The $800 Power Point

The $800 Power Point

How a simple job can turn into a major expense

A new client called us to get an extra power point installed in their garage.

On checking their switchboard we found they had an old fuse board in poor condition, with no circuit breakers or safety switches.

Regulations require that all new power points are protected by a safety switch. In this case there was just no way to fit a safety switch to the existing board.   Before any new power points could be installed the entire switchboard would need to be replaced.

Our quote to install a new circuit breaker switchboard with earth-leakage protection (safety switches) and to install the additional power point was around $800.

There are great benefits to getting rid of your old fuses and fitting safety switches, but obviously this was a much greater investment than the client was expecting.

There are other potential complications once you start altering major parts of your electrical installation.
Making changes to components such as switchboards triggers the requirement for other parts of the installation to comply with current standards.

For example if your existing switchboard and power meters are at the back of the house and you wish to make alterations, you will be required to relocate the meters to the front of the house. This is to ensure that meter readers have easy access to the meters.

Moving your meters will mean alterations to your sub-mains cables or mains cables.
Any alterations to your mains cables could trigger the requirement to relocate your point of attachment, and even replace the mains cables.

Relocating your switchboard also means having to extend all the existing circuits to the new switchboard position.
If the wiring in your home is not up to scratch then those existing circuits may need to be replaced as well.

What started out as a job to install one new power point has suddenly snowballed into a full-blown rewire with new mains cables and switchboard. The cost has ballooned from maybe $200 to over $7,000!

This is why you should talk to an electrical contractor while you are still in the planning stages of any building or renovation project.

What’s the difference between and electrician and an electrical contractor?

When you make alterations to your electrical installation, one thing can lead to another and you can find yourself on the slippery slope to major electrical costs.  Proper advice and planning before any work commences will prevent unexpected surprises.

If all you really want is that one extra power point in your garage and you aren’t currently ready for a rewire or new switchboard, there is a much cheaper alternative that could get you out of trouble.

It may be possible to install an RCD protected power point and bypass the requirements to make other upgrades.  It’s a slightly higher investment than a standard power point but it could be a way to get what you want without spending thousands.

Click here to see our article on RCD protected power points.


For a free quote and advice on all new power point installations phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

Or send us a message using the form below

LED Street Lights Cut LCC Power Bill By 72%

LED Street Lights Cut LCC Power Bill By 72%

Case Study: Launceston City Council Installs First LED Street Lights

The Client
The Launceston City Council provides services to over 65,000 residents in the municipality.  The future direction and focus of the council is guided by the Greater Launceston Plan.

The two key themes of the GLP are community needs and values, and recognising the importance of sustainability.  As part of the comittment to deliver services in a responsible and sustainable manner the council has engaged the services of Jim Taylor as the City Of Launceston Sustainability Officer.

The Challenge
There are over 5,000 street lights in the Launceston area, which run from 8 to 14 hours a day, depending on the time of year.  This generates a hefty power bill for the council and Jim has been investigating ways to reduce the cost of running these lights.

Any alternative must have low running costs and be as low maintenance as possible.  Being pole top fittings there is a considerable cost and use of resources just to access a light fitting for repair.  Also, the change from old to new light fittings should be as simple as possible.

The Solution
Jim decided to test the Sylvania StreetLED 22w LED street light fitting to replace the existing 80w mercury-vapour fittings.

Mance Electrical assisted by installing 6 of the new fittings to light poles in the car park at the bottom of Park Street, near the Tamar Yacht Club.  These are the first LED street lights to be installed in the Launceston Municipality.

The Results
Installation of the lights was trouble free, due to the well designed mounting system.  The light output of the new LEDs is clear and bright and compares favourably with the old mercury vapour lights.

Power consumption is a massive 72% less than the original fittings.

With over 5,000 street lights in Launceston the potential cost savings are substantial.

For advice on converting your existing lights to LED phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

Contact us for more information

Rewiring Your Home. The Truth About Rewires – Part 3

Rewiring Your Home. The Truth About Rewires – Part 3

Did You Get The Rewire You Paid For?

In part 1 of our Truth About Rewires series we looked at “The Cheapest Quote Rewire”, where everything is done as cheap and nasty as possible, and in part 2 we investigated “The Cosmetic Rewire” where everything looks good on the surface but the ugly truth is lurking just underneath.

Click here to read The Truth About Home Rewires – Part 1

Click here to read The Truth About Home Rewires – Part 2

Today we are going to discuss “The Too Hard Basket Rewire” which in some ways is a combination of the Cheapest Quote and Cosmetic rewires.

In a Too Hard Basket rewire the contractor starts out with good intentions and has quoted to replace all the old wiring in the home and do everything properly.

Unfortunately, when the going gets tough, the good intentions can fall by the wayside.

In a Too Hard Basket rewire, the easy stuff gets done properly but the difficult parts are left as they are, as the tradesmen decide some things are just too hard to deal with.

Typically this means any cable that is hard to access will not be replaced.  Those switch wires that couldn’t be pulled up the wall are left in place and reconnected to new switches.  The stove circuit is old rubber but it looks in reasonable condition so it’s left as is, to save that long crawl under the floor dragging a new circuit.

Maybe the job is taking longer than expected and the contractor is under pressure to get it finished as soon as possible.  Maybe the workers don’t have a high level of care and will just go back to the workshop and tell the boss it’s all finished.

Whatever the situation, the home owner has paid for a full and proper rewire, but with the Too Hard Basket rewire they are not getting everything they paid for.

We usually discover a Too Hard Basket rewire when we are called out to a fault caused by the old wiring.  The home owner assures us all has been rewired but our investigation soon reveals the truth.

