Who do I get to change my meter tails?

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by pjo123, 22 Nov 2018.

  1. pjo123

    pjo123

    Joined:
    16 Jul 2006
    Messages:
    116
    Thanks Received:
    1
    Location:
    Norfolk
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Hi, just had a faulty meter replaced (faulty in that I had no electric) and while he was at it, he replaced the sealed fuses and the tails coming from the fuses to the meter.

    He gave me a warning notice that the tails going into the fusebox are only 16mm and I should get them upgraded.

    Googling, I'm a bit confused. Some web sites say I cant just go and book a local electrician, others say as it's left the meter, I can.

    Can a qualified electrician say whats correct please, and if I can't use a local electrician, do I phone my elec supplier, or the DNO supplier for my area?

    Many thanks
     
  2. Sponsored Links
  3. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

    Joined:
    7 Jul 2010
    Messages:
    37,790
    Thanks Received:
    4,252
    Location:
    Retired to:
    Country:
    Portugal
    Depends.

    Has he replaced an 80A fuse with a 100A fuse unnecessarily - causing that to be the case?

    Or

    Does he just not know what he is talking about?
     
  4. Notch7

    Notch7

    Joined:
    15 Sep 2017
    Messages:
    26,068
    Thanks Received:
    1,823
    Location:
    S. Uplands
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    local electrician.
     
  5. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

    Joined:
    28 Jul 2009
    Messages:
    5,854
    Thanks Received:
    451
    Location:
    Kent
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    If they are terminated in the meter, which should have seals on the screws, then you will need someone who is authorised to break the seals then fit new seals at the end of the job.
    In this area it is difficult finding anyone other than DNO/meter fitters.
    As the meter fitter issued the notice, they should be prepared to attend FOC to reseal after your contractor has completed the job, but don't hold your breath...
     
  6. JohnW2

    JohnW2

    Joined:
    28 Jan 2011
    Messages:
    49,122
    Thanks Received:
    3,241
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Everyone (other than EFLI) appears to be assuming that the work is necessary, As EFLI said, if the service fuse is 80A or less (which is likely), then the existing 16mm² tails are fine. If the fuse is ≤80A and the DNO and/or supplier are not happy with 16mm² tails with that, then I think the changing of the tails is 'their problem'.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  7. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

    Joined:
    7 Jul 2010
    Messages:
    37,790
    Thanks Received:
    4,252
    Location:
    Retired to:
    Country:
    Portugal
    There is the fact that IF he has increased the rating to 100A then, with 16mm² tails, he should NOT have done so.
    It does not appear that the OP has asked for this to be done, so -

    I suspect he is just saying that because people who don't know what they are talking about seem to think - possibly because of poor publications which are available - that all tails should be 25mm² these days.
     
  8. JohnW2

    JohnW2

    Joined:
    28 Jan 2011
    Messages:
    49,122
    Thanks Received:
    3,241
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Quite so. In fact, I'm not even sure that any 'meter changers' have the authority to change cutout fuses to one of a different (particularly a higher) rating, even if the tails could support that change.
    Indeed so.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  9. AndyPRK

    AndyPRK

    Joined:
    4 Jan 2009
    Messages:
    5,931
    Thanks Received:
    596
    Location:
    Herefordshire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Have you got electric showers? 1? 2?

    has an overload caused the meter to fail ? maybe an old meter only rated for 60A if they existed?
     
  10. Sponsored Links
  11. pjo123

    pjo123

    Joined:
    16 Jul 2006
    Messages:
    116
    Thanks Received:
    1
    Location:
    Norfolk
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Hi, thanks all.

    Had a weird power cut a few weeks ago, lights flickered on and off for about a min before power went out. One of my neighbours lost theirs, the shop a few doors away lost 1/2 of their lights, and it seemed to affect random houses up and down the road.

    It was fixed about 5am (as got woken up by TV coming on) but my meter (economy 7 prepayment) was now blank.

    Phoned up EDF, they currently don't do smart meters for economy 7 prepayment, and as I had electricity, I wasn't classed as an emergency, and they were very short of repayment meters and earliest they could come was 3rd Dec (this was on 25th October). I asked about my bills during that period, and they replied that as I was on a prepayment meter, I would get free electric until it was replaced.

    Which was very nice except it turned really cold, had an oil radiator on in the living room all day to keep one room nice, but the meter didn't switch to economy 7 hence my storage heaters didn't come on. Still, free electric, I'm not complaining.

    Around 8am today my electric went out, had a look at the meter, it was blank, but could hear a buzzing from the old big metal relay thingy.

    Phoned EDF up, they said they would have someone within 3 hrs.

    Phoned 3 1/2 hrs later, they apologised, put me on hold, then said the company that replaces the meter cant get the guy to answer his phone, but I'm definitely on his list, then said they would raise an enquiry into the time and I might be libel for compensation (£30 I believe) which is nice.

    Guy turns up, takes a look at the wiring, said he's not happy with it or the old contactor and said while it might be OK, he isn't going to change the meter only to find out that's the contactors also bad, so he put in a different meter with a built in contactor. He removed the old one, replaced the two old chunky sealed black fuses with modern ones and replaced all the meter tails into the fuse box and into the sealed fuses with new blue and brown cables that I think are a lot thicket than what was there already.

