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Store convicted for selling dangerous Christmas lights

Evergreen Christmas, a Christmas decoration store at the Hamilton Central Shopping Centre has pleaded guilty to selling dangerous Christmas lights.

This store has previously been prosecuted by Energy Safety for similar offending at Auckland’s Botany Town Centre in 2009.

Energy Safety Compliance Officer Richard Lamb says it is very disappointing that action has had to be taken against Evergreen Christmas for a second time and will push for a significant penalty.

“Unsafe lights that run off mains power like these are a serious concern because of the way we use them - wrapped around trees, on furniture at home and in our workplaces.  They are attractive to children and pets. The lights sold by Evergreen Christmas were of very poor construction, lacked basic protection from contact with live parts and were flimsy enough to easily pull apart. They present a significant fire and electric shock risk at a family time of year,” Mr Lamb says.

“The electrical safety rules are designed to enable sellers to meet their obligation to source and supply electrically safe products. We hope that this case acts as a message to others that the consequences of ignoring the rules and endangering people can be very costly. The maximum penalty for each charge is $50,000.

“Sellers must recognise the risk that they put their customers at and understand that they would face the full consequences of harming someone.”

Mr Lamb urges people to take care when buying decorative lights that run on mains power – particularly on the internet.

“Online sales of decorative lights, both offshore and from local websites, are increasing noticeably. People should check that they meet acceptable safety standards before they buy. If anyone has already purchased questionable lights – don’t use them. One option is to purchase safety extra low voltage (SELV) lights that run at 12 or 24 volts and have isolating power packs.”

Information about decorative lights and purchasing electrical items online is available on the Energy Safety website:

 

Energy Safety is the agency responsible for encouraging the safe supply and use of electricity and gas. It is part of the health and safety regulator WorkSafe New Zealand.

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