The reason the lights in the back part of the house don’t work is because the original contractor didn’t take the time and effort to lift the roofing iron and replace the old cables running through the flat roof area.

We then do the work that should have been done during the rewire and the client pays again for something they already paid to have done.

There is a lot of confusion, and sometimes misdirection, about the extent of work that has been carried out during a “rewire”.

To avoid getting caught by a less than proper rewire you should always get a detailed quote that spells out exactly what work will be carried out.  And always use an established, reputable contractor to ensure the work you are paying for has actually been done.


For a free quote and advice on a “proper” rewire phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

Or send us a message using the form below

Rewiring Your Home. The Truth About Rewires – Part 2

Rewiring Your Home. The Truth About Rewires – Part 2

Not All Rewires Are Actually Rewires

In part 1 of our rewire series we explored the joys of “The Cheapest Quote” rewire, where everything is done to the bare minimum, using the cheapest materials, there’s no time to doing things properly and shortcuts are taken everywhere.

Click here to read The Truth About Home Rewires – Part 1

Click here to read The Truth About Rewires – Part 3

Another type of rewire we commonly see is “The Cosmetic Rewire”

With the cosmetic rewire everything looks good on the surface, but the ugly truth is lurking just underneath.

With the cosmetic rewire you get a brand new switchboard, new power point fittings and switches and light fittings, and everything that’s visible looks shiny and new.

You even get a few short pieces of brand new cable disappearing up into the roof space.

Unfortunately those pieces of new cable are all joined to the old cable that’s still crumbling away in the ceiling.

It’s the same story with the switches and power points.  The fittings are new but they are still connected to the old wiring.  Quite often that old wiring is in very poor condition and is a real safety issue.

The worst part is that often the home owner thinks their property has been properly rewired.  They believe their home is as safe as it can electrically be, with all the old dangerous cable gone for ever.

It’s a false sense of security based on false assumptions.

The home owner may have even paid for a complete rewire, but what they ended up with is quite different.

Cosmetic rewires are often found in homes that are offered for sale.

Potential buyers can see all the new fittings and they assume that everything is new.  Sometimes the real estate agents are working under the same false assumptions as the home owner and advertise the property as being rewired.

To avoid being caught out by the Cosmetic Rewire you should always get a pre-purchase electrical inspection on any property you are considering buying.  An investment of $150 can save you thousands of dollars in unexpected costs.

To avoid paying for a Cosmetic Rewire of your existing home you should always deal with a reputable electrical contractor and get a detailed quote that sets out exactly what extent of work will be carried out.

For a free quote and advice on rewiring your home phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

Send us a message here for a prompt reply

Rewiring Your Home. The Truth About Rewires – Part 1

Rewiring Your Home. The Truth About Rewires – Part 1

If you have an older home maybe you still have some older wiring in use as well.

These days all new wiring is thermoplastic insulated, with a life expectancy of at more than 40 years.  Older homes used a variety of cable types, all of which are now due for replacement.

The common types of original cable you might find in an older home include Lead, VIR and Rubber.

Lead insulated cables are well past their use-by date and can cause dangerous situations.  We recommend that all lead cable be replaced or disconnected immediately.

VIR is a cloth insulated cable installed in a split metal conduit.  The VIR system uses the conduit for earthing. Over time the insulation deteriorates and the conduit joints come apart and the earth connection is lost.

Rubber insulated cable becomes brittle as it ages and if disturbed the insulation just falls off, exposing bare wires.

All three cable types are potential fire and electric shock hazards.

The only way to safely upgrade these old cables is by rewiring your home..

A full rewire involves removing every piece of old cable and replacing it with new cable.  At the same time new switches and power point fittings are installed and the old fuse board is replaced with a new circuit breaker switchboard, with safety switches.

Your mains cables may also be replaced at this stage.  Your mains are the cables that go from your switchboards to the incoming power supply point.

Rewiring your home usually takes 3-5 days work to complete a full rewire with new mains and switchboard.

There are plenty of older homes in Launceston, so at Mance Electrical we do quite a few rewires, and we also see quite a few rewires done by others.

It’s obvious that all rewires are not created equal.

Some home owners think their house has been rewired – meaning completely and fully rewired, but the truth is often a little different.


The Cheapest Quote Rewire

One of the common situations we see is what we call the “Cheapest Quote Rewire”.

In the Cheapest Quote Rewire everything is done to the bare minimum.

The mains cables will probably be new, but the smallest possible size, with no room for expansion.

The switchboard will also be the bare minimum with no room for extra circuit breakers for additional circuits in the future.  Bad luck if you thought you might build on a couple of extra rooms later, or install a nice big heat pump.

An even cheaper trick is to leave your old mains cables in place and fit a load-limiting circuit breaker instead.  If you try and run your heater, oven and clothes dryer at the same time your power will overload and trip out.

The old cables may not be removed as required, due to the time that takes.  New cables will not be installed in a tidy manner and will not be clipped as required – again because of time constraints.

Much of the work may be done by unsupervised apprentices rather than qualified tradesmen.  Regulations are conveniently forgotten in the rush to get the job finished quickly.

With the cheapest quote rewire there is not enough time allowed to do a quality job.  The object is to win the job by putting in the cheapest price and then do it as quickly and cheaply as possible.

There are other types of rewire that are not quite what they seem.  Things might look good on the surface, but there might be an ugly truth lurking underneath

Click here for The Truth About Home Rewires Part 2 – The Cosmetic Rewire

Click here for The Truth About Home Rewires Part 3 – The Too Hard Basket Rewire


For a free quote on a “proper” rewire phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

Or send us a message using the form below

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