Discuss removal of main cutout fuse! in the Electrical Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

happyhippydad

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Hello all,

I think this may be a controversial question, but here goes..

I have passed my domestic installers course and will be getting registered soon (so showing a CU change would be good). I would like to update my consumer unit and have read many of the posts on this site regarding that. I will first try and get the DNO to fit an isolation switch if not then I do not want to work with live tails so pulling the main cutout seems like the option. Lets say for arguments sake that I will get permission by the DNO, thats not really what I want to get into on this thread.

From other threads I think it a very good idea to first assess what type of head it is (cast iron seems one to avoid) and what condition it is in.

Wear electricians gloves.

Test the tails after removal of main fuse to be 100% sure they are not live.

Have main switch off when removing and replacing.

One question is how to make the meter box safe for others whilst I am working inside. Do I just remove the fuse from the main cutout and replace?

This is clearly something that should have been taught during my course, but it wasn't, they just said pull it, which isn't good enough for me.

Any futher advice on removing the main cutout fuse would be most welcome.

Cheers.
 
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The answer is quite simple mate, you're not allowed to play with the DNO's toys that's why it's not taught on the course. Whether you choose to pull or wait for an isolator to be fitted is down to you, but you know what PPE is recommended
 

telectrix

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option 1. get an isolator fitted. is the best solution. this should be fitted between the meter and CU.

option 2. pull the fuse. if doing this, either a blank fuse carrier or remove the fuse from the existing carrier and fit temp. to cover the live terminals. problem here is that you will have to either, a. putt the meter tails into henley blocks and then your new tails from there to CU , or, b. cut meter seals to fit new tails direct into meter.

option 1. is the ideal way to go, but be prepared for an hour or 2 on the phone, trying to get someone who knows what an isolator is. getting a bod out to do the job within a fortnight of when you want it doing.
 
A

alli

If you pull the main fuse, that is your decision, but I always remember what the old man used to say to me........Remember if you come in contact with the conductors of the main network, you will be a long time dead before any downstream fuse blows.
 
S

Silly Sausage

Hello all,

I think this may be a controversial question, but here goes..

I have passed my domestic installers course and will be getting ........................................................

This is clearly something that should have been taught during my course, but it wasn't, they just said pull it, which isn't good enough for me.
They teach you to break The Law??????!!!
 

telectrix

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must be i'm getting old now. never used to have to pull a fuse. tails out of CU (live, one at a time) into henley blocks, new tails from henleys into CU. ring DNO to connect new tails direct into meter whenever they could be arsed to attend.
 
M

mtfpuk2011

You can get tempey seils.from doa and.they re seil with in two.week sec do.them.in.Hampshire.as I.hve some.bear in.mind.if your changing a cu do carrey out testing of cuircts

Sent from my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk 2
 

cbw

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DONT PULL THE FUSE..... WORK LIVE...not!


Safest way is to make sure no load...ie turn everything off.

Various PPE options....your call???

Once its out, I like to remove the fuse from the carrier and pop it back in, this removes the riskof inadvertantly knocking a bare cpc into the live part of the holder.

I buy seals from ebay, they do not look anything like the original so no risk of fraud allegations and return the installation to the same level of security/safety

DO NOT PULL DNO FUSES ITS ILLEGAL AND FROWNED UPON
 
S

Swicade

We dont pull the DNO fuse without thier permission and wearing the right PPE....everyone knows that.

Even better is to preplan the unit change and get DNO to install an isolator.

Out of interest has anyone looked into wether any of the DNO's do any sort of training (with cert) for us humble sparks so we can pull a DNO fuse and reseal after wards without having to constantly phone them for permission (as thats what we always do right??.......maybe.....)
 
