Spur from Ring

11 Feb 2009
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United Kingdom

I want to put an electricity meter in each bedroom of our house and connect all the sockets (doubles) in that bedroom to the meter so we can calculate electricity usage per room.

I propose disconnecting the ring main wires from the existing sockets, and reconnecting the ring wires using junction boxes, I then take a Spur from one junction box install a 13amp FCU and then from that have two double sockets in a radial circuit.

This circuit should allow say a 1.5kw heater, TV and PC to be used ??

Thanks Rob
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Sorry, its no help to your problem but i was just curious to the device you propose installing have you got some info on it?
As an electrician, I have to ask on behalf of my fellow tradespeople - WHY?

What point are you going to all that trouble to prove and will it really be worth all the effort?

Seems like a lot of trouble for no readily apparent good reason to me, all LABC notifiable work that will need testing and certifying.

Unless, of course, this is actually a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) and each room is to let/rented out - in which case there are lots of regulations you will have to comply with, for fire safety if nothing else.
I want to put an electricity meter in each bedroom of our house and connect all the sockets (doubles) in that bedroom to the meter so we can calculate electricity usage per room.

Is it really so much hardship to add up the devices you have?

For instance, my bedroom:

Speaker kit: 50w
Monitor: 100w
PC: 250w nom
Lamp: 11w
Router: 5w
sky box standby: 2w

total: 418w

call it 500w nominal.

now, at 12p per kw average (you'll be using averages too, unless you only have one rate, ours is first y amount at x and the rest at x-5)

12 x 0.5 = 6 pence per hour.

This took me 5 mins to work out and type.

Altering your circuits as you propose is notifiable and the cost of metering equipment would be prohibitive.
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Thanks for your speedy replies.
OK here's the reasoning, I dont think I'm being unreasonable.

Yes there are 4 tenants sharing, but its not an HMO that requires licensing.

I have modern full Gorgi tested Gas Central heating with big rads in each room that keeps the house nice and warm, but this does not seem enough for some tenants.
3 of my tenants are foreign and come from a nice warm country and have 2.5 kw heaters in their rooms, when you walk past an open door the heat that escapes is 'oven like'.
I have been letting for 5 years, and in my experience tenants from warmer climates need to have room temperatures that I and other natives find quite uncomfortable.
The agreement is for all bills included, but after receiving an electricity bill of £250 for just the last 30 days enough is enough, its time for each tenant to pay for what he uses, an amendment will be made to the Occupancy agreement (they do not have Assured Shorthold Agreed Tenancies) and I will charge for the units of electricity used.

So ...

I propose buying second hand electricity meters from Universal Meter Services at about £5 each.
A few metres of cable for each room, plus equal length of rigid trunking, few screws and rawl plugs.
Bit if drilling and screwing and its job done.
Probably seems like a lot of work, but once its done its done, and I dont think energy costs are going to get drastically cheaper, if at all.

Coming back to my original question, the meter will be the first item on the spur, then will come the FCU and then the sockets, is that the right order of wiring for this arrangement.
As a landlord please do the right thing and use an electrician, or easier still divide the cost of the bill equally between the 4 people, I'm sure that will be enough to make them more energy conscious!
I will be doing the work myself, but for a small charge will get it certified by a qualified spark.

All the shared accommodation around here seems to be bills included, and here in London I'm sure I'm not the only landlord with this issue (ie tenants from warmer climates), to share the bill is unfair on my other tenant and me (I live here too) - there's no accountability when its simply all bills included - electricity will now have to be charged for separately.

Back to the main question: am I right to go off the ring as a radial circuit in this order:
FCU | meter | socket | socket

Many thanks
Good luck trying to find a spark to certify work they haven't done themselves, lets face it your not going to do that anyway and are just saying it for our sake. I'm glad I'm not one of your tenants who will soon be living in a possibly unsafe environment.

I'll say it one last time, be a responsible landlord and get a professional in to do the work! I'm sick and tired of seeing people cut corners and put lives at risk all to save themselves money.
Well said danniboi! Even an electrician who's scheme provider does let them certify someone else's work will usually only certify another electricians' work not a dodgy DIY job!. They wouldn't touch a job like this with the proverbial bargepole, coz of the potential liability if anything goes wrong.

