Alistair Grant, SELECT President Alistair Grant, SELECT President

As more homeowners turn to renewable technology, outgoing SELECT President warns of the dangers ofpoor electrical work carried out by rogue tradespeople

The outgoing President of SELECT, Scotland’s largest construction trade body, has issued a stark warning about the rise of rogue tradespeople masquerading as qualified electricians to take advantage of the boom in domestic renewables technology.

Alistair Grantwho ends his two-year tenure at the organisation next week, said there is increasing concern across the industry about the dangers of incorrectly installed technology such as electric vehicle (EV) charge points and solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.

Mr Grant, 68, who is based in Elgin, said that as demand from consumers increases, SELECT members are reporting an alarming rise in shoddy and dangerous workmanship that needs to be urgently remedied by qualified and fully-trained electricians.

He said: “With governments driving the transition to net zero, and homeowners being urged to play their part, we’ve seen an increase in ‘green energy experts’ coming forward to take advantage of demand, yet it’s obvious that a lot of these so-called experts have no wider knowledge of electrical best practice or safety.

“Electrical installations these days are very complex and the fitting of technology like domestic EV charge points, battery storage and solar panels needs to be carried out by professional electricians, not people who’ve merely done a short course.

“The needs of every home are unique and complicated when it comes to electrical installations, yet we are hearing numerous reports of SELECT members being called out to rectify work that is not only shoddy but downright dangerous.”

More than 140,000 households have installed solar PV panels and 4,000 public EV charge points are already in place, with Transport Scotland estimating that the nation will need around 30,000 charge points by 2030.

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Mr Grant added: “As demand grows, some fellow members have told me ‘it’s like the Wild West out there’, with rogue companies literally knocking on doors and offering to install renewable electrical equipment for a knockdown price.

“Unfortunately in the current cost of living crisis, consumers are often making decisions purely on cost alone, not realising that they could face a much higher bill later for getting the work put right and made safe.

“Even more worryingly, they might not realise anything is wrong at all, and end up paying the ultimate price further down the line when any hidden faults cause a fire or worse.”

Mr Grant pointed to a survey carried out by Electrical Safety First in conjunction with Loughborough University in which out of 1,700 homes examined, 80% had electrical faults, 50% of which were critical.

He added: “One solar installation which I was called out to recently had direct current cabling running from the roof, directly through a pile of children’s toys in the loft and into a cupboard in the home – the potential for a disastrous fire was obvious to see.

“This is typical of the kind of things we are seeing, and just emphasises why consumers should ALWAYS use a full-trained and qualified electrician from a SELECT member company for EVERY electrical job.”

Mr Grant will hand over the Presidency of SELECT to current Vice President Mike Stark at the SELECT AGM on Thursday 6 June, and said his two-year term had been “hectic, but thoroughly enjoyable”.

He said he had enjoyed attending meetings across the UK as well as spearheading two successful President’s Lunch events, and paid tribute to the excellence of the staff in the background at SELECT who maintain the organisation’s high standards.

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He said: “Despite the proliferation of rogue tradespeople, I am very optimistic about the future of the electrical sector and the industry is doing a great job in a society which depends more and more on electricity.

“I’m also confident that electrical contractors of all sizes will continue to be expertly supported by the team at SELECT, who work tirelessly behind the scenes on their behalf to create a safer electrotechnical industry and, ultimately, a safer landscape for consumers.”

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