    He did a lot of work, and did a very neat and tidy job, and put a test plug in a socket to check all was OK

    But he said he cant touch my fusebox, I need to get someone else in there, and it has 16mm tails and a 100A fuse, and one had a part with only single insulation showing.

    I asked him if it was safe, I got the impression reading between the lines that he was saying he has to report it (took pics) and while it might be safe, it isn't up to current standards and as I've had a warning, if there was say an electrical fire, the insurance company could use it as an excuse not to pay out.

    All electric house. Economy 7 storage heaters on different fusebox.

    Main fusebox has immersion heater (on overnight only, megaflow unit that stays hot all day) , towel rail in bathroom (on for a couple of hrs a day) , my workshop (on non RCD side as has it's own fusebox, biggest thing in there is a small lathe) and everything else is the usual cooker, kettle, TV, PC etc.

    Showers mains fed pressure via megaflow etc.

    Of course the next question someones going to ask is who on earth changed the fusebox without changing the tails. On that question, I'm not saying a word

    I will get someone in for a quote

    The only odd possible coincidence is that the landing light bulb had gone when the power finally came back, had to change the bulb (it might have been on this morning when the power went out) . In the past when it had the old style bulbs, if it blew, it would often trip the RCD. This bulb was a modern 6 watt LED
     
    Last edited: 22 Nov 2018
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  12. 333rocky333

    333rocky333

    Joined:
    12 Jan 2008
    Messages:
    8,458
    Thanks Received:
    912
    Location:
    Essex
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    I had my metal Head changed last week, he commented on the 16mm tails and just put an 80 amp fuse in, even stuck a label on it which i have never seen done before, he said they are supplied with a label set for them to stick on themselves.

    Mine too was escalated by a Meter fitter, he pullled the fuse and found copper wire and asbestos flashquards, he then phoned his office and was told to leave the fuse OUT till Network power came, they just stuck a fuse back in, then 2 weeks later took the old metal cut out away.
     
    Last edited: 22 Nov 2018
  13. flameport

    flameport

    Joined:
    10 Mar 2007
    Messages:
    10,091
    Thanks Received:
    2,036
    Location:
    Poole, Dorset
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    The tails between the meter and your consumer unit are yours, so it's up to you to find an electrician to replace them if necessary.
    The problem is that the meter will be sealed, and it's not usually possible to remove the tails without breaking the seal, which only the electricity supplier is supposed to do.
    The next problem is that to disconnect the supply, it is necessary to remove the fuse, which should only be done by the DNO - a separate organisation to the electricity supplier.

    To do it 'properly' will require a minimum of a visit from the supplier to disconnect and reconnect the tails to the meter. Other options are frequently used even though they probably shouldn't be.

    There were some meters which had a separate access cover for the consumer tails, so it was possible to replace those without breaking the other seal on the meter, and they usually had a built in isolator as well. Such things are rare.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  14. aptsys

    aptsys

    Joined:
    16 Sep 2007
    Messages:
    1,879
    Thanks Received:
    151
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Unless they are showing signs of degradation, I would be inclined to leave them as they are. BS7671 adds large margins to the current carrying capability of cables to account for a whole range of varying conditions that are likely to be seen during implementation. Even 16mm² tails will happily carry in excess of 100A in the short length for which they are usually used.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

    Joined:
    27 Aug 2003
    Messages:
    69,782
    Thanks Received:
    2,858
    Location:
    London
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Don't forget that they are probably in free air, and spaced. Extrapolating the ratings in 4D1A in line with those for sizes where free air ratings are given produces a figure of 100A for 16mm² anyway...
     
  16. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

    Joined:
    28 Jul 2009
    Messages:
    5,854
    Thanks Received:
    451
    Location:
    Kent
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    And also bear in mind that the incoming supply cable may also be 16mm² if it's a few years old.

    I was present when DNO changed a failed cutout, their records showed it was 7/.064 (my mental arithmetic say that's about 14mm²) and that fed 2 all electric houses. The first had all the mod cons: electric shower, instant electric HW, 6 ring cooker, storage heating+additional daytime heating.
     
  17. JohnW2

    JohnW2

    Joined:
    28 Jan 2011
    Messages:
    49,122
    Thanks Received:
    3,241
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Indeed.

    My tails, both from 'cutout' (three fuse holders, since it's an overhead supply) to meter and from meter to isolator suggest that they may have been installed by someone who did not really understand 3-phase electricity. Whilst the three phase conductors are 16mm², the neutral one is 25mm² (imperial equivalents for the ones from 'cutout').

    At least with resistive loads, the worst possible case (only one phase loaded) with an unbalanced load is for the neutral current to be equal to the highest of the phase currents. I need to think a bit about whether the situation can get 'worse' than that with highly unbalanced high reactive loads but, even if it it can, I rather doubt that there really would be a case for routinely having a neutral of higher CSA than the phase conductors.

    Kind Regards, John
     
Loading...

Share This Page