Big Business Turns To Solar

Big Business Turns To Solar

Government Lags Behind, As Usual

Last week Telstra signed a deal to purchase the entire output of a new 70MW solar farm to be built in Queensland.

Rapidly rising power costs have prompted the move as part of Telstra’s long term energy management strategy.

Telstra consumes about 1% of the nation’s electricity so rising power costs have negatively affected the company’s bottom line.

The unusual aspect of this deal is that Telstra has signed a contract with the developer directly, rather than through an energy retailer.

Telstra has plans for more solar farms as the cost of renewable energy falls, while power prices continue to rise.


Korean owned Sun Metals has also announced a new 125MW solar farm for its Townsville zinc refinery. The facility is expected to provide about 30% of the refinery’s power requirements.

Both these projects are expected to be completed and delivering power in 2018.

That’s one of the great benefits of solar power. An installation can be up and running quickly, without long design and construction phases.

Monash University has also called for tenders for a 40MW wind or solar farm to supply their on-going power needs.

Both the Telstra and Monash projects can be built in locations that are remote from their own facilities. The power output from the farms can be sold to other users, and that income used to offset the power costs of Telstra and Monash.


Australia’s biggest horticultural company Costa Group has identified power costs and reliability of supply as major risks to their business.

They are currently reviewing plans for a solar farm and battery storage facility at their South Australian mushroom farm.

We know that Australians love solar power.

Now Big Business has done the sums and they are voting with their wallets.

We expect to see more businesses follow Telstra’s example and probably groups of smaller businesses forming consortiums to build their own power plants to manage their energy costs.

The federal government is out of step with the Australian community, with its’ continuing support for the coal industry, and constant attacks on renewables.

More and more, consumers and business are turning to wind and solar energy and that trend will only continue.

Solar power is here to stay and will only get bigger, better and stronger, whether the government supports it or not.


For a free on-site inspection and a detailed proposal by the guy who will actually install your solar panels phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

Or send us a message using the form below

The $800 Power Point Problem Solved

The $800 Power Point Problem Solved

Add New Power Points Without Expensive Upgrades

The Problem
In our previous blog post we looked at the cascading series of events and spiralling costs that could result from a simple installation of new power points.

Click here to see our previous article “The $800 Power Point”

When changes are made to certain parts of your electrical installation it can trigger the requirement to upgrade other parts of the installation to comply with current regulations.

This can be a costly exercise for what started out as just a very minor job.

Regulations require that all new power points, all additions to existing circuits and all relocations of existing power points must be protected by an earth-leakage circuit breaker.

Jargon Explained
An earth-leakage circuit breaker, a safety switch and an RCD (residual current device) are all names for the same thing. They are devices that detect an imbalance in the electrical current flowing through a circuit and switch off the power within 30 milliseconds to hopefully prevent injury or death from electric shock.

The regulations around RCDs are designed to improve electrical safety and are a good idea, but there are additional costs involved.

Even if your switchboard is not suitable for the addition of a safety switch there is a way to comply with the regulations, improve electrical safety and keep the costs down.

Problem Solved
The solution is to install an earth-leakage protected power point.

This power point has a built-in safety switch which avoids the requirement to add a safety switch to the switchboard.

If the earth-leakage protected power is installed as the first power outlet on a circuit it also protects any other outlets downstream on the same circuit.

The RCD protected outlet alone will cost a little over $200, but installation is the same as a normal power point.
Despite the higher cost it is still far cheaper than replacing your switchboard and mains cables.


For free advice and quotes on all power point installations phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

Or send us a message using the form below

Changing To Gas Hot Water

Changing To Gas Hot Water

How Easy Is It To Change From Electric To Gas Hot Water?

Hot water accounts for up to 30% of the average household power bill, so it’s a major cost for most people.

With an electric storage cylinder you are paying to heat 160 litres of water day and night, whether it is needed or not.  A much more efficient way is to just heat the water as you need it.

Gas is the best way to achieve this.  Gas can provide the heat necessary to quickly heat cold water to a suitable temperature for showers, washing up etc.  But how easy is it to change?  And is gas the best alternative?

Electric instant hot water heaters are available but they don’t work very well in Tasmania.  The water we are trying to heat often starts off very cold so an electric system struggles to lift the temperature to a usable level.  Gas is the way to go.

Most of the work involved in changing from an electric to a gas hot water system is plumbing work.   The old cylinder is disconnected and the pipes re-run to the instant hot water unit and bottled or town gas is connected.

