Very Old Supply-Should DNO check it and assess need for upgrade?

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by unphased, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. unphased

    unphased Screwfix Select

    Went to assess a rewire on Saturday. Saw something that could have belonged in museum on the incoming street supply. On the outside wall of the house was a black metal tube painted black rising up to around 2.5 metres which became black painted cable for another 1 metre which terminated in to what can only be described as a metal box shaped like a drainage hopper, also painted blck. I couldn't read the naem on the front but I have never seen anything like it before. It seemed to be the original (1930s) supply cable. From this were two tails clipped along the brickwork for at least 7 metres where they enter throgh the brick wall at high level in to the cut-out in a kitchen cupboard. The tails looked well past there use-by date. I plugged my loop tester in to a socket and the reading was 3.27 ohms!!! Now I said that the installation was unsafe and that the absence of any RCD protection with an earth loop so high was doubly unsafe. I recommended that they contact their supplier urgently and request an urgent inspection of the supply to see whether they had any concerns themselves. We also talked about re-siting the meter and putting the fuseboard in a different position as things to be considered during the rewire, and the DNO have seized on this and quoted £500 to move the meter and £154 to install PME and that they would "sort out the rest" at the same time, not even agreeing to come out and inspect they said was unnecessary (***!). I am aghast at what they have told the customer. It is surely their DUTY to inspect their equipment and sort it out before we go spending money moving stuff around. I have more or less told the customer this and they wioll go back to them to see about calling them out on safety grounds.Is it me? Is the world going stark raving bonkers?
  2. edward current

    edward current Active Member

    they can phone the dno but do you think they will attend??? they might if you say the Ze is high but they will not upgrade the system...

    i moved into my house (with has a very simlar system) just before i did my 17th ed, when we got to the part about its the supply authoritys responcebilty to tell you what the ysupply type is i mentioned my supply to the lecturer, we phoned the dno from the class and asked to be told the supply type (cant remember the reg)... they told me to contact a local electrician...

    how we all laughed..... (sad or what)
  3. Guest

    do not get involved with any supply dispute with DNO , let the customer sort it , you wont get any thanks.
    personnally i'd wait till the new supply has been fitted before surveying job as it will effect your work.
    upto the client to pay if he wants the mains shifting.
  4. edward current

    edward current Active Member

    TT it its easier
  5. Ste-Pee

    Ste-Pee New Member

    If you phone United Utils on their emergency number: 800 195 4141 and tell them it's unsafe, quoting distressed insulation, metal housing, Ze outside their max value etc. Stress it's an inhabited dwelling.

    I'm pretty sure they're obliged to turn out within 4 hours. The engineer then usually sends for a jointing team, who often come the same day.

    Actually, that's my experience in Manchester for TN supply where they supply the earth: is yours TT? could be different....
  6. Ste-Pee

    Ste-Pee New Member

    Just to add; the main challenge is to persuade the call-centre bod that a danger exists and that it's their responsibility: most times they try to fob you off, saying it's not their responsibility etc.

    Once you get their engineer out, you're home and dry; the ones around here know there are tens of thousands of homes needing upgrading, but it's only when someone makes a fuss anything is done.
    Squeeky wheel gets the oil!

    Sorry to contradict what was said above, but customers are invariably delighted for you to organise this for them, especially if they're there while you phone it through since they realise they wouldn't get anywhere!
  7. sinewave

    sinewave Screwfix Select

    Nice picture Roy, paints a thousand words! :)
  8. Joelp1

    Joelp1 New Member

    I lay it on thick to make it more obviously dangerous. Like with the water board, i always say there is an old dear in the house.
  9. Removed 4

    Removed 4 New Member

    If the supplier has never provided an earth terminal (and it seems likely in this case) he is not obliged to provide one now - and certainly not free-of-charge.

    Before Privatisation, the EB's had a rolling programme to replace/update elderly supplies and connect PME, FOC where viable. It's quite likely that that property is 'on the list', but now that the budget has to come from shareholders' dividends, the programme has slowed down considerably, and goodwill is a thing of the past.

