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 Post subject: meter tails
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:41 pm 
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I have just had an electical survey done on a house and the electrical report says that the meter tails need increasing to 25mm square, the ones now look like 20mm or so.

Is this essential as the existing tails have been used with the main fuse for years and I feel as if the electrician is pulling a fast one :!:

Also there is no isolator between the consumer unit and main fuse, am I right in thinking that the electricity company will fit one for free, or will I have to pay for this.

Thank you for any replies :thumbright:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:57 pm 
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What are you using to gauge the existing tails? There is no such size as 20.0mm²

They will probably be 6/10/16

Are you aware that the tails are double covered, so look bigger than they really are (when compared with a single core from a T&E for example)

Depending on your installation and the size of the suppliers fuse, it is perfectly reasonable for your electrician to recommend uprating to 25.0mm². Just because it's been like that for years doesn't mean it's safe.

Why do you feel the electrician is 'trying to pull a fast one'?

As for the DP isolator, it depends on the area as to wether or not it will be a free installation, but unless you specifically need one then there really is no reason to have one fitted.


If you post a picture of your CU & meter someone should be able to give you an idea of what size your existing meter tails are.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:02 pm 
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Thanks RF :wink:

The meter tails look newish to me and it was a friend that said that the existing tails look like they are roughly 20mm square.

I know it is naughty, but I pulled the main fuse and it is only 60 amp and this made me think the sparks was trying it on as I think 25mm square is sufficient for a 100 amp fuse.

The electrician's report also said that the cable feeding the upstairs sockets needed upgrading as it is not thick enough :? I have measured this and it is 2.5mm twin and earth and it is on a ringmain, he never suggested putting in a lower amperage fuse and so it looked to me like hew was trying to get some barely necessary work :!:

I could of course be wrong :oops:


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:36 am 
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the only way the cable feeding the upstairs sockets would need upgrading is if somebody had used the incorrect size to start with. other than that he means replacing if it has degraded. if that is the case then it would be reasonable to assume the rest of it is in the same condition. i can't honestly see what he is getting at with that one unless you have missunderstood him.

as far as your main tails go, yes they are supposed to be 25mm now but in all honesty it is a joke as you will not find your incoming supply any bigger than 16mm but your sparks has to recommend the correct size to current standards.

a little tip for the "pulling of the main fuse". don't admit to it and nothing will ever happen. i am not speaking from personal experience of doing it i am stating it because i know it is true. that also goes for the meter seals accross the termials. what ever you do, never cut the Esma seals on the meters though, you will end up straight in court for that.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 12:27 am 
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1.If the main fuse is 60amp chances are the tails from the cutout to the meter are 16.0mm

2.Get intouch with your electric supplier tell them your having some electrical work done and need a isolation switch fitted best to play it safe as cutting seals carrys a 5 year prison sentence. some suppliers will do it for free or charge between £20 to £40 depending on your supplier :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 10:04 am 
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as i said before though, no matter what they waver infront of you for doing it, nobody will ever enforce anything over meter seals.
they simply can't prove it and won't bother trying.

i used to work for them and have come across it on numerous occasions.

an isolator is free though and is the best way to go if you don't mind waiting in excess of 3 weeks for them to come.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 1:59 pm 
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I have been to a few houses where the fuse fairy has removed the meter seals. Some of the older ones can just be waggled a bit and then removed and replaced. You can buy meter seals on ebay now :shock:

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 2:32 pm 
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Meter seals are in place for various reasons.........

1.For safety to stop the main fuse from being removed and live terminals being exposed (the electric coming into the cutout is then fused at the substation which is rated at 600amps so wont blow if you touch it)

2.To stop the bypassing of the meter(getting free electric)

3.To identify the meter fitter and insuring there work if there seals are broken and there is a fault you are liable.

You can buy the seals but that means nothing because its the sealing pliers that inprint a identification number.

If you buy sealing pliers with a id number chances are they are stolen and if thats the case they are registered on the police data base and if caught using them well its not worth thinking about.

The seals are there for a reason most electricians cut them but then again its usually not there house they are doing the work in.

The metering companys are enforcing this just ask a certain council whos just been heavily fined for allowing its contractors to cut the seals...


Personally i think all the electric companys should have a isolation switch fitted between the meter and the consumerbox (fuse box) this would save a lot of hassle for electricians and meter fitters


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 4:54 pm 
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Meterman wrote:

You can buy the seals but that means nothing because its the sealing pliers that inprint a identification number.