K

Knobhead

Of the options pulling the fuse is the realistic way. Otherwise as Tel said you’ll be waiting until a fortnight next Wednesday or maybe some other time, when they might show up.
While you have the fuse out remove it from the carrier and use the carrier as a blank while you work, at the same time keep a note of it’s rating for your records.
First job is fit your own isolator, it’s there for future use if needs be.
As you have said yourself, leave CI heads alone, it’s not much fun when the porcelain carrier cracks in to three bits. It happened to me with a 400A carrier, but then I could turn off the feeder.
 

happyhippydad

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Arms
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11
option 1. get an isolator fitted. is the best solution. this should be fitted between the meter and CU.

option 2. pull the fuse. if doing this, either a blank fuse carrier or remove the fuse from the existing carrier and fit temp. to cover the live terminals. problem here is that you will have to either, a. putt the meter tails into henley blocks and then your new tails from there to CU , or, b. cut meter seals to fit new tails direct into meter.

option 1. is the ideal way to go, but be prepared for an hour or 2 on the phone, trying to get someone who knows what an isolator is. getting a bod out to do the job within a fortnight of when you want it doing.
Thanks Telectrix,

Why do I need to put the tails into a Henley block? Why not just put the old tails into the new CU?

- - - Updated - - -

option 1. get an isolator fitted. is the best solution. this should be fitted between the meter and CU.

option 2. pull the fuse. if doing this, either a blank fuse carrier or remove the fuse from the existing carrier and fit temp. to cover the live terminals. problem here is that you will have to either, a. putt the meter tails into henley blocks and then your new tails from there to CU , or, b. cut meter seals to fit new tails direct into meter.

option 1. is the ideal way to go, but be prepared for an hour or 2 on the phone, trying to get someone who knows what an isolator is. getting a bod out to do the job within a fortnight of when you want it doing.
Thanks Telectrix,

Why do I need to put the tails into a Henley block? Why not just put the old tails into the new CU?
 

edexlab

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Arms
Some DNO's do run a course qualifying you to pull fuses but they won't allow you to do it unless you have a metering contract with them
In other words you'd be wasting your time and money, I spoke to several representatives of two DNO's regarding this, and they were adamant there is no legal way of getting round this , there is I believe one or two (I don't know which ,it was on another thread here)who have an arrangement in place for members of a scheme allowing them to do it but they have to notify the DNO and fill out some forms before and after.
 
K

kenny james

when they do come out and install an isolator make sure the customer is aware that they will get charged for this work by the dno and payment is on the day when they arrive (northwest area £80).
 
British Gas only charge £39 for a isolator upgrading the tails and fuse if required and possible they will also fit a new DIGI meter if needed.
its £39 for 1 or all of the above

I think Tel was referring to you jsut removing the fuse as the seals wernt present when yo arrived
and then connecting your tails from the CCU into a henley and the load tails from the meter into it
Are you meaning pull the fuse and then fit new board and connect existing tails into this while its disconnected may as well fit a iso
are the existing tails adequate and undamaged

If so I would just leave them in place but fit your own 100A D.P. Isolator then you could fit the existing tails into it the supply terminals and your new tails in the load side re seal etc after illegally removing the fuse safely with all loads removed after assessing the risk and possibly using PPE if you feel its necessarry re fit the fuse carrier
Is it not possible to leave old CCU in place whilst fitting new and in the mean time getting DNO fit a isolator

I always get a Isolator fitted by supplier if possible lol
 
K

kenny james

when they do come out and install an isolator make sure the customer is aware that they will get charged for this work by the dno and payment is on the day when they arrive (northwest area £80).
i thought i would mention this because one customer a couple of years ago on a cu change thought i was going to deduct the £80 off my bill because i hadnt told them they would get charged (thats what they thought!) customers do try it on.
 

soulman

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Arms
I have tried the route of the DNO, supplier, metering company & none of it worked passed around and got absolutely no where. Some area's are great for this and fit isolators within a reasonable time. I know an electrician who removes the tails live one at a time, trims them and puts into henly's block. I think he's crazy. i have a face mask, 1000v gloves and protectors, all from ARCO. I only use them when i pull the fuse (seals are always missing anyway :innocent:... Switch off all loads, Assess the fuse carrier, if looks O.k pull it out, remove fuse & reinsert carrier or tape over. Do your work, re-instate, seal up with seals from fleabay so nobody can remove it without a tool. I also never go into the meter now, i only use henlys or lucy blocks unless the tails were drastically undersized.
 