    I doubt that the installation is 'dangerous' because of the type of supply. I't isn't the suppliers fault that there's no RCD or that the house needs rewiring, is it?

    Storm in a teacup, Roy dear......

  10. Joelp1

    Joelp1 New Member

    i've run into this problem myself this week, though probably not as old as OPs supply. Id just pay for the PME upgrade if it didnt take so bloody long for them to do.
  11. sysparks

    sysparks New Member

    As ste said, if their equpiment is in a dangerous condition, they will be out in 4 hours, i have done it many a time.

    Has to be dangerous tho, they arent interested in inspecting anything! Metal cob without suitable earth has done it for me a few times.
  12. unphased

    unphased Screwfix Select

    The customer has managed to convince them to call out, as an emergency. But they only do emergencies on the same day. So she has to wait until Wednesday when she is off work, then call them for an emergency call out, then they will come out. (The joys of bureaucracy).

    I understand what you are saying, Lucia, but wtf should a customer have to pay for "improvements" to a supply which is well overdue for upgrade, IS probably dangerous and the rewire has nothing to do with it. :) If I rewire it I will have to connect my tails to something that is safe and if PME can be installed I have already told her it is chargeable. The amount of money these DNOs are making they SHOULD inspect if requested. Their tails are clipped along the outside wall for starters and appear to be perrished.
  13. sparky Si-Fi

    sparky Si-Fi Screwfix Select

    The amount of money the DNO has charged, that being £654, is frackin criminal!

    There as bad as the banks with the profits they make and as Roy says, the consumer has to foot the bill for ther' naff network!

  14. Removed 4

    Removed 4 New Member

    Roy, I won't dispute that the Boards have turned to crime in their pricing of hitherto routine upgrading work. That's part of the reason I left the EEB during privatisation.

    But the fact remains that you have a TT system there, and it has clearly been neglected by the householer(s) for a considerable period as it doesn't have an earth-trip.

    You didn't mention in your O/P that the tails were 'perishised' where clipped externally. So it's a matter of the supplier agreeing that they are indeed in urgent need of replacement. You cannot hold them responsible for the lack of an earthing facility if they never provided one in the first place. That's down to the householder/customer.

  15. unphased

    unphased Screwfix Select

    Understood. There is an earth rod, but the main earth conductor has been installed very poorly. It is routed at one point between the gap of two paving flags at surface level where it crosses over the side entry walkway, and is just wedged in. G/Y insulation is missing where its been walked over, not unsafe but totally unacceptable and bodged. Hideous. There is no RCD or even an old Crabtree voltage type trip. Very dangerous installation as a whole, don't you agree? :)
  16. Removed 4

    Removed 4 New Member

    Yes, of course I agree Roy. I just don't agree that it's entirely the suppliers fault. The electrode and ELCB/RCD are the responsibility of the consumer.

    You're on shaky ground if you persuade the customer otherwise.

    Lucia x.
  17. mr sillys

    mr sillys New Member

    let the DNO come out to the installation and explain to the customer what bad advice they have had from the village idiot


    never trust the untrained

  18. Removed 4

    Removed 4 New Member

    Moreover, Roy: You didn't mention in your O/P that there was an electrode.

    I shouldn't need to remind you that an earth electrode isn't much good without an earth leakage trip, should I?

    I suspect that your loop-test reading might have been via the water main.

    Lucia x

    Mr Silly: I wish that you would drop dead.
  19. unphased

    unphased Screwfix Select

    tbh, Lucia, I suspect that the customer will want to move their meter outside and have PME installed anyway. Will be interested to know what the DNO say about their supply, though. In complete agreement with regards to the earth (I know the DNO have never installed one so it is nothing to do with them), previous "electricians" have not done their job properly, and as usual it takes a good one to pull it all back in to shape.

    mr sillys: I share Lucia's sentiments.
  20. Removed 4

    Removed 4 New Member

    It's a shame, Roy, that the supplier isn't responsible for a reliable earth connection on elderly supplies such as TT. They can only be called to account for a dodgy earth if they've supplied an earth terminal in the past, in which case they are duty bound to maintain that connection.

    Lucia x

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