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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Be warned if you have EV Charging related equipment. That is not about the actual EV charger just the associated distribution or the OLEV GSM meter unit in your meter box. It is a common practice with EV Charging installers to put kit in the meter box. Then you can have a nasty problem when it comes to electricity meter replacement. Here is a cautionary tale. Sorry about the length. Bear with me - it could save you grief.

Sounds simple does it not. Install a home EV Charger and away you go.
That's what I though and used a reputable supplier under the OLEV scheme (one of the best).

No problems for two years until my non-Smart electric meter stopped displaying units and started flashing eights instead. So called energy supplier and requested a repair or replacement unit. Started estimating my monthly return instead of taking a reading. They booked a company to come out. Clock starts ticking.

Waited at home. Company failed to appear twice. First time a phone call - everybody has gone on a H&S course, second time a phone call no spare engineer as the engineer has phoned in sick. Third time they turned up. Chap takes one look in the meter box and says not enough space so cannot fit smart meter having driven for two hours to get to me. I say but I don't want a smart meter until the model comes out that allows you to transfer from one supplier to another. He says he has no authorisation to fit an ordinary dumb meter. My guess is that he does not have one on the van. He is not allowed to touch anything outside the meter box. Tells me sometimes he cannot change a meter if the DNO fuse is outside the box. He can only change a faulty meter. He is unable to do a field repair. I suspect meter battery backup for memory if it has been fitted has failed after 16 years. There has to be a power source to hold the meter reading in memory in the event of a long outage. The meter looks as if it has a plug-in battery under a front cover and a seal. If so it would be seconds to fix and looks to be a hot swap since it is low voltage. It becomes clear that to the 'engineer' the meter is just a unit. We discuss options - job aborted. No fix.

His view is:

That EV installers should not put EV charging distribution and metering equipment in meter boxes. (Where in EV charging installation regulations for the OLEV grant does it say that? - after all the key GSM unit is for metering.)

The board at the back of the meter cabinet belongs to the supplier and EV charger installers should not use it. I reply that the board belongs to me as it is on my property. The main supply fuse and its housing belong to the DNO. Never did work out who owns the screws that hold it to the board.

DNO might or might not agree to move main fuse down a few inches that would allow space for smart meter above it. The smart meter is about twice the size of the original meter.

DNO and/or Supplier might demand that EV charging equipment is removed from cabinet at my expense before they will do anything.

So I have acted dumb and asked to the supplier to book a fourth call out to fit a dumb meter that will fit in the existing space and given them the measurements (no excuses). I live in hope that common sense will prevail.

The prospect of a Mexican Standoff with the Electricity Supplier, the Supplier's field agent, the original EV Charger installer, the DNO, and myself is just too awful to contemplate.

In less than a year the GSM unit reporting the kWh going into the car can come out anyway leaving space for a smart meter that by then might actually work. Reporting only has to be for three years. Does OLEV use the data for anything useful?

I have not named names yet, since there is still a chance pragmatic action involving as few parties as possible will save the day.

I am left wondering if the meters which still proclaim on the front that they are the property of the DNO concerned have been dumped on the energy suppliers to replace as the point of responsibility for the DNO seems to have moved back to the street side of the meter. It does look as if forcing the change to smart meters by not replacing a backup battery that is designed to be replaced could be being played out on unsuspecting public.

What would you do?

I am appalled at this incoherent jumble of conflicting interests that cannot take a coherent view of something as simple as a 100A single phase domestic supply, meter, and a spur distribution?
 

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His view is:

That EV installers should not put EV charging distribution and metering equipment in meter boxes. (Where in EV charging installation regulations for the OLEV grant does it say that? - after all the key GSM unit is for metering.)
It is not covered in the OLEV grant rules, the Code of Practice for EV Charging Equipment Installation, nor in the general wiring regulations (BS7671). It is however subject to the requirements imposed by the DNO providing the connection, and those rules are (possibly) incorporated into the terms of contract you have with your supplier.

Here are the requirements specified by UKPN (see section 4.5)

https://library.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/library/en/g81/Design_and_Planning/Planning_and_Design/Documents/EDS+08-0129+LV+Customer+Supplies+up+to+100A+Single+Phase.pdf

These things vary regionally, and it is worth looking up exactly what your local DNO says.

There is also the very grey area of 'grandfathered' installations that don't meet current requirements.

One of the reasons advanced to justify this rule is that there may be a need to install a check meter in addition to your normal meter in the event of a dispute over meter accuracy.

The board at the back of the meter cabinet belongs to the supplier and EV charger installers should not use it. I reply that the board belongs to me as it is on my property. The main supply fuse and its housing belong to the DNO. Never did work out who owns the screws that hold it to the board.
It belongs to you, but the DNO requires you to make it available to them in order to receive service.

I am left wondering if the meters which still proclaim on the front that they are the property of the DNO concerned have been dumped on the energy suppliers to replace as the point of responsibility for the DNO seems to have moved back to the street side of the meter. It does look as if forcing the change to smart meters by not replacing a backup battery that is designed to be replaced could be being played out on unsuspecting public.
Note that there's now three parties typically involved: DNO, Meter Operator, Energy Supplier.

Some DNOs appear more aggressive than others in disowning equipment originally installed by them or their predecessors, so that they don't have to maintain it. This is particularly an issue in blocks of flats or similar, where the internal wiring from the service head to the meters at individual flats would, in a new installation, be the responsibility of a 'Building Network Operator'. There have been cases where the DNO have declared existing installations to be not their problem ("it belongs to the BNO, not us"), when the BNO doesn't actually exist other than in their imagination, and the existing installation has been built to DNO rules rather than BS7671 rules so is difficult for anybody else to maintain. Compared to a situation like that, yours is nice and simple....

What would you do?
I would do exactly what you are doing, and try to get the existing setup repaired. They can't force you to have a smartmeter, and they don't currently have a legitimate reason for needing the space in the meter box.

They would probably say that you should have put an additional meter box next to 'their' one to house your additional equipment, even though that would have been huge inconvenience and expense and doing what your installer did is common practice.
 

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The general rule of thumb is that nothing but the meter and service head should be in the meter box, along with a switchfuse or isolator if desired (or required). ALL electricians will know this. Its not a secret.

If you require more kit, the official line is that you need to make your own arrangements, such as another box mounted alongside, and put your kit in there.

Clearly, people flout the rules, and often they'll get away with it, but when equipment that shouldnt be in the box starts causing issues, then clearly they're just going to walk away until you fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks @Aragorn and @arg for the information and advice. I was an electronics engineer so never needed to keep up with IET regs and the like despite studying electrics as well at university a long time ago. So while OK on the theory not there on the practice and regs for domestic installations. Some more questions, if you can stand it, as I try and puzzle out the best approach to resolution.

Would I be right then in thinking that if push come to shove and it is necessary to remove from the meter box the EV Charger feed isolator and the up-stream GSM metering that the OLEV approved original contractor which supplied and installed the EV charger is liable to make good at their own expense? If they are and are will not do the decent thing then I will move to the small claims court and then name and shame publicity.

The EV Charger installer should have known that they should not use the meter box space and not have offered it as an installation solution to a customer. The meter repairer on his visit indicated they are finding a lot of EV Charger equipment installed in meter cabinets.

Is there a simpler approved equipment box that could be mounted on a wall rather than let into the wall?

The need for space for a check meter means a lot of space if that could result in two smart meters being installed. In my case even if the cabinet was empty the DNO fuse would have to be reinstalled lower in the box to be able to fit two smart meters (worst case) side by side. However lowering the main fuse location with a bottom entry supply might make the bending radius on the supply cable too tight.
 

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Would I be right then in thinking that if push come to shove and it is necessary to remove from the meter box the EV Charger feed isolator and the up-stream GSM metering that the OLEV approved original contractor which supplied and installed the EV charger is liable to make good at their own expense? If they are and are will not do the decent thing then I will move to the small claims court and then name and shame publicity.
You are really asking for legal advice here, which I am definitely not competent to give.

So far as I can see, you have two contractural relationships here - with the energy supplier and with the chargepoint installer and it's all down to the terms (and implied terms) of those contracts.

The one piece of legislation that seems possibly relevant is the ESQCR (section 26 looks possibly applicable to disputes, but I doubt you want to take it that far).

But it seems to me a very grey area and unlikely to be resolved easily in court.

Is there a simpler approved equipment box that could be mounted on a wall rather than let into the wall?
There's no particular restriction on the type of box you might use - there's many to choose from, but most would look rather ugly plonked on the wall. Putting two meter boxes side-by-side is a common approach where this is really necessary.

One restriction you do have is a maximum of 3m cable length from the cut-out to the first overcurrent protection (fuse) in the customer's side of the installation - in your case I'm assuming your main house consumer unit is less than 3m away (other side of the wall), and there's an extra CU added for the EV charging, currently in the meter box.

The UKPN rules I linked earlier do allow a customer's switchfuse to be in the meter box (thus allowing unlimited length of cable to a consumer unit elsewhere in the house), though I believe not all DNOs allow this.

Possibly the installer would argue that their mini-CU is equivalent to a switchfuse for this purpose, though that's stretching things. The OLEV meter could have been put elsewhere - it doesn't need to be at the source of supply, it's just supposed to be recording the EV usage, so could have been mounted underneath the chargepoint or indeed anywhere else convenient along the run of the cable.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
You are really asking for legal advice here, which I am definitely not competent to give.

So far as I can see, you have two contractural relationships here - with the energy supplier and with the chargepoint installer and it's all down to the terms (and implied terms) of those contracts.

The one piece of legislation that seems possibly relevant is the ESQCR (section 26 looks possibly applicable to disputes, but I doubt you want to take it that far).

But it seems to me a very grey area and unlikely to be resolved easily in court.



There's no particular restriction on the type of box you might use - there's many to choose from, but most would look rather ugly plonked on the wall. Putting two meter boxes side-by-side is a common approach where this is really necessary.

One restriction you do have is a maximum of 3m cable length from the cut-out to the first overcurrent protection (fuse) in the customer's side of the installation - in your case I'm assuming your main house consumer unit is less than 3m away (other side of the wall), and there's an extra CU added for the EV charging, currently in the meter box.

The UKPN rules I linked earlier do allow a customer's switchfuse to be in the meter box (thus allowing unlimited length of cable to a consumer unit elsewhere in the house), though I believe not all DNOs allow this.

Possibly the installer would argue that their mini-CU is equivalent to a switchfuse for this purpose, though that's stretching things. The OLEV meter could have been put elsewhere - it doesn't need to be at the source of supply, it's just supposed to be recording the EV usage, so could have been mounted underneath the chargepoint or indeed anywhere else convenient along the run of the cable.
@arg Thanks again that is really helpful. If my electrical supplier refuse to replace the dumb meter with the same and demand more space in the box then the GSM meter can come out into a separate box. The meter box space released would be enough for a smart meter. The EV GSM meter only has to be there for another 10 months and that will be the end of the OLEV three year reporting period. Then the extra box (a small GRP IP65) could come off the wall. As you say going the legal route is likely to be unsatisfactory and a bit pointless.

The distribution panel is the other side of the wall and has a couple of spare points. However it is inside a right angled small cupboard and drilling the wall from the inside to the outside is all but impossible. I am guessing the distribution panel went up on the wall before the cupboard inner wall was erected.

I am going to try and keep the EV Charging spur installation outside the house so it can a) be isolated in the event of a problem from outside the house since the isolator is in the meter cabinet but the charger is a locked unit and b) so it is easy to pick-up and relocate if I change house.
 
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