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On the subject of pulling the DNO fuse.
alanblaby 1100240690
55 Posts
Question
There have been a couple of reports here of the DNO confronting electricians who have pulled their fuse.

It's getting closer to home, a work colleague was doing a CU change on a domestic house last week, no isolator fitted, so he pulled the fuse (no seals present).
South Nottinghamshire.

Around 90 minutes later there was a knock on the door, a guy from Western Power was investigating a power loss at the property, reported by the Smart Meter phoning home.
He gave the sparky a talking to, and warned they are getting strict in pursuing people who do it, he said meter fiddling was rife, so any loss of power is checked out asap.
110 Replies
geoffsd 1100177619
132 Posts
Simple. 

They should fit isolators and maintain 'their' equipment so that it is fit for purpose.
Blencathra 11001209918
65 Posts
I recall changing a CU in a remote farmhouse, I had just pulled the fuse when there was a knock at the door, I answered it holding the fuse in my hand to see meter reader, he came in read the meter and went
Just get a isolator fitted beforehand, think British Gas charged £43 last year. Got one tomorrow but there moving the head s not a problem. 
Dreckly 16257685
11 Posts
I asked one of my customer to get an isolator fitted. Her supplier was SSE and they did it with no charge.
At home, we have just had a smart meter fitted. My conditions were that it was SMETS2 and an isolator was fitted at the same time. No charge from Opus Energy.

Dave
Chris Pearson 11001208764
1432 Posts
You have to keep an eye on the DNOs. Prior to last week's service head and meter move, I had established that the DNO would fit an isolator. The gang which turned up had no such expectation, but happily, they found one in the van.

The householder had been advised to have their sparks on standby, but had they not fitted an isolator, I imagine that the DNO would have retained their fuse with the intention of returning when the consumer tails were ready to be connected to the meter.

Yes, you have to keep an eye on the DNOs.

 
broadgage 70728247
331 Posts
A cynic who does not yet have a smart meter, might be tempted to pull the fuse and fit an isolator in advance whilst this can be done without detection. 
Alan Capon 20740443
356 Posts

alanblaby:
There have been a couple of reports here of the DNO confronting electricians who have pulled their fuse.. . 
. . . reported by the Smart Meter phoning home.

It always has been an offence. The installation of the smart meters is a once in a life time chance to get everything correctly sealed and documented. The other change is that OFGEM are making the policing of seals one of the DNOs performance targets. As you have seen from the reports that are coming to light, the algorithm that marks a single meter with no supply in a street where everyone else is still on supply as a “possible tamper” is fairly straightforward and accurate. 

Regarding the fitting of isolators, both the Health & Safety Executive and OFGEM are content with the procedures currently in place by the Meter Operators / DNOs for providing isolation for electricians. 

Regards,

Alan. 
whjohnson 11001209847
300 Posts
I'll bet they are!
Nice little earner for em.
I had a customer last week - told them in no uncertain terms to refuse any offer of a smart meter.
Another customer had 2 cancelled appointments with Scottish Power to have a isolator fitted - 3 weeks later a really nice guy finally turned up and told me that they weren't bothered about seals being pulled because fitting an isolator was a loss to them financially but they more than made up for it with the vast smart meter subsidies they were receiving from the Govt.
The present smart meter thing is a very very lucrative number for some if not the customer/end-user. He also said that Scottish Power do not bother policing such matters unless the meter in question is a credit meter, not only this, fiddling gas meters was much more prevalent than fiddling electricity meters.
Everyone's mileage may vary.
I point blank refuse to have a smart meter fitted myself. I don't want snoopers monitoring my usage. I pay the bill when it hits the letterbox, no direct debit, paper bill presented quarterly.
If they are invoicing me for a standing charge they can bloody well work for it.
Kelly Marie 11001211805
287 Posts
Well said that man!
Simon Barker 22060613
638 Posts

Alan Capon:


Regarding the fitting of isolators, both the Health & Safety Executive and OFGEM are content with the procedures currently in place by the Meter Operators / DNOs for providing isolation for electricians. 

 

 
I'm sure they are.  But what about the consumers and their electricians?  It's hardly satisfactory that the customer has to pay the supplier to turn off the power, just so their electrician can do some work, when an isolator could have been fitted at the same time as the new meter. 
ebee 81966746
687 Posts
pretty disgracefull methinks - unless Alarn can educate us why
Chris Pearson 11001208764
1432 Posts
On the subject of putting the fuse back, how many of you re-seal it.

I noticed last week that ENWL's seals appear to have no identification.
mapj1 80733779
2047 Posts
well in many designs if you leave a cut out totally unsealed, you are leaving it where live terminals can be exposed by anyone without the use of tools, and not small area rcd protected terminals at that. So assuming you find an unsealed cut out, then  to be responsible to the safety of others needs something, even if it is little more than a twist tie of wire.
Actually proper seals are not that expensive.  I'm sure other parts of the internet sell smaller quantities. And in the longer term the DNO really ought to be told to come and fit one of theirs when they have time.
Chris Pearson 11001208764
1432 Posts

mapj1:
well in many designs if you leave a cut out totally unsealed, you are leaving it where live terminals can be exposed by anyone without the use of tools, and not small area rcd protected terminals at that. So assuming you find an unsealed cut out, then  to be responsible to the safety of others needs something, even if it is little more than a twist tie of wire.
Actually proper seals are not that expensive.  I'm sure other parts of the internet sell smaller quantities. And in the longer term the DNO really ought to be told to come and fit one of theirs when they have time.

