DNO Supply: Location of cut-out - whose responsibility?

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by Johnst1a, Oct 4, 2019.

  1. Johnst1a

    Johnst1a New Member

    As you will see from the attached photos, my son's power supply does not have an accessible cut-out. The supply is via a pyrotenax cable directly into the meter. In order to upgrade his CU it will not easily be possible to isolate the power and on initial enquiry it appears that he would be responsible for the substantial cost of upgrading the supply cable to the meter.
    You will also see that a second CU was installed in series with the original to feed a loft extension by a NICEIC approved contractor approx. ten years ago according to the stickers. I have no idea how safe isolation was achieved if at all.
    Is it not the DNO's responsiblity for the safe supply of electricity up to the meter?
    Would my son have been better off requesting a smart meter and putting the ball back in their court?

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  2. Comlec

    Comlec Screwfix Select

    If the property is a part of a larger installation eg a flat then the service fuse is more than likely in a intake cupboard elsewhere in the building.

    You can ask you energy supplier to fit an isolator. This would be fitted after the meter but before any customer equipment.
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    KIAB likes this.
  3. Comlec

    Comlec Screwfix Select

    I would be more concerned about the missing blanks on the CU exposing the busbar - a Code 1 on an EICR.
     
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  4. peter palmer

    peter palmer Super Member

    It doesn't have to be the DNO who is responsible for the supply cable, it could be the BNO who is in charge of it. I got this useful PDF from somewhere that goes into quite a bit of detail. Page 14 onwards has some diagrams.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Tony Goddard

    Tony Goddard Screwfix Select

    We have to assume this is a flat or HMO, that pyro will run to a distribution cabinet of some form, the cut out's will be in the cabinet, one per flat and safe isolation can be achieved at that point. Once isolated it is then an easy procedure to put an isolating switch in after the meter on the consumers side to facilitate future works.
    From the gas engineers condemnation triangle I'm guessing there is work to be done on this property!
    Technically the pyro and the distribution cabinet belong to the freeholder of the building, but are there for the sole use of the DNO and sealed by them. They would pop a smart meter in there without isolating if they needed to, it wouldn't gain you a cut out!!
     
  6. Johnst1a

    Johnst1a New Member

    Thanks for your replies gentlemen and also for the Western Power installation guideline link. The property is an owner occupied upper flat with neighbouring front doors to an owner occupied lower flat. The design of the properties throughout the street are the same and show no evidence of having been anything else, i.e conversion from single two storey dwellings to two upper and lower single dwellings.
    It's interesting to note that Western Power's installation guidelines :-

    3.4 Connection Arrangements
    3.4.1 The three basic methods for providing connections to multi-occupancy buildings are described below:
    3.4.2 Option 1; individual services originating from outside of the building
    3.4.2.1 Each connection within the building is supplied from a dedicated service cable that originates from outside of the building. This arrangement is only applicable to single storey or two storey buildings where cable access can be afforded easily from the exterior of the building to the metering point at each individual premise. Services shall be accessible at all times and shall not be routed through parts of the building owned by other customers.
    This arrangement is shown in Figure 1. page 14 of the guide lines and as you will see each individual property will have a fused incoming supply to the meter and thereafter to the customer's equipment.
    The whole issue has arisen in an attempt to upgrade the poor looking existing set-up which pre-dates the guidelines by several years to something compliant with today's standards and regulations. The items that you have pointed out; missing blanks in the CUs, an ancient gas prohibition triangle that someone couldn't be bothered to remove on completion of his work is typical.
    It does look like the supply originates next door so why can't the DNO upgrade the supply in accordance with published guidelines?
     
  7. The ground floor flat has more than likely got a single phase supply coming in, which has a pup fuse for the upstairs flat. The pyro will then be coming from the pup fuse.
     
  8. Tony Goddard

    Tony Goddard Screwfix Select

    Long experience dealing with DNO's has taught me they will not do anything that costs them money unless it is vital (ie there is smoke coming out or tar dripping out of the bottom of a cut out.
     
  9. spaceman76

    spaceman76 Active Member

    Tell your supplier (who you pay bills to) that you want your meter upgrading to a digital one (not a smart meter). The new meters have a switch to isolate the feed to CU; well mine does anyway.
     
  10. Tony Goddard

    Tony Goddard Screwfix Select

    Not all models of smart meter have a built in switch, to my knowledge none of the current crop do, the Wylex isolation switch, made specially for fitting between the meter and CU is the method currently on trend with DNO's
     
  11. spaceman76

    spaceman76 Active Member

    Im not advising a smart meter, in fact I would advise against a smart meter. The old rotating disk meters can be upgraded to a digital one at no cost to the customer, at least mine was, and it has an accessible switch to isolate the load. Asking the DNO to fit an isolator will likely cost.
     
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  12. Tony Goddard

    Tony Goddard Screwfix Select

    Siemens used to make a standard credit meter with a combined isolator, Actaris did one with a rotary switch, the new versions though come without it and need the separate isolators. As a concept it's been tried out numerous times, I think Reyrolle did the first combined unit in the 50's - It's a good idea that never seems to get traction, the Wylex supply isolator has really caught on though.
     
  13. Tony Goddard

    Tony Goddard Screwfix Select


    It would be useful to know where the cut out is, I don't fancy your chances getting the DNO to do anything, they are resolutely stubborn. I would get a good professional electrician in to discuss what upgrades you need to do to bring the installation up to date. Most professional sparks I know including myself would put an isolator in with that work, probably no need to isolate - in blocks of flats you get used to doing this live, it's not dangerous if you know what you are doing and are properly equipped - the DNO would change the cut out live, so long as you have your rubber gloves, face visor, plastic wedges (to keep things separated and tap open stubborn casings) and plastic tail holder/manipulator (looks like a spanner) it's a breeze!

    Had this issue in a flat a few weeks ago, could we find the cut out, no, so I retreated to the van and "Live Linesman Tony" appeared, like a cut priced superman, fully kitted out, the old tails came out, new ones went in, meter re-sealed with a temporary tag and DNO phoned to let them know (the temporary tag will still be there in 20 years!!)
     
  14. spaceman76

    spaceman76 Active Member

    Its worth calling your supplier and ask if they can fit a credit meter with isolation switch. The one that my supplier fitted about 6 years ago was a Landis Gry 5258.
     
  15. Tony Goddard

    Tony Goddard Screwfix Select

    Yep, that was the one with the rotary switch on the front operated by a screwdriver - discontinued now and replaced by one without a switch.
     
  16. Bad idea, they will insist on trying to fit a smart meter.
     
  17. spaceman76

    spaceman76 Active Member

    They might recommend a smart meter but by law they cannot say "you must have one". If they do then that's B/S. I don't see how its a bad idea, if he can get a new meter with an isolator it saves him paying someone to do it, and doing it live is a bad idea btw ;)
     
  18. peter palmer

    peter palmer Super Member

    Its not too hard to change the tails in a live meter, unless you back one of the screws out a bit too far and it falls under the floor, then its insulated long nose pliers time, so I'm told.
     
  19. spaceman76

    spaceman76 Active Member

    How the F do you know that ???
     
  20. spaceman76

    spaceman76 Active Member

    Well according to their website they still making em
     

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