The following are some of the most frequently asked questions we get when it comes to electrical troubleshooting.

If you’ve lost power you can check out our RCD & SAFETY SWITCH GUIDE HERE.

If your questions are more about the services we offer, payments and our general operations, visit our ABOUT page.

Don’t forget, we’re here if you need to ask us about an electrical job or issue you may be having with your power.


What is a Certificate of Compliance?

A Certificate of Compliance is also known as a COC or ECOC (Electronic Certificate of Compliance). It provides evidence that the electrician who has completed work on your property is appropriately licensed and the work completed has been tested and is proven to be safe. The COC also confirms that the electrical work complies with necessary regulations and rules, and the applicable Australian Standards. The COC will also indicate any existing safety problems with your installation. It is a permanent legal record for the job. Your COC will be emailed or posted to you with our invoice at the completion of the job. A COC needs to be completed for any electrical work undertaken at your property. If you do not have a COC and a related incident causes a fire or damage your insurance company may not accept your claim.

What is the difference between a circuit breaker (or fuse) and a safety switch and why do I need one?

Your safety switch in your switchboard will protect people from electrical accidents. It will monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit and will instantly activate if it detects the possibility of an electric shock.

A circuit breaker (which also sits in your switchboard), provides protection for your electrical circuits. The breaker will cut power if it detects a high current fault or an overload (for example too many appliances could be plugged into a power point or power board). By cutting the power it can prevent electrocution or fire.   This combination of circuit breakers and safety switches will protect both the people and appliances within your home and business premises.

What does tag and testing involve?

Electrical equipment within the workplace needs to be visually inspected and electronically tested to ensure that it remains OH&S complaint and safeguards your workplace and people. The process of checking the safety of electrical appliances is called Test and Tag. This two part process involves visually inspecting the electrical equipment for any damage, and then electrically testing it with a Portable Appliance Tester. Once the electrical equipment has been tested, a tag is placed on the equipment to confirm it has been tested. The tag indicates the equipment has been tested, the date of testing, who tested it and when the next test is due.

BCS Electrical provide Tagging and Testing services by a licenced electrician and will provide a Certificate of Compliance report (COC) detailing the results of the Tag and Testing for your records. We can come to your premises to tag and test your onsite electrical equipment. Our charge for this service is $7.70 including GST per item with a minimum charge of 10 items.

We also can test and tag your RCD’s (Safety Switches) and if there are any issues where an item fails, we can install a replacement RCD (Safety Switch) ensuring your property is electrically safe and undertake any minor repairs as required.

We also offer a 90 minute test on existing exit and emergency lighting.

You can also bring your equipment to our showroom at 6 Lincoln Park Drive. Victor Harbor. Our charge is $6.60 including GST per item and there is no minimum charge. We do recommend calling to arrange a time if you require your electrical equipment tagged and tested immediately. Otherwise we will tag and test your equipment within 5 business days.

Do I need a smoke alarm?

The following statement appears on the South Australian Government website:

All South Australian homes must be fitted with a working smoke alarm. Homeowners and residential landlords are responsible for making sure they are working and installed correctly. The type of smoke alarm you need depends on when you bought the property or its age. Fines of up to $750 apply if alarms are not installed.

The Metropolitan Fire Service also provide a pdf on smoke alarm legislation which details what type of smoke alarm you require in your premises.

Click here for a link to their website for details: You may also find the PDS (Product Disclosure Statement) of your house and contents insurance policy indicates that you must have a working smoke alarm for your insurance to be valid.

How can I tell if my smoke alarm is mains powered or battery only?

Check if your smoke alarm has a green light glowing. If it does then your smoke alarm is mains powered.

How can I tell if the smoke alarm has expired?

In general smoke alarms have a label on them indicating an expiry date or manufacture date. The date is usually located near the battery. Smoke alarms have a life of 10 years. Contact BCS Electrical if you require your smoke alarms replaced or if you would like to update your battery smoke alarms to mains powered smoke alarms.

How often do I need to replace the battery in my smoke alarm?

The batteries in smoke alarms need to be replaced once a year. A good reminder is to replace your batteries on the first day of the year or when the clocks go forward every year. Set the date to replace your smoke alarm batteries as something that is easy to remember for you.

Can I do my own electrical wiring in South Australia?

As detailed on the SA Government website, only licensed electricians can do work on electrical appliances or electrical installations. This applies to most work on your property (home, rental property, business, caravan or boat). Click here for further details on the SA Government website. If you do electrical work without a license, you may receive a fine and it can also be extremely dangerous for you and result in serious injury, or even death. It is also worth noting that Insurance companies may not cover fire or personal injury claims caused by do-it-yourself electrical work. Ensure that your licenced tradesperson holds an appropriate South Australian Trade licence and provides you with a certificate of compliance (COC). For more information on COC’s click here.

Are LED lights better than incandescent?

You will see that LED lights are more expensive to purchase than incandescent lights. However they are more efficient. They can last up to 50,000 hours instead of 1,200 hours, and they can also have a lower operating cost which is great for people “going green” and for our power bills. Talk to BCS Electrical about updating for light fittings to LEDs.

My power has gone out? What do I do now?

First thing to do is check if your neighbours still have power. If they don’t then the issue could be an outage in your area. Check on the SAPN site for information about outages. You can register for SA Power Networks free messaging service at Power@MyPlace to receive messages about power outages via SMS or email. If you are the only home without power then check your meter box to see if any of the main switches or circuit breakers tripped. If they have you can follow our RCD Fault finding guide. Note – your RCDs won’t trip without power. This guide can assist with the simple detection of whether an issue could be an electrical fault or an appliance fault. Please contact BCS Electrical if you have any electrical issues and do not attempt to repair an electrical fault yourself. Remember that electricity can be dangerous when not respected and used correctly. This guide is not a substitute for a licenced electrician. BCS Electrical are happy to assist with all your electrical needs and requirements.

I only have part power and lights? What do I do?

If you have lights but no power points working, so power in only half your home, follow our RCD Fault finding guide. This guide can assist with the simple detection of whether an issue could be an electrical fault or an appliance fault. Please contact BCS Electrical if you have any electrical issues and do not attempt to repair an electrical fault yourself. Remember that electricity can be dangerous when not respected and used correctly. This guide is not a substitute for a licenced electrician. BCS Electrical are happy to assist with all your electrical needs and requirements.

I lost power but now it’s back on, my oven isn’t heating?

Firstly check your manual or Google your oven model. Many ovens have a reset button or even a series of buttons that need to be pushed in order for your oven to work again. This can be to reset the automatic timer on your oven in order for it to work again. If your oven is still under warranty then you may want to call the manufacturer for advice. Otherwise call us at BCS Electrical and we can arrange for an Electrician to attend your property.

My sensor light won’t turn off?

Check to see if you still have the user guide that came with the sensor. This will give you the details on how to reset the timing. You may find the timing for your sensor is set at 30 minutes. You can check to see if your sensor has a manual reset switch. Or the sensor light has an override, turn the light off for 10-15 seconds, then on again. This should reset the light. You can also reset the light via the circuit breaker. Or you can call us at BCS Electrical. We can make a time to come out and reset the timing on your sensor.

What is a surge diverter or surge protection?

A surge protector or as some people know it, surge protection can help to protect your electronic equipment. It will divert excess voltages that can occur from an electrical surge to earth by measuring the volts coming in and then once it reaches a set amount the protector diverts the excess volts to earth