telectrix

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I know an electrician who removes the tails live one at a time, trims them and puts into henly's block. I think he's crazy.
that's how i was trying to explain how we always used to do it. once the tails were out. it was easy to bang into a henley. too awkward to bend live tails into a CU . this was before deregulation, when it was a hanging offence to cut seals.
 

happyhippydad

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Arms
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18
Thanks all,

I shall hopefully be doing this job sometime in september so will let you know how I get on with it, and how I get on with the DNO fitting an isolator.

I've checked and my main cutout fuse REALLY doesn't have any seals!

Cheers.
 

DNS1

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Arms
I really really don't like the idea of pulling tails out live!

Age old thing comes to mind, "work dead, stay alive"...

Isn't it acceptable and legal to pull the DNO fuse if there is a risk to people's safety? As soon as you've got a live tail floating around then that's a safety issue so you can pull the fuse anyway!
 
1

1shortcircuit

First time I have arranged for DNO to come out and fit an Isolator for a client. £74 and a 2 week wait. I wouldn't have recommended it any other occasion but the property earthing system is available for upgrade so it made sense, unfortunately all at additional cost for client... but it's worth it:)
 

Jimmy Boy

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Arms
The tails on the fuse are sealed, but so are the tails as they enter the meter, so as long as the latter seals are intact I fail to see why anyone would get upset, I would never work live on tails I fit isolators on all the CU's now, if you were on the fiddle the meter seals would have been broken.

J
 
D

drew35

No if you're on the fiddle you only need remove the main cut out and then feed tails direct to the consumer unit, weed farm style.

Face mask? Gloves?? Has anyone ever seen the DNO work??? Usually they can't be bothered to go to the van so they just cut and shut! I think they get fed up because people cut the seal and don't put anything back, which probably looks bad at the inquest should fire or death break out!

You'll never get permission to remove a fuse, even during emergency I've been told to wait until a man arrives, but the lads themselves are much more reasonable. I've cut seals before when the DNO are to busy to come out in time and I just call them after to reseal. If I have to cut I always put a seal back, a good metal one and not the plastic rubbish.
 

snowhead

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Mentor
that's how i was trying to explain how we always used to do it. once the tails were out. it was easy to bang into a henley. too awkward to bend live tails into a CU
I think feeling confident working on live cables, whether just moving them from one connection to another, or having to cut or trim using insulated tools shows the difference between someone with proper training and experience and the rest of the so called.

Why do people bother buying insulated tools if they are never going to work on live cables.
 
S

sparks1973

no one can prove the seals were intact before you did the work....so if anyone says owt (unlikely)...then just dont say owt back...caus i will tell you now i definately WONT wont live unless its unavoidable....so if i cant isolate them tails any other way....that bullit gets pulled simple as....and sod the DNO n all....their a law unto themselves anyway....
 
S

sparks1973

and i`ll say this n all......if theres evidence of recent work done near the head (C/U change).....chances are they will just reseal the head....its if there HASN`T been any recent work done that their more likely to suspect a bit of hocus-pocus has been goin on...
 

darkwood

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We all are aware of the legality of with drawing the main dno fuse and yes it gets done with no consequence as its hard for the dno to form a case when you just say the seals were already broken and i never withdrew it.
SMART METERS..... these log time and date any power downs and give the dno a case to bring to court now as the owner of the installation faces legal action if they cannot explain a broken seal and why the meter lost power when there was no external supply issues..... any owner will gladly pass on the sparkies no# to avoid legal action themselves.

