Clean energy regulator investigation leads to power company conviction

A Canberra electricity retail company has been convicted and fined $9,000 for providing false or misleading documents under the Small-Scale Renewable Energy (SRES) scheme following a an investigation by the clean energy regulator.

B and J Finnigan Pty Ltd (trading as A1 Electrical) was found to have engaged in 14 different acts of fraudulent behavior between March and July 2019. The company submitted compliance documents which incorrectly recorded the sole director Bradley Finnigan as the installer responsible for the solar systems despite him being overseas at the time.

At sentencing, the ACT magistrate fined the company $9,000, up from $12,000 previously, due to his early guilty plea. Bradley Finnigan has also had his Clean Energy Council (CEC) accreditation revoked for a period of 12 months.

The clean energy regulator’s chief compliance officer, Piet Powell, said A1 Electrical’s actions represented a clear violation of regulations.

“The company provided Small Scale Technology Certificate (STC) award forms to an agent who then used this information to create 429 STCs worth over $15,000.

“Each STC assignment form incorrectly recorded Bradley Finnigan as the responsible CEC Accredited Installer despite being overseas and completely unable to do so.

“We expect all information provided to us to be truthful and correct, and we have zero tolerance for willful fraud or non-compliance.”

Ms Powell said compliance is a top priority for the Clean Energy Regulator.

“The Clean Energy Regulator is committed to ensuring businesses and consumers can have confidence in the Australian solar industry.

“Solar industry participants are reminded that any fraudulent behavior is treated seriously and may be subject to criminal, civil or administrative action.”

In December 2021, amendments to the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001 were enacted. The amendments respond to the Australian Government’s response to the recommendations made in the Clean Energy Regulator’s Rooftop Solar PV Sector Integrity Review and, importantly, give the Clean Energy Regulator additional powers to prevent installers and designers, retailers and components from participating in SRES.

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