Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne has warned that many lives could be lost in fires caused by sub-standard imports of electrical cable. “This shoddy cable is a threat to British lives and local jobs and we must fight it vigorously” said Mr Huhne. “Buying cheap sub-standard cable is a clear fire risk and could expose builders and wholesalers to actions for negligence or worse”.
Mr Huhne has tabled parliamentary questions on behalf of Prysmian, a major local employer in Bishopstoke that produces EU-tested quality cable. More than a quarter of the electrical fires in England are due to problems with wires, cable and leads to appliances.
In answer to Mr Huhne, government ministers revealed that there were 4,093 fires across England in 2007 that were attributable to faulty wires and cables in homes and businesses. This is 27 per cent of all electrical fires.
“This is a terrible danger and a wholly avoidable problem if people take care to rewire with cable that is made to EU standards rather than buy cheap but dangerous cable from unscrupulous suppliers” said Mr Huhne.
Prysmian engineers have shown Mr Huhne examples of dangerous counterfeit cable which rapidly overheats as soon as current is put through it, presenting fire risk. The cable looks very similar to properly tested and manufactured cable.
Mr Huhne is backing a campaign by Michael Simms, the Director of Energy and Telecom Cables at Prysmian and the President of the British Cables Association, to clamp down on dangerous imports of counterfeit cable.