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Topic Title: Electricity Supply Responsiblity
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Created On: 07 September 2013 03:11 PM
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 07 September 2013 03:11 PM
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I apologise in advance if this is not the forum to be posting this question.

I had a letter from my electricity supply company saying that due to the age of my electricity meter they needed to come and replace it.

The guy arrived but said that due to the type of supply coming into my flat (fused nuetral) that this would would need to be rectified before they could replace the meter. This needed to done by the Distribution Network Operator.

I today had a guy from the network company come round and he says that they aren't responsible for this problem. Apparently my supply comes from a distribution block (submain?) situated in the flat below. Sorry I can't be more specific but he was using terms I didn't understand. He said they are only responsible up to that point and that I will need to pay someone to replace the equipment from that point up to the meter.

I've spoken to a friend who used to work as an electrician and he says that no electrician would do that work as it would involve breaking seals on the meter which they are not allowed to do. Also as the work would involve disturbing someone else supply then it should be done by the network company.

Does anyone know what the regulations that relate this situation are?
 07 September 2013 05:54 PM
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I'd go back to the DNO and ask them if they aren't responsible for it who is and ask them to provide this information in writing. I'm guessing if its a fused neutral its quite an old installation so won't be an embedded network or owned by an IDNO.

What area you in?

These are just my thoughts.
 08 September 2013 08:54 AM
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If a shared property / flats, then the Freeholder will probably be liable for such works, as, in my view, it is part of the fabric of the building, so, usually, in domestic properties, the duty of the freeholder.

From your description, the DNO supplies to a main cut out in a cupboard, usually on the ground floor. From this, the individual properties are fed, sometimes with their own cut-out/fuse, or sometimes just direct to a meter, then to the flat.

If you own the freehold, then you can do it yourself. Breaking the meter seals on your own supply is allowable in certain circumstances. The Electricity at Work Act supercedes any DNO 'rules' regarding safe working conditions.
If there is only one fuse for the property, then make an appointment with the supplier to come and remove the fuse, and arrange for your 'sparky' to be there at the same time, so he/they can swap the fuse in the neutral for a solid link.
Another thought - has the fuse in the neutral already been changed for a solid link? Many have, and without opening it up, you cannot tell.
 08 September 2013 09:46 PM
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I would expect the DNO to be responsible for anything on the upstream side of the meter. Many buildings have submains and loop services and these almost always DNO owned. I would push your DNO harder....
 09 September 2013 11:34 AM
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I agree with 'statter' - and I used to work for a DNO and used to do a lot of their sub-main replacements. Just to be clear:
-If the meter is in the flat (which it sounds like it is) the DNO is usually responsible up to the point where your consumer unit connects to the meter - also this usually includes the earthing to that point.
-If the meter is in a communal position or by the incoming service head (which I don't think is what you described) then the sub-main can either be your responsibility or the DNO. If it is yours it will have a switch and fuse unit just after the meter to protect the sub-main, if it is the DNO it will probably not, and go direct to your flat and the your consumer unit. They will rely on their service fuse to protect their sub-main.

If it's your property then you may have to replace it yourself (or get an electrician to do it for you) as it is your responsibility and your cost, although you may only need to deal with the fuse in the neutral problem.

I would strongly suggest that you don't interfere with the supply authority equipment as has been suggested by some above - not because of any legal reason - although this is valid - but for your own safety. Given the age and condition of this equipment it could simply fall apart on you and the only thing protecting a fault is probably a 500 Amp fuse which means that if you get a fault you will end up with a fire ball/explosion throwing molten copper and the likes around. I have seen the results of such an event and fortunately the engineer was wearing a clear full face visor and body protection - he was fine - unlike the visor which looked more like the black arc welding ones afterwards. It's just not worth doing it yourself when the supply authority have a duty to come and do it anyway.

However back to your original question - as has already been suggested lean on the DNO some more and ask them to put in writing why they are not responsible for it. It appears to me that they are - unless they can come back with some historical agreement - which they may have.

Good luck
 09 September 2013 08:24 PM
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If the electric supply company want to change the meter let them sort it out.


Dave(not Cockburn)

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