10th February 2022
A new Energy Safe Victoria report delivers clarity around the safety of cable jointers working on underground residential electrical distribution (URD) in new ‘greenfield’ estates.
In 2021 the Victorian Government introduced new regulations which created new classes of licence for lineworkers and cable jointers. During stakeholder consultation, concerns were raised about the safety, regulatory requirements and oversight of cable jointing undertaken on ‘greenfield’ estates prior to them being energised and becoming part of the major electricity company (MEC) network.
Cable jointing is required when connecting supply to a house or business from the main underground supply. Similar to line work, cable jointing is not usually carried out by a licensed A Grade electrician. A Certificate III qualification is considered as adequate.
The ESV report Greenfield Underground Residential Distribution (URD) – Cable Jointing Research Project found no systemic or widespread evidence of safety or competency issues, or use of unqualified workers. It also found that requiring licensed A Grade electricians would not necessarily improve the quality and safety outcomes of work, as A Grade electricians generally do not perform cable jointing. In terms of qualifications, the report found that all contractors consulted, and some MECs, already require the cable jointers to have a Certificate III qualification.
All MEC cable jointers will be required to be Certificate III qualified and licensed by 1 January 2031.
In light of the report’s findings, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has developed options and recommendations for regulatory reform to better align regulation of URDs with industry practice.
DELWP will work with ESV to consult with key industry stakeholders in early 2022 to inform any changes to legislation or regulatory policy that may be required for URDs.
Reviewed 24 January 2023