Swapping Old Fuse Box for New CU

Joined
1 Jun 2005
Messages
188
Reaction score
1
Country
United Kingdom
My Mums 1980's bungalow has an old 4 way Fuse box so it's about time it was swapped out for a new Consumer Unit.

I've had a look around and there is no earth from the Fuse box to the water pipes or the oil feed pipe for the Oil Central heating so those would need earth straps too.

She had a Smart Electric meter fitted about 2 months ago and the tails come from that to the Fuse box. I'm not sure how thick the tails are but on the assumption they need changing to meet current 25mm thickness regs, is a qualified electrician allowed to cut the security wire/tag on the Smart Meter to get at the terminals and replace with a new wire/tag when done ?

There is also a security wire/tag on the master 100 amp(?) fuse cover going into the Smart meter.

What is the minimum / ideal qualifications I should look for when choosing an electrician for the CU swap .. NICEIC, NAPIT, Part P registered etc as I want an Installation Certificate when the jobs done then I know it's done to regs.

thanks
 
Sponsored Links
Joined
10 Mar 2007
Messages
10,354
Reaction score
2,114
Location
Poole, Dorset
Country
United Kingdom
s a qualified electrician allowed to cut the security wire/tag on the Smart Meter to get at the terminals and replace with a new wire/tag when done ?
No, but in reality it is often done.
The 'proper' way is to have the DNO disconnect the supply by removing the fuse, then returning later to replace and reseal it.
Meters are dealt with by your supplier - almost always an entirely separate unrelated company.

What is the minimum / ideal qualifications I should look for when choosing an electrician for the CU swap
None of them, some of them, all of them.
Qualifications can be obtained in several ways - by people doing things properly and actually having the appropriate level of experience and knowledge. Or someone who has never picked up a screwdriver in their life can pay £5000 and do a 6 week course and get all the qualifications available.
There are many different qualifications, some current and others obsolete. None of them are required.

NICEIC, NAPIT, Part P registered etc
Those are organisations which people can pay money to in order to register work with building control.
Membership of such things is determined by paying the fee and having certain qualifications.
Quality of work is unrelated. Membership of such schemes is not compulsory.
 
Joined
1 Jun 2005
Messages
188
Reaction score
1
Country
United Kingdom
No, but in reality it is often done.
The 'proper' way is to have the DNO disconnect the supply by removing the fuse, then returning later to replace and reseal it.
Meters are dealt with by your supplier - almost always an entirely separate unrelated company

So only the Power Company can re-instate the security seal ?

Do self employed electricians just cut the seal and leave it off after completion ?

Thanks for the Qualification explanation .. seems like you pays your money and takes your chance !
 
Joined
12 Jan 2008
Messages
8,609
Reaction score
960
Location
Essex
Country
United Kingdom
Yes ,only the power company have the correct seals and tool to fit a new seal, legally anyway, the old seal does not get reused
 
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
38,274
Reaction score
4,630
Location
Retired to:
Country
Portugal
I've had a look around and there is no earth from the Fuse box to the water pipes or the oil feed pipe for the Oil Central heating so those would need earth straps too.
Not earth straps but bonding conductors.
They may not be necessary. Your electrician should know if they are or not.

I'm not sure how thick the tails are but on the assumption they need changing to meet current 25mm thickness regs,
There is no such current requirement.

There is also a security wire/tag on the master 100 amp(?) fuse cover going into the Smart meter.
The 100A is a maximum rating. There could be a 60A fuse inside.
 
Joined
1 Jun 2005
Messages
188
Reaction score
1
Country
United Kingdom
Thanks guys. I just did a Google and apparently Smart Meters have a tamper proof switch inside so unless an electrician knows how to deal with those after cutting the security wire, I'm thinking if there is no requirement to upgrade to 25mm tails, ask him if he's going to use the old ones. It's only a 2 bed small bungalow and she lives on her own so it can't have a big draw if she switched every appliance and socket on, especially if it has a 60a main fuse.

The other thing I read is concern about pulling the 60/100a fuse, could it send the Smart Meter into a spin / standby / lockout when powered back up again ? Beginning to wish I'd had the CU swapped out before the Smart Meter was installed.
 
Sponsored Links
Joined
27 Aug 2003
Messages
69,757
Reaction score
2,884
Location
London
Country
United Kingdom
Thanks for the Qualification explanation .. seems like you pays your money and takes your chance !
As ever, personal recommendations are always the best way to find a reputable tradesman, but if you're having to go ahead without much in the way of those, or references, don't put any store by registration itself - sadly it is possible to become registered with woefully inadequate qualifications and zero practical experience. You don't have to spend long here to see people cropping up who are registered and "qualified", but who are clearly seriously incompetent in reality and who should not be charging for their services.

You are looking for someone to replace a CU, and it may surprise and dismay you to learn that it is quite possible to become a "Competent Person" without ever having done that before, and without having acquired any of the practical skills needed to do it.

It's your or your Mum's money, £'00s of it, and you have every right to ask prospective tradesmen what their qualifications and experience are. Just being listed here is not a good enough guide. No genuinely experienced electrician, with the "full set" of C&G qualifications will mind you asking - in fact he will wish that everyone was like you.

I feel sorry for people who have been misled by training organisations and (shamefully) the Competent Person scheme organisers into thinking that a 5-day training course, a couple of trivial examples of their work and some basic understanding of how to use test equipment will make them an electrician, but not sorry enough to agree with them trying to sell their services to Joe Public.
 
Joined
27 Aug 2003
Messages
69,757
Reaction score
2,884
Location
London
Country
United Kingdom
apparently Smart Meters have a tamper proof switch inside
Can't see why one would be needed re access to the outgoing tails.


The other thing I read is concern about pulling the 60/100a fuse, could it send the Smart Meter into a spin / standby / lockout when powered back up again ?
If that were the case, what would happen when there was a power cut?
 
Last edited:
Joined
11 Jan 2010
Messages
7,606
Reaction score
606
Location
London
Country
United Kingdom
Beginning to wish I'd had the CU swapped out before the Smart Meter was installed.

No doubt you will soon be regretting getting the smart meter as well. If you change your supplier it will no longer be smart. No doubt your mother was lied to to get her to have it. They don't save money either as the unit charge is not reduced.
 
Joined
4 Jan 2009
Messages
5,956
Reaction score
598
Location
Herefordshire
Country
United Kingdom
when the fuse is pulled or a power cut ococurs, a message is sent to say there is a power interruption.

Either for automatic reporting and to automatically locate it down to a transformer/phase/fuse/cable

or for tampering reasons if its only 1 house reports the problem
 
Joined
1 Jun 2005
Messages
188
Reaction score
1
Country
United Kingdom
when the fuse is pulled or a power cut ococurs, a message is sent to say there is a power interruption.

Either for automatic reporting and to automatically locate it down to a transformer/phase/fuse/cable

or for tampering reasons if its only 1 house reports the problem

So if the electrician pulls the main fuse to swap out the CU and replaces it, is there going to be an issue with the power company / supplier ? Someone going to turn up or call wanting to know what's going on ?
 
Joined
25 Mar 2011
Messages
2,476
Reaction score
326
Location
Devon
Country
United Kingdom
So if the electrician pulls the main fuse to swap out the CU and replaces it, is there going to be an issue with the power company / supplier ? Someone going to turn up or call wanting to know what's going on ?
Yes, there have been a few cases when the supplier has visited houses when the main fuse has been pulled or cover removed for tails swap.

If you have a smart meter you will need to pay the supplier to do a disconnection/reconnection or have an isolator fitted.
Which should of course be done even if a smart meter is not fitted...
 
Sponsored Links
Top