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Dangerous Christmas lights result in $25.5K fine

Evergreen Christmas, a Christmas decoration store operating in the Hamilton Central Shopping Centre has been fined $25,500 in the Hamilton District Court for selling dangerous Christmas lights.

This store has previously been prosecuted by Energy Safety* for similar offending operating out of its Auckland’s Botany Town Centre store 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.

“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.

“The electrical safety rules are designed to enable suppliers 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,” Mr Lamb said.

Mr Lamb urges people to take care when buying decorative lights that run on mains power – particularly products purchased online.

“Online sales of decorative lights from local and offshore retailers are increasing. People should check that these products meet acceptable safety standards before they buy. If you’re in doubt about the safety of lights you’ve already purchased, don’t use them,” said Mr Lamb.

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 part of WorkSafe NZ and is responsible for encouraging the safe supply and use of electricity and gas.