I already know this is happening as i heard dno had called a home owner to report that her meter had been disconnected according to their computer and wanted to know why..... they said they had an electrician in and hes just put a new board in for me ...details forwarded but not sure what happened to electrician.
 
S

sparks1973

probably nowt....as he can/should be able to prove competance.....this is a nice little earner for the DNO....as long as the status quo is maintained that is...nice to see that a few DNOs have at long last seen the light......wonder if it`l be `follow my leader` and the others decide to do the same.....
 
I was told some time ago by the guy fitting an isolator for me, that if you have to pull a fuse due to the fuseboard being in a dangerous condition, then do so and let them know so that they can come and re-seal.
If you cut the meter seal, then they will be suspicious.
Something really does need sorting out....
 

darkwood

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probably nowt....as he can/should be able to prove competance.....this is a nice little earner for the DNO....as long as the status quo is maintained that is...nice to see that a few DNOs have at long last seen the light......wonder if it`l be `follow my leader` and the others decide to do the same.....
Its not competence they are after its the fact its their property and you tampered with it they have a law on their side and their attitude to chasing up these issues is changing, otherwise they wouldn't have bothered ringing the customer up, as to what the consequences are i assume a hefty fine to deter future re-occurence, when their seals are broken it effectively leaves them exposed to energy theft whether this occurs or not is a different matter, the seal is their padlock to their product simply removing it gives them an uphill battle as to when and who, but if power is lost to meter then the new meter gives them the time and date, and if house owner can't give a reason they face a fine themselves.
The industry as got too complacent as nothing ever occured when they did it, it is changing now and unless sparkies rethink the situe then over the next 5-10 years alot will get caught out and face i assume a financial penalty at the least if not suspected of anything more than just accessing for tail change or power down.
Not only this but the dno fuses especially in the older heads often collapse in the hand and i know very few sparkies bother with correct PPE to just pull a fuse.
 
S

sparks1973

Its not competence they are after its the fact its their property and you tampered with it they have a law on their side and their attitude to chasing up these issues is changing, otherwise they wouldn't have bothered ringing the customer up, as to what the consequences are i assume a hefty fine to deter future re-occurence, when their seals are broken it effectively leaves them exposed to energy theft whether this occurs or not is a different matter, the seal is their padlock to their product simply removing it gives them an uphill battle as to when and who, but if power is lost to meter then the new meter gives them the time and date, and if house owner can't give a reason they face a fine themselves.
The industry as got too complacent as nothing ever occured when they did it, it is changing now and unless sparkies rethink the situe then over the next 5-10 years alot will get caught out and face i assume a financial penalty at the least if not suspected of anything more than just accessing for tail change or power down.
Not only this but the dno fuses especially in the older heads often collapse in the hand and i know very few sparkies bother with correct PPE to just pull a fuse.
i saw some plastic pliers a while back...think it was ebay...i cant remember....what i do remember is they looked pretty hefty...just right for grabbing the carrier....and yes...we all know about the PPE side of things...face visor...appropriate footware...rubber gauntlets......i know about the new smart meters n all....see as energy firms ( a license to print cash)...continue to fleece and rob.....so they become ever more paranoid that someone will just do it back to them.....and anyone that thinks the price hikes are just about `improving the infastructure/logistics`..or another favourite they wheel out is `its because we have to cover theft/damage costs`...anyone who believes that old load of tosh is a gullible fool......its greed...pure and simple....thats all it is....
 

telectrix

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none of this would be necessary if DNo could be bothered to get up off their corporate arses, attend a site at 8.30am on a pre-booked date ( with a few days notice)to disconnect and return to reconnect at 5.00pm on the same day. and i've just had to duck.....; a bloody great pink pig just flew past my window.
 
