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Replacing Old Supply - Questions

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by andrewc1, 29 Aug 2011.

  1. andrewc1

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    Hello,

    I hope this isn't a silly question, but if it is, please bear with me as I'm not an electrician and I've only started learning about these things recently.

    Along with the other three residents, we're jointly responsible for the maintenance of the common areas of my block of flats. Electrically, there's not much in the common areas - some lights, one 13A socket and a door entry system.

    In looking around the basement, it seems that the electricity supply for the common areas comes via the meter into the bottom of a metal box, which I gather is called a cutout. This box looks to be iron (as it looks rusted), has a metal up/down switch, has its cover missing, and has two ceramic 15A fuseholders - one for live and one for neutral. And directly above, three cables are connected - 3 live wires to live terminal, 3 neutral wires to neutral terminal. These cables are the lighting/entry circuits - there is no consumer unit.

    From what I've gathered, I should phone UK Power Networks and they'll come out and replace this whole setup with something more 21st century. However I'm concerned that when they come, they might say that what is on our side of the cutout is unsafe, and as a consequence disconnect us from the mains.

    So I guess I'm basically asking two questions:
    - Is our side of this setup safe/within regulation?
    - And secondly, if something is wrong, will the engineer cut us off? If this is probable, should we first contact an electrician to fix our side before involving the DNO?

    Thanks for reading this, and all advice will be much appreciated.
     
  2. flameport

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    If this box is after the meter, then it is your responsibility to maintain or replace it.
    Your supplier will only replace items before the meter.

    Pictures of the equipment will help.
     
  3. westie101

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    Any thing before the meter is the responsibility of UK Power Networks. Anything after the meter is the customer's responsibility.

    A photo would be useful
     
  4. Spark1964

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    - Is our side of this setup safe/within regulation?

    Sounds like it isn't I'm afraid. If you have a switchfuse that has no cover and no circuit separation / protection then chances are it is pretty old and quite possibly dangerous.

    Are you the joint owner of the property or a tenant, as if you are the latter, then no tenancy agreement should place the owness of electrical safety on you.

    If you are the owner then you really should get this looked at by a pro - again pics would help.

    2nd point on cut off bt the REC - Unlikely from what you have said but if the installation is seriously dangerous then this is a possibility.

    The sensible thing to do is get it inspected asap, then decide who is responsible.
     
  5. securespark

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  6. ericmark

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    My understanding is before one can make a dwelling uninhabitable one has to ensure there is alternative accommodation for the inhabitants. To remove the electric supply is considered as making the dwelling uninhabitable so is not done without very good reason. It is therefore unlikely that the DNO would remove the supply and if they did then it would be very dangerous so not a bad thing anyway.

    However it seems unlikely the faults are on DNO side of the meter so I would get an electrician to look at it first.

    Although one may get neutral links it is unlikely the neutral is fused. To fuse the neutral can be dangerous.
     
  7. OwainDIYer

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    Double-pole fusing was routine until about WW2.
     
  8. andrewc1

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    Thanks to everyone for their replies. I'll put up a photo when I get home tonight.

    In response to securespark, the box we have looks much older than the link. And in response to Spark1964, I am a leaseholder, and the leaseholders are collectively responsible for building maintenance, so ultimately it does become my problem.
     
  9. andrewc1

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    Photos of the bottom of the meter

    and of the cutout

    I hope they're clear enough, if not I can enlarge them and upload with better quality.
     
  10. westie101

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    That's not the cut-out. Sadly that is "your" property so sadly your problem.
    As has been suggested you need to get an electrician in immediately

    (if DNO staff saw that they would at the very least give you legal notice to get it sorted)
     
  11. RF Lighting

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    It might be prudent to have the DNO pay a visit too. The trebling up on the meter input isn't too clever.

    We could do with a wider photo showing everything in one shot if possible.
     
  12. dormermike

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    Jesus that looks lethal
     
  13. ban-all-sheds

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    It is.

    Electrician needed as a matter of urgency.
     
  14. andrewc1

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    Thanks again to everyone for the replies. I guess it's pretty clear what needs to happen next.

    I was thinking about pulling that metal lever down to shut off the electricity so that I could add in a light switch (!) into one of the circuits, but not any more. In fact I'm now afraid to touch any part of this setup.
     

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