I wonder whether they are on sale at Elex?
Simon Barker 22060613
638 Posts
Chris Pearson:
On the subject of putting the fuse back, how many of you re-seal it.

I noticed last week that ENWL's seals appear to have no identification.
 
Re-seal it?  When I bought my house 10 years ago, the seal was already cut.  Since then several meter readers have been and gone (and several electricians have been and gone), and none has ever mentioned it.  The meter seals are intact, and there's no sign of any tampering with it, so I don't suppose anyone cares.

If you put a new seal on it, then the next electrician will only have to cut it again 😉
wallywombat 11001209453
219 Posts
If a DNO has point-blank refused to perform its statutory duty under ESQCR to provide the type and rating of the supply fuse when asked, then I don't feel much guilt in finding out for myself.
John Peckham 68348
395 Posts
I had a meter change this morning and have to say I was impressed by the sparks who turned up to do the job.

i had a key meter in my Norfolk home which was proving a pain so asked for a change to a credit meter . As I am intending to change the main consumer unit and the E7 board And expecting to have a smart meter I put a REC 2 isolator with the integral Type 2 SPD ( I have an overhead supply from a pole transformer under the blackest spot on the FD map). 

The key meter had had a pair of singles that switched the contactor supplying the E7 line to the E7 board.

The meter man could not fit a smart meter as he said his company does not have 5 hole smart meters so he fitted a 5 hole dumb meter. The contactor, fuse holder and switch pair have been removed and the switched line goes directly from the meter to the E7 board. So now my REC 2 switches the line to my consumer unit and the neutrals to both boards.

He fitted new seals to the top and bottom of my series 7 fuse carrier, meter, my REC 2 and my single pole Henleys. So now  I will have to fit a REC 2 in to the tails of my E7 board during the day time so. I can replace both plastic consumer units with all circuits RCDed in steel boards to upgrade to the 18th Edition.

He he said he was told one maker does a 5 hole smart meter but he has not seen one and his company does not have any. So it would appear you are unlikely to get a smart meter if you have E7 heating.

So now my REC 2 switches the line to my consumer unit and the neutrals to both boards.

Am I misreading your post John, it seems that for one board you switching Live & Neutral, but just the Neutral on the other?

Clive
John Peckham 68348
395 Posts
Yes my REC 2 supplies a pair of single pole Henleys. The main consumer unit tails are connected to both Henleys, however only the neutral of the E7 is connected to the Neutral Henley the Line from the E7 board goes directly to the switched neutral from the meter. My intention is to install another REC 2 to provide isolation for the E7 board without the need to pull the fuse. 
Chris Pearson 11001208764
1432 Posts

John Peckham:
... the Line from the E7 board goes directly to the switched neutral from the meter.

Is that a typo, John? I take it to mean that the switched line (i.e. on the timeswitch in the meter) goes direct from the meter to the E7 board.
John Peckham 68348
395 Posts
Chris 

Wel spotted, I was just testing the powers of observation of forum members. The Line conductor from the E7 board goes directly to the switched output on the meter.
I find the DNO themselves to be much more approachable than some of the metering companies when it comes to pulling the cutout.
I guess this comes down to who loses the most money in the event of abstraction? 99% of the time a missing seal is due to entirely innocent reasons. (Often a previous contractor, or even damage due to simple wear and tear, picture a meter or service cutout seal of the old lead type,  in the Harry Potter suite, knocked by the Hoover every time it's taken out...)

As to legality, I'd be one of those to argue that my responsibility of FIRST concern is my own and my colleague's safety... so if withdrawing the fuse carrier is safer than attempting to work live, then so be it.
Chris Pearson 11001208764
1432 Posts

MHRestorations:
As to legality, I'd be one of those to argue that my responsibility of FIRST concern is my own and my colleague's safety... so if withdrawing the fuse carrier is safer than attempting to work live, then so be it.

There is a legal principle that it is a defence to a crime that it prevents a greater one. Obliging somebody to work live must surely be worse than interfering with the DNO's fuse.

As you know, SEE has a very reasonable policy in this respect - why not the other DNOs?
Alan Capon 20740443
356 Posts

MHRestorations:
. . . As to legality, I'd be one of those to argue that my responsibility of FIRST concern is my own and my colleague's safety... so if withdrawing the fuse carrier is safer than attempting to work live, then so be it.

The response from the Health & Safety Executive and OFGEM is likely along the lines that the DNOs have suitable procedures in place to cover this, both for planned work and as an emergency response. Our experience is that electricians are able to plan round the procedure for asking us to draw the cutout fuse. 

Regards,

Alan. 
Alan, yes, in an ideal world that is true, but I have found since privatization the DNO's have become less responsive than the former electricity boards. A customer wants the work done now, they don't want to negotiate the quagmire of regulatory frameworks etc. We encourage the customer whenever major work is done, to have the DNO install an isolator.  But there are occasions where that's not practical or proportionate.

However, taking off my 'i want to get on with my job' hat... i fully approve of the procedures around sealing the DNO and metering company's gear... for safety as well as fraud prevention. It's just a shame the average sparky is thrown in with the 'getting free lecky' crowd, and there's not an intermediate procedure available? (temporary seals for registered CPS members for a nominal 5 pounds each would be an idea? with a responsibity to notify the DNO to have the next crew nearby to reseal it properly...). But these days everything is so complex with risk assessments and form filling

just my £0.02

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