Sparks flying

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An unregistered Queens­town sparkie facing a complaint blames a rival’s sour grapes for outing him.

Self-employed Arrow Electrical owner Preston Rogers-Brown admits he’s not registered as required by New Zealand law – he also doesn’t have a current practising licence.

Rogers-Brown, who’s owned the company for four years, claims he gets around this by having a registered electrician issue certificates of compliance for all his work.

“I’ve never ever told anyone, misled anyone, that I am a registered electrician, ’cos I’m not.

“But I’m not going to put my hand up with a flag [saying], ‘Yeah, yeah, I’m an unregistered electrician’.”
Rogers-Brown’s wife Julz says he’s twice failed registration exams by tiny margins.

“He’s been trying to get registered but he’s had a lot of problems with just personal, family and stuff like that, so he hasn’t been really able to study.

“He’s got an exam [on November 21] and I know he’ll pass.”

Rogers-Brown says he’s in the dark about an official complaint against him.

Electrical Workers Registration Board call centre advisor Dalton Bruce, confirming a complaint in March “about several different jobs [Rogers-Brown] did”, can’t reveal the complainant. Rogers-Brown suspects a rival local sparkie he’s had issues with.

“This is what’s absolutely screwed me now – I should have shut my friggin’ mouth.

“I go up to the electrician and say, ‘Hey, mate, I found out what was wrong with this house’.
“It’s bit me on the arse.”

Julz claims her husband’s “come across probably a dozen things in this town that would have killed people”.
Mountain Scene was unable to contact the EWRB registrar to discuss the complaint.

Electrical Contracting Associ­ation of New Zealand boss Neville Simpson says because Rogers-Brown is unregistered, his work will be uninsured.

“The reason it’s important to ensure that people are registered and do have practising licences is because mistakes can kill.”

Told Rogers-Brown uses a registered electrician to sign off his work, Simpson responds: “That person, in order to sign it, has to ensure they know what he’s done – unless they’re watching all the time, how can you possibly know?”

Unimpressed Ross Beale, a former ECANZ president who manages Queenstown company Total Power Services, says: “There’s a real risk to society when people are out there doing this stuff without the relevant registration and licensing.”

Rogers-Brown counters: “Under the correct circumstances and being supervised, it is legal.

“At no stage have I ever done prescribed electrical work without having a registered electrician either working with me or testing the work.

“I have never done one unsafe, dangerous act ever.”

Local registered electrician Paul Bartlett confirms he signs certificates of compliance for work Rogers-Brown performs – “I come in and certify and check it, as per the regulations.”

“I test everything afterwards,” Bartlett says.

“This whole thing is a witchhunt by a certain sparkie that I can’t get my hands on because he won’t show his face, over some substandard work Preston has uncovered at some stage.

“So [this person has] gone to the Registration Board … and the board has said there’s no case to answer.”
Rogers-Brown says his experience comes from 11 years as a sparkie in the Australian navy, finishing as an instructor.

He’d mistakenly thought those qualifications would have enabled him to practise in NZ.

Wife Julz says the registration board “should just give him his qualification”.

“If you’ve seen what he’s got on paper, he’s over-qualified in NZ,” Julz says.