The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) has released the complete results of its 2014 Counterfeit Electrical Products Survey, which was developed to measure the awareness and response to the presence of counterfeit electrical products among several sectors of the electrical industry. The results reveal critical information about the observations, attitudes and perceptions of those who manufacture, distribute, install, and inspect electrical products.

Over the past decade, U.S. seizures of counterfeit products have increased more than 325%.  Consumer electronics were the top commodity seized in 2011, with a value of nearly $40 million. Counterfeit electrical products pose significant safety hazards if left undetected, and have been to cause deaths, injuries and substantial property loss in the home and the workplace.

ESFI developed the survey to effectively gauge the issue and utilized partner organizations to provide a balanced sampling across all sectors of the electrical industry including the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI), National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED), and National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

“Counterfeit electrical products don’t just have serious implications for the electrical industry, but they also endanger everyone who uses electricity,” said ESFI president Brett Brenner. “We developed this survey to better understand this complex problem so we could mobilize the electrical industry to work toward a solution.”

An overwhelming 96 percent of respondents believe that counterfeits are at least a moderate threat to public safety, yet only half reported a counterfeit electrical product upon discovery. Further, a strong majority of respondents reported that they do not have a process in place to report a counterfeit product. Other key findings included:

  • Almost 55% of respondents believe their company does not provide adequate training about the issues related to counterfeit products;
  • Of those who have discovered a counterfeit electrical product reported finding five, on average, in the last 12 months.
  • Lighting, breakers and “other” items such as appliances, signs and ground rods were the most frequently reported counterfeit products discovered.

“Effectively combating the counterfeit electrical product problem will require a collaborative effort among stakeholders from all industry sectors as well as cooperation from consumers.” said Evan Gaddis, President and CEO of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. “We commend ESFI for spearheading this important effort and for uniting industry stakeholders to help champion this important cause.”

The complete results of ESFI’s 2014 Counterfeit Electrical Products Survey are now available and can be viewed on ESFI’s website at www.esfi.org. The survey kicks off ESFI’s “Zero Tolerance for Counterfeits” campaign that aims to educate and enhance awareness of counterfeit electrical products among the public and industry stakeholders. The campaign was made possible through contributions from Eaton, Hubbell Incorporated, and Underwriters Laboratories.

ESFI