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Footscray company and its director prosecuted for dangerous electrical wiring setup

Wednesday 19 July 2023 at 11:22 pm

A Footscray alternative energy engineering company and its director have been prosecuted after it contravened an Energy Safe Victoria direction to disconnect a dangerous electrical installation, using 12-volt batteries.

Hydroxygas Pty Ltd and its director Renaud Kobrynski, were found guilty of failing to comply with an Energy Safe direction, specifically by re-connecting an unsafe electrical installation. 

They were convicted and fined $50,000 and $10,000 respectively in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 10 July, following a four-day hearing.

Mr Kobrynski was also found guilty of undertaking electrical work without an electrical licence.

Energy Safe carried out an investigation at the company’s Footscray factory after receiving a complaint in November 2021.

The investigation found serious electrical safety issues in the factory, including unsafe wiring and switchboards.

A battery energy storage system (BESS) made out of a large quantity of 12-volt batteries installed inside a shipping container was also connected to the main switchboard of the factory. 

Energy Safe disconnected the BESS and the relevant electricity distribution company cut off power supply to the factory.

However, Mr Kobrynski, who is not a licensed electrical worker in the State of Victoria, then reconnected the BESS to the main electrical switchboard. Energy Safe was alerted to this and again disconnected the BESS.

Energy Safe CEO Leanne Hughson said it was fortunate no one was injured by both the initial setup and Mr Kobrynski’s decision to reconnect the BESS.

“Our investigation highlighted that the factory was not a safe working environment for its employees,” Ms Hughson said.

“It is very disappointing that Mr Kobrynski chose to disobey Energy Safe’s direction to disconnect the unsafe battery energy storage system.

“Energy Safe will throw the book at anyone who ignores a direction in an unsafe electrical situation.

“This example should serve as a warning to any individuals or companies that choose to cut corners on safety and carry out electrical work without an electrical licence.”

Details: esv.vic.gov.au.

Media contact: Adrian Bernecich 0437 729 194