If you buy sealing pliers with a id number chances are they are stolen and if thats the case they are registered on the police data base and if caught using them well its not worth thinking about.


lol, do you know what we used to do with the sealing pliers m8? all electricty board members that had them used to put earth sleeving between the number and seal to stop our identification number being visible when doing a job on the side years ago.
what you are saying is true but what i'm saying is, 99 out of 100 they won't bother.
1st, the meter reader has to notice the seal missing. then the customer has to actually admit it. if they do not they drop the case as it costs them too much in court to prove one way or another.
if you have the old lead seals on your meter, you can actually wiggle them off, and then put them back on when you've done and nobody can tell it's been touched (all useful info we were taught about meters as apprentices

i don't cut the seals myself as i have no need to. i used to work on the live mains and it didnt worry me too do the same for myself. the only difference is that since Part P came out i now cannot do that because i have to notify them i have changed a fuseboard so since then i have requested an isolator.


Meterman wrote:
Personally i think all the electric companys should have a isolation switch fitted between the meter and the consumerbox (fuse box) this would save a lot of hassle for electricians and meter fitters


give this man a beer, for stating what is obviously way past the intelligence of the supplier.

why do i totaly agree? 3 weeks ago i received a phonecall to change a fuseboard. the chap was selling his house and he had only 4 days left before keys were to be handed over. he accepted my price and i rang his supplier for an isolator.

them "we can fit one for you sir in 3 weeks time"
me "sorry but i have 4 days left to get this done, can you just give me permission to cut the seals and then send somebody out to reseal it. you will have my name and address and time of job so you know why the seals were cut and in such a short space of time, know that it is not for any fiddling purpose"
them "sorry sir but only our trianed staff are able to cut the seals
me" trained? as in using a pair of high tensile cutters to cut seal? ok, listen, i spent 11 years working for you lot and i've changed 1000's of cut-outs live for you too. i used to own a pair of sealing pliers so i think i know how to cut a seal."
them" we can get somebody out to you tomorrow to cut the seal for you
me if you wish to waste time and resorses like that so be it

i have given up with the idiots. it's funny how they are "trained" to cut seals but not trained to pick the bloody things up after cutting them. ::b :grin:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 5:37 pm 
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I know the electric companys dont help with there ridiculous fitting times 3 weeks is crazy for what is possibly a 20 minute job They should create a hotline phone number for Qualified electricians to phone to have a isolator or seals fitted but we can all live in hope :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 6:13 pm 
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Did I tell you all about when I fitted a new consumer unit and shower at my ex-girlfirends?

She had an old porcelain fuse and when I cranked the 9.5kw shower up it blew the main fuse. I removed it at 7pm and it was only something like 30 amp fuse wire. I did a temporary fix and called the electric company.

Three of them turned up to change the main incoming fuse, the guy doing the work had no face mask and no gloves :shock:

I was like "don't you need gloves and a face mask?"

He was being a smart arse until he got an almighty flash, he was so lucky that he was not hurt. When I looked he had the main incoming live cable in his bare left hand and insulation tape in his bare right hand and was wrapping some tape around the cable.

One slip and he would of been history :shock:

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 6:26 pm 
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How come 3 turned up and 1 did the work

The other 2 must of been there to carry the gloves and goggles but obviously forgot them :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 6:30 pm 
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Meterman wrote:
How come 3 turned up and 1 did the work

The other 2 must of been there to carry the gloves and goggles but obviously forgot them :lol:


One of them was a young lad and was probably supposed to be learning.

The only thing he learnt that day was how not to work on live electrical cables.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 6:42 pm 
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The trouble with working in the same job day in, day out is that you become complacent and take short cuts like not putting on ppe..
Sounds like a lucky escape for that bloke i bet you he wore his gloves on his next few jobs :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:21 am 
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lol @ that UHM, you remind me of all sorts in the past.

i've had an accident or two with live cables working for them and yes we were spose to wear gloves, you would be surprised how many of us didn't. :shock:

one thing that spring to mind i did a few years back was......

i was working on a job involving street signs & illuminating them. we were given directives by the local council as to where everything was to be placed and also where the new signs were to be banded onto and which post.
as myself and a m8 were fixing one to this street light, a woman came out of the house where we were fixing it,"you're not bloody putting that outside my house!!!" she screamed at us.
as i always do what a woman tells me (i learnt not to argue with stalleto's as they come keen :cb ) we stopped working and said she needed to contact the council. she continued shouting at us for no apparrant reason and then went inside.
5 minutes later she came out with two cups of coffee and biscuits. said she had rung the council and a representative was coming out in the next 10 mins so we were to wait.
she idly chatted and appologised for shouting at us and handed over a drink and bicky each. as every workman does, we professionally downed tools and took time out for a drink and bite to eat :grin:

she then said "well i'm glad you lads are putting this island in because it will slow down some of the idiots that race up and down here in their cars"

as usual, i wasn't short for words and replied "yeah, i've seen them. one day these idiots will kill somebody". to which a quiet but quick response came back....

"it did, my son 6 weeks ago".


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