Good luck with notifying your LABC dept. of this work and getting it approved & certified!

Frank - It only just falls short of being a HMO by virtue of the fact you live there, in all other respects it is - check here;

I propose buying second hand electricity meters from Universal Meter Services at about £5 each.

That really wont't do. You will be using the readings from these meters to calculate what your tenants will pay, so they will need to be accurate and calibrated. You will also need to prove they are accurate when your tenants complain about the amount of electricity they have apparently used.
You will also have to prove to them that you are not charging them more per unit than you are paying yourself.

A 13A spur is not likely to work either - a 2.5kW heater will use well over 10A of that, and then they plug in a kettle - pop goes the fuse, and you will then have to replace it.
Depending on the wiring in the property, you may be exceeding the maximum load of the socket circuit already. 3x 2.5kW heaters is enough to overload a 32A ring circuit.
The meters are modern, tested and zero'd, and are the same as i have downstairs from EDF energy - fitted 4 years ago, I will point this out to my tenants.
At worst the meters would only be a few % points out in accuracy - assuming 5% worse case - then the tenant will have to over pay by £5 in a £100 (or I lose £5 depending) ... its not a big deal.
I feel competent enough to do the wiring ... so it will be done, I already have a spark who has visited and said he will certify the work.

I will limit the tenants to a 1.0kw heater each, giving a 4.16A current ... that should leave enough for a PC and TV and occasional hoover use in each room. I will use 2.5 cable with a 16A FCU on the one spur per room.
The spurs (2 downstairs, 3 upstairs) will come off one of two rings (one upstairs, one downstairs), each ring being protected by a 32A MCB, I understand that a constant loading should not exceed 60% of this rating, but by my calculations everything should be fine - worse case is 3x heaters + TV's, PC's, Hairdryer and hoover on at anytime, although on each ring is one of us who do not use a heater.

I have checked with my local council who state my property does not require licensing.
I saw a similar problem on a caravan site. Cure was to limit supply to 5 amp.

But far less work to fit TRV in each room so each can heat room to what they want.

Having rooms too hot does not cost too much as long as only heating room. Real problem is when heating on full and window is open.

You would need to basically rewire the house using a radial system and a different circuit to each room.

I would think a talk to tenants is first step.
I feel competent enough to do the wiring ... so it will be done, I already have a spark who has visited and said he will certify the work.

So who is notifying your Local Authority Building Control Dept. (LABC) of the works then, as this is all Part P notifiable work?

If your "spark" is a registered member of a Part P scheme (and thus qualified AND certified as a "competent person") then he notifies via his scheme provider, but he has to do the work - he can't be certifying the work of a non-competent person (i.e. you). Only NICEIC allow you to certify another persons work, and even then ONLY the work of another "competent person" (i.e a trained sparky), not an amateur DIYer!! (however "competent" they feel)

If he isn't a member of a Part P scheme then you have to notify your LABC directly BEFORE work commences so they can inspect at all stages.

Sorry, but IMO you AREN'T a "competent person" to do this work, under Part P definitions or BS7671 17th Edition IEE wiring regulations. If your "sparky" certifies your work then he IS breaking the law.
To OP, why have you even bothered asking this question if you are not going to heed the advice given to you?

What a complete waste of our time.
I have spoken to my local council who say its non notifiable work.
I've now read that a fused spur from a ring is not an 'Electrical Installation' and does not require an Electrical Installation Certificate - it is classed as 'Minor Works', which means that a 'Qualified Person' can inspect my work and issue a certificate, where as with an 'Electrical Installation' a Qualified person cannot issue a certificate for work that they have not carried out.
Am I right ?, please tell me otherwise.

I have decided on prepayment meters (Ofgem approved), the tenant buys a card from me charged with £10 or £20 of electricity.
I have spoken to two of my heater using tenants and they understand why its being done, and they agree its the fairest way for me to deal with a difficult situation. I will charge the same pence per unit charge I am levied by my utility company. I'll talk this through with my other tenant when he gets back from Africa next week, I think the job of reasoning is now made easier as two of the tenants are now on board.

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