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Topic Title: Is the DNO required to provide an earth terminal?
Topic Summary: LABC require DNO earth to be improved, DNO want me to pay.
Created On: 10 September 2008 12:58 PM
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 10 September 2008 12:58 PM
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timstyles

Posts: 7
Joined: 01 July 2003

I've had a PIR from an LABC electrician following some notified electrical work I've done to my house. The electrician commented that the earth connection supplied by the DNO was not compliant with modern standards. It is a clamp onto the lead sheath of the incomming cable.
Click here for Photo of DNO fuse and earth

I contacted my DNO (Western Power Distribution) who agreed that a sheath clamp was not compliant. They said that PME was available and offered to do the conversion for £97. I assume this involves removing the clamp and adding an earth wire between the neutral block and the earth block. They also said I could install my own TT earth instead (since I have RCDs on all circuits).

Can I expect the DNO to provide a compliant earth connection at their expense?
If so, can you point me to a document that says this?

Thanks in advance.
Tim
 10 September 2008 01:27 PM
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AJJewsbury

Posts: 10970
Joined: 13 August 2003

Humm the cut-out looks reasonably modern - newer than the cable at least.

Who put that clamp on the lead sheath? If it was the DNO (e.g. when replacing the cut-out), I'd say it was their responsibility to maintain. If however, it was never an official TN-S supply and the clamp was put there by or on behalf of the consumer, then £97 isn't too bad.

- Andy.
 10 September 2008 01:30 PM
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mapj1

Posts: 1898
Joined: 22 July 2004

If the earth terminal is theirs thay should maintain it. If it isn't, and officially three never was one, and the clamp was just 'added' by a third party (and being the wrong kind of clamp for armoured cable, this is quite possible) then they don't have to provice a brand new one for free. Though they do have to make reasonable efforts to get you an earth, and it will usually be PME or nothing, and they can charge you for that work.
If you have wet earth outside and a spade, dig a hole for a pit, drive the rod in with an SDS drill and a socket set adaptor, go TT and forget about it.
regards Mike.
 10 September 2008 01:32 PM
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John Peckham

Posts: 7258
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I would agree with Andy that clamp and tape looks very new to me and highly probably not the work of the DNO or Meter Operator. Looks to be the work of a very naughty electrican!

The DNO are not obliged to provide an earth unless it is a new PME supply.

So hand in pocket time.

John Peckham

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 10 September 2008 01:42 PM
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khales

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The Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations 2002 partVII, para.24 (4)

-------------------------
khales

Edited: 10 September 2008 at 03:47 PM by khales
 10 September 2008 01:57 PM
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rocknroll

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I am a bit miffed why people doing a PIR get so involved with what the DNO are up to and how they should install their equipment, doesnt seem like good business sense when the NIC said some time ago;

The PIR relates to the serviceability and condition of the fixed installation, basically from the comsumer unit to the end of the circuits, if in the course of the inspection faults with DNO equipment, appliances (items plugged into the installation) etc; are noticed these should be listed on a seperate sheet and given to the client/occupier/person ordering the work for their action, not coded and entered onto the PIR document.

Just my take on it

regards

-------------------------
"Take nothing but a picture,
leave nothing but footprints!"
-------------------------
"Oh! The drama of it all."
-------------------------
"You can throw all the philosophy you like at the problem, but at the end of the day it's just basic electrical theory!"
-------------------------
 10 September 2008 02:16 PM
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OMS

Posts: 18926
Joined: 23 March 2004

All looks highly suspect to me, the cut down meter board housing the cut out, the DNO tails installed in conduit to (assumed) meter location (how far away and why not adjacent to cut out)- not the work of WPD's finest in my humble opinion.

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 10 September 2008 02:26 PM
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timstyles

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Thanks for all the comments so far, particularly the reference (khales).
Click here to see the original installation

Originally the lights were earthed via a clamp on the lead sheath of the supply (probably added in 1960s). The other circuits were earthed to the water pipe. When I added the new consumer unit I used 16mm wires between the water, gas, CU and sheath clamp. The original clamp did not take the 16mm cable so I replaced the clamp with a new one (perhaps I shouldn't have).

I then contacted the DNO to replace the cutout and connect up the new CU, which they did for free. When they replaced the cutout they left the new clamp in place.

I'll try this then:
1) Explain to the DNO that the LABC electrician thinks work is required to maintain the existing earth.
2) If the DNO is happy with the existing earth then I'll try to explain this to the LABC.
3) If all else fails I'll pay for a PME conversion - installing an earth rod sounds fun but I don't have the kit to test it.
 10 September 2008 02:31 PM
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OMS

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I contacted my DNO (Western Power Distribution) who agreed that a sheath clamp was not compliant. They said that PME was available and offered to do the conversion for £97.

Can I expect the DNO to provide a compliant earth connection at their expense?




The original clamp did not take the 16mm cable so I replaced the clamp with a new one (perhaps I shouldn't have).


I think the answer in this case is no my friend

OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 10 September 2008 02:35 PM
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timstyles

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Originally posted by: OMS
...the DNO tails installed in conduit to (assumed) meter location (how far away and why not adjacent to cut out)...

The meter is about one metre up the wall, next to the CU (but on a different board).
 10 September 2008 02:41 PM
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mapj1

Posts: 1898
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but I don't have the kit to test it.

When there is already a supply, it's the same kit as used to check the Ze of the supplier's earth today - in principle the kit lets a current flow from live to earth for a short period, and measures how much the difference voltage between L and E falls - in a TT system most of this is actually the earth voltage coming up to meet the supply, rather than the Line voltage falling, (as the earth, however wet, is almost always more resistive than the copper conductor )but the principle of the loop test is exactly the same. Expect answers in the 10s to hundred or so ohms region.
regards Mike.

PS when there is no supply you need to knock in extra spikes for the duration of the test to inject known currents and measure voltage drops.
 10 September 2008 03:28 PM
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OMS

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Originally posted by: timstyles

Originally posted by: OMS

...the DNO tails installed in conduit to (assumed) meter location (how far away and why not adjacent to cut out)...


The meter is about one metre up the wall, next to the CU (but on a different board).



OK - but I remain totally unconvinced that the DNO installed thier tails in PVC conduit

OMS

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Failure is always an option
 10 September 2008 06:58 PM
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Phillron

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Originally posted by: timstyles

I contacted my DNO (Western Power Distribution) They said that PME was available and offered to do the conversion for £97.

Tim


Tim
I have had many PME earth terminals fitted by Western Power
They have only ever charged me £ 35
I believe they have mainly fixed pricing so I would check on that quote they gave
The quote could be a lot higher than it actually will cost
 22 September 2008 09:15 AM
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timstyles

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In the end I agreed to pay WPD to fit a PME terminal. It took two guys 10 minutes to do the conversion:
Click here for Photo of original DNO fuse and earth
Click here for Photo of modified DNO fuse with PME terminal

They replaced the clamp with a strip of sprung steel, which held a piece of braid against the sheath. This was connected to the neutral block inside the cut-out. The invoice is for £97.30. This seems a bit steep to me, but it should make the LABC happy.

Edited: 22 September 2008 at 09:23 AM by timstyles
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