ESC: More stringent electrical safety checks are needed
31st August 2011
The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has told insurance companies to encourage landlords and homeowners to embrace better electrical safety in their properties.
Property owners with block of flats insurance were warned that half of all domestic fires are caused by electrical faults.
The group's head of communication, Cherry Read, said that it has been talking with insurers to give customers a discount if they are keeping their properties in adequate condition.
Additionally, the group has been working with government bodies to encourage a five-year check on electrical safety.
She commented: "On the face of it you want insurers to have a role to play, but unfortunately there isn't enough of a premium in domestic insurance for it to currently be worthwhile. There might be some potential looking at premiums for landlords with a number of properties, because insurers would have more of an interest with a bigger overall premium."
It was explained that privately rented homes are often in a poor state of repair, with around 80 per cent of people thinking there should be a duty on landlords to do all electrical checks.
Despite more deaths being caused by electrical faults than by gas, there is a legal requirement for the latter rather than the former.
Ms Read continued: "A lot more work needs to be done to raise awareness. The truth with electrical safety is that it's not at the front of the mind - it's not something that people think about on a daily basis."
Only a third of people know what a residual current device (RCD) is, according to the ESC.
"That's one of those things where, actually, a lot of the common mistakes that people can easily make can be significantly reduced just by checking your fuse box and seeing if it has an RCD. About half of all homes have adequate protection, so there's a lot of people out there who are at risk," she explained.
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