The electrical work needed could be quite simple.  All that’s needed is a weatherproof power point.  Often the old wiring from the hot water cylinder can be used, but sometimes that wiring is the wrong size and a new circuit will need to be run.

Regulations require that all new power points be protected by an earth-leakage circuit breaker (safety switch) so some modifications to your switchboard may be required.

Sometimes major modifications could be required, if you have an old fuse board where it is not possible to to install a safety switch.  For this reason it’s a good idea to talk to your electrician before any work commences to find out the extent of electrical work required.

You wouldn’t want to disconnect and remove your old hot water cylinder, get the new gas system installed and then find out it cannot be used without first replacing your switchboard.

In the worst case scenario a switchboard replacement could involve new mains cables, relocating your power meters and replacing some of your wiring.  Talk to your electrician first to avoid nasty surprises.

Gas hot water is cheaper to run and you have the added advantage that it never runs out of hot water as long as you still have gas.

Do some research, get a couple of quotes and involve your electrician in the project before you begin and you’ll enjoy a smooth transition from electric to gas hot water.

Need a new power point for your gas hot water system?  Phone Mance Electrical Launceston on 6331 4711

Dumbest Place To Install A Light Fitting

Dumbest Place To Install A Light Fitting

Poor Design Leads To Big Repair Bills

The photograph above shows a pretty dubious set up for installing a light fitting in the ceiling at the top of a stairwell. While the initial installation is risky, how on earth is anyone supposed to repair that light in years to come?

After these clowns have finished, a builder will fit a handrail around the walkway and there will be no easy way to get to that light even to do something as simple as replace a blown globe. (more…)

Big Repair Costs For Imported Ovens

Big Repair Costs For Imported Ovens

Big, fancy, imported, stainless steel ovens look great but you may be in for a nasty shock if something goes wrong.

The kitchen magazines and TV renovation shows are full of sleek, modern and often imported ovens that look great in a designer kitchen.  They are often exotic European brands with a luxury look and feel, and a luxury price tag to match.

Problems can arise when spare parts are required.  If the parts are available they could be many times the cost of a similar part for an Australian made oven.

For example, we recently priced a door seal for an imported oven.  An equivalent door seal for an Austrlian oven would cost around $30.  The complete door seal for the imported oven was almost $200.

Even worse, if parts are not available it may not be possible to repair the oven at all.

The more luxurious ovens can have specialist parts such as multi-function switches or digital controllers that are specific to that particular brand or model.  If one of these parts breaks down you need to get the exact replacement part to repair the oven.

There is no way to substitute a switch or controller from another manufacturer.

We have seen clients forced to throw away an otherwise perfectly good and quite expensive oven because there was no replacement multi-function switch available for their Italian made oven.

The well known imported brands should have a good range of spare parts available – for a price.

The situation where most people run into trouble is with the lesser known imported brands.  An importer has brought a couple of containers of ovens into the country and sold them off to home builders and renovators.

After a couple of years the small stock of spares has been used and the brand and model of oven is no longer being imported.  The distributor is now pushing a different brand and isn’t much help to those people who bought their earlier product.

If you’re building a new home or updating your kitchen you should check out the local brands such as Chef and Westinghouse.  You may be surprised to find that they do make a range of modern ovens that look as good as the imported ovens, without the high price tag.  And spare parts will be available in the future at a reasonable price.

For advice, repairs and spare parts for all makes and models of oven, please phone your Launceston electrician, Mance Electrical on 6331 4711.

New LED Exit Lights Save Time And Money

New LED Exit Lights Save Time And Money

Traditional exit lights with fluorescent tubes require a lot of maintenance to ensure they will operate correctly in an emergency.

With the new range of LED exit lights now available it’s usually cheaper to replace a faulty older exit light than it is to repair it.

LED exit lights have many advantages over the older style lights.  They require much less maintenance, are cheaper to purchase, have more reliable batteries and chargers and use much less power.

Power consumption is an important consideration as many exit lights are required to run 24 hours a day.  There are big savings to be made on running costs alone.  The cost savings from lower maintenance requirements are on-going for the life of the fitting, which is considerably longer than for a fluorescent style exit light.

Each new lights come with a range of “running man” style graphics all in the one box.  There is no need to purchase a specific left or right arrow diffuser for each location.  The one fitting can be adapted to suit all situations.

If your commercial property has exit lights they are required to be checked every six months, with a log book on site to record the testing date and any repairs carried out.

For all exit and emergency light installation, testing, repair and replacement in Launceston and surrounding areas, phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

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