords and property managers about electric shocks, but they have failed to urgently report it to Ergon Energy.

“A tingle from a tap or from a power point isn’t the same as a leaky tap or other minor household maintenance—it indicates an urgent, possibly lethal electrical problem and it needs to be reported and investigated ASAP,” Ergon Energy area manager Peter Lougheed said.

“Anyone can and should report issues like these; whether you’re a homeowner, tenant or even a visitor to the property—we don’t care where the report comes from; we treat it as an emergency, and our crews are dispatched quickly to investigate.

“We don’t charge for these urgent callouts, and if the issue is at our end, we fix it for free. If the problem is behind the meter—for example, in the wiring—it’s then up to the property owner to engage a licensed electrical contractor to fix the issue and make it safe.”

Tahnee Murray leads the specialist team who take the high-priority safety calls at Ergon Energy. The team has noticed an alarming pattern of calls from renters following up on potentially deadly electrical faults that they’ve reported to their landlord or property manager, but these reports haven’t been passed on to Ergon Energy.

“It’s frightening that people are living with potentially life-threatening electrical hazards in their homes, where they should feel safe,” Murray said.

“We’ve also had property managers and landlords phoning to report shocks days after their tenants have advised them—some simply don’t realise just how dangerous this situation can be, and that delayed reporting risks lives.”

Head of Queensland’s Electrical Safety Office Donna Heelan is urging homeowners, tenants and rental managers to recognise the dangers of shocks and tingles and act quickly.

“People often describe feeling a tingling sensation when touching metal objects like taps, or light switches, which is likely an electric shock,” Heelan said.

“Experiencing an electric shock is serious and should be treated seriously—there’s no such thing as a safe shock.”

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“If a member of your household or a tenant tells you they are experiencing shocks or tingles, don’t dismiss or ignore it. Above all, don’t try to touch test the equipment yourself—these types of faults are often intermittent and volatile. A tingling sensation to one person can be a fatal electric shock for the next.”

Immediately report any shock, however seemingly minor to Ergon Energy on 13 16 70, don’t touch anything, and a crew will be there ASAP. The Faults calls team and response crews are available 24/7 to keep Queenslanders safe.

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