S

sparks1973

none of this would be necessary if DNo could be bothered to get up off their corporate arses, attend a site at 8.30am on a pre-booked date ( with a few days notice)to disconnect and return to reconnect at 5.00pm on the same day. and i've just had to duck.....; a bloody great pink pig just flew past my window.
yep exactly Tel....i think though if some DNOs have found a way.....its a case for others to follow suit....now, this can also be used as a `meter` of sorts...to see who the unreasonable DNOs are....as these will be the ones that drag their feet over it all.....until they have found a way to cash in on it that is....so electricians end up paying the DNO....to do the work of the DNO...lolffs...
 
1

1shortcircuit

If the DNO wanted to ensure that their equipment was not tampered with then I am sure there are many ways that they could make it near impossible or if they couldn't do that then they could install some sort of tamper alarm that could only be reset by them.
 
S

sparks1973

If the DNO wanted to ensure that their equipment was not tampered with then I am sure there are many ways that they could make it near impossible or if they couldn't do that then they could install some sort of tamper alarm that could only be reset by them.
might be an intrusion too far though into someone elses property though....i know for a start that i certainly would not appreciate some sort of `tamper alarm` being installed in my house..DNO property or not its still in MY house....anyway, such a thing goes against our society in general...like assuming guilt (which such a device is)..last time i looked it was upto the accuser to prove guilt...beyond any reasonable doubt....so a
`tamper alarm` is just another little step down the winding road to the police state....where surveillance and spying is the norm.....besides....i think `smart meters (smart for who?)..smart meters` have already gone a long way to acheaving this.....god, what next?...
 

soulman

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Arms
If the DNO dont supply a means of isolation then pulling the fuse is the only way, with the introduction of smart meters it was there chance to put things right and install an isolator. They haven't so the electrician has no choice!!! It maybe there equipment but the tails belong to the consumer & electricians should not be working live, therefore the fuse is pulled for safe isolation. I would like to see them try & fine a spark, it would just not stand up in court. There is no clear procedure for a spark to follow, until this is implemented the fuse will continue to be pulled.
 
I have to say that I don't pull fuses, I always either get an isolator fitted or get the supplier out to disconnect.
All that said, I am coming to the end of my tether now. It takes weeks to get the supplier to come out, so scheduling work is a nightmare. Add to that the fact that while Eon do it all for free as part of the service, BG are charging a fee for removing a fuse, then a fee to come and put it back in and reseal it!! They also charge for an isolator.
I know that I keep banging on about this, but the suppliers need to get their act together.... If they want to be fully responsible for disconnection/reconnection, then they need a hotline for electricians so that this can be done at short notice, with either no, or a minimal charge. If they don't want to offer this kind of professional service, then they need to allow registered sparks to carry out fuse removal and resealing in the way SSE do.
 
S

sparks1973

I have to say that I don't pull fuses, I always either get an isolator fitted or get the supplier out to disconnect.
All that said, I am coming to the end of my tether now. It takes weeks to get the supplier to come out, so scheduling work is a nightmare. Add to that the fact that while Eon do it all for free as part of the service, BG are charging a fee for removing a fuse, then a fee to come and put it back in and reseal it!! They also charge for an isolator.
I know that I keep banging on about this, but the suppliers need to get their act together.... If they want to be fully responsible for disconnection/reconnection, then they need a hotline for electricians so that this can be done at short notice, with either no, or a minimal charge. If they don't want to offer this kind of professional service, then they need to allow registered sparks to carry out fuse removal and resealing in the way SSE do.
BUT THEY WONT guitarist......see as far as they are concerned...the system aint broke is it....there they are...getting money for work that any competent electrician can do....they can charge what they want (no rules there)...turn up when they like (hmm, no rules there either).....and the cash keeps flowing.....seems to me that all`s rosy in the DNO garden of eden....
 
BUT THEY WONT guitarist......see as far as they are concerned...the system aint broke is it....there they are...getting money for work that any competent electrician can do....they can charge what they want (no rules there)...turn up when they like (hmm, no rules there either).....and the cash keeps flowing.....seems to me that all`s rosy in the DNO garden of eden....
Sadly..... I have to agree with you mate. Why would they ruin a good thing.....
 

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