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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have been working with an Electrician to get a quote for a new CU and he will not work on board until an isolator switch is installed.

As I had a Smart Meter fitted he won't cut the supply as he had a mate fined by the DNO in the thousands he said as an engineer visited within an hour when meter went dead, so not worth his trouble to pull fuse to install.

Just been in touch with DNO and fell off my seat for a 2 pole isolator switch to be installed £231.42 inc vat. To be fair very quick response within hours of the call, but I guess they are raking it in and can give great customer service for that price...

I checked the DNO site and a fixed job price for 1 pole switch is quoted at £192.85

So an extra £38 to install a 2 pole...

A 2 pole Isolator at screwfix wylex with enclosure is £14.50

On their letter "Alternatively, you can request this work through your electricity supplier who may be able to complete this for you free of charge."

Seems to be a piss take and and I have asked my Supplier Octopus but I expect them to say no talk to DNO.

What a price gouge...

Any advice or I guess I have no choice?
 

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So I have been working with an Electrician to get a quote for a new CU and he will not work on board until an isolator switch is installed.

As I had a Smart Meter fitted he won't cut the supply as he had a mate fined by the DNO in the thousands he said as an engineer visited within an hour when meter went dead, so not worth his trouble to pull fuse to install.

Just been in touch with DNO and fell off my seat for a 2 pole isolator switch to be installed £231.42 inc vat. To be fair very quick response within hours of the call, but I guess they are raking it in and can give great customer service for that price...

I checked the DNO site and a fixed job price for 1 pole switch is quoted at £192.85

So an extra £38 to install a 2 pole...

A 2 pole Isolator at screwfix wylex with enclosure is £14.50

On their letter "Alternatively, you can request this work through your electricity supplier who may be able to complete this for you free of charge."

Seems to be a piss take and and I have asked my Supplier Octopus but I expect them to say no talk to DNO.

What a price gouge...

Any advice or I guess I have no choice?
Octopus installed an isolator for us for free!
 

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So I have been working with an Electrician to get a quote for a new CU and he will not work on board until an isolator switch is installed.

As I had a Smart Meter fitted he won't cut the supply as he had a mate fined by the DNO in the thousands he said as an engineer visited within an hour when meter went dead, so not worth his trouble to pull fuse to install.

Just been in touch with DNO and fell off my seat for a 2 pole isolator switch to be installed £231.42 inc vat. To be fair very quick response within hours of the call, but I guess they are raking it in and can give great customer service for that price...

I checked the DNO site and a fixed job price for 1 pole switch is quoted at £192.85

So an extra £38 to install a 2 pole...

A 2 pole Isolator at screwfix wylex with enclosure is £14.50

On their letter "Alternatively, you can request this work through your electricity supplier who may be able to complete this for you free of charge."

Seems to be a piss take and and I have asked my Supplier Octopus but I expect them to say no talk to DNO.

What a price gouge...

Any advice or I guess I have no choice?

As I wrote on the other thread, this isn't a "price gouge" at all. In order for the DNO to install an isolator (not something they would normally do) the meter will probably need to be moved. The DNO do not have the authority to touch anything on the supplier/consumer side, so the only place they can install an isolator would be between their fuse and the meter, and that is far from being normal practice (in fact I've never seen a domestic installation like this). I have seen industrial installations with DNO isolators up front, but even they aren't at all common, and my guess is that this may be what the DNO have quoted for.

Normally it's either the supplier or consumer that has responsibility for installing an isolator, because the most common place to fit it is in the tails between the meter and the CU, on the consumer side of the installation. Often suppliers will either fit a meter with a built in isolator (we had one like this until it was changed) or they will fit an isolator for free, or for a modest charge.

I wrote this in reply to the duplicate post about this:

"FWIW, the split of responsibility goes like this:

  • Cable into fuse head, and fuse - belongs to the DNO, and can only be worked on with DNO consent, with the sole exception of connecting the CPC to the PEN
  • Meter and tails connection to the meter is the responsibility of the supplier, and neither the DNO nor the consumer/consumer's electrician can work on them.
  • Everything downstream from the tails connection to the meter belongs to, and is the responsibility of, the consumer.
Technically, only the DNO are allowed to work on their side, and only the supplier is allowed to work on their bit in the middle, but in practice DNO's regularly grant authority for people working on the consumer side to pull their fuse for safe isolation, and suppliers have a standing dispensation from the DNOs to pull the DNO fuse and re-seal it when fitting meters. Your electrician is technically correct, but he/she could just call the DNO and get consent to pull the fuse in order to safely fit an isolator, or request that the DNO come out and do it. I fitted an isolator to our supply a while ago, not long after a meter change (they swapped a meter with a built-in isolator for one without). DNO granted me consent to pull the fuse over the phone, backed by an email confirmation. "
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks after typing this I did some googling and found this thread.


The usual super star poster has explained who does what and areas of responsibility.

So I hope Octopus will respond and do the same for me, fingers crossed...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As I wrote on the other thread, this isn't a "price gouge" at all. In order for the DNO to install an isolator (not something they would normally do) the meter will probably need to be moved. The DNO do not have the authority to touch anything on the supplier/consumer side, so the only place they can install an isolator would be between their fuse and the meter, and that is far from being normal practice (in fact I've never seen a domestic installation like this). I have seen industrial installations with DNO isolators up front, but even they aren't at all common, and my guess is that this may be what the DNO have quoted for.

Normally it's either the supplier or consumer that has responsibility for installing an isolator, because the most common place to fit it is in the tails between the meter and the CU, on the consumer side of the installation. Often suppliers will either fit a meter with a built in isolator (we had one like this until it was changed) or they will fit an isolator for free, or for a modest charge.

I wrote this in reply to the duplicate post about this:

"FWIW, the split of responsibility goes like this:

  • Cable into fuse head, and fuse - belongs to the DNO, and can only be worked on with DNO consent, with the sole exception of connecting the CPC to the PEN
  • Meter and tails connection to the meter is the responsibility of the supplier, and neither the DNO nor the consumer/consumer's electrician can work on them.
  • Everything downstream from the tails connection to the meter belongs to, and is the responsibility of, the consumer.
Technically, only the DNO are allowed to work on their side, and only the supplier is allowed to work on their bit in the middle, but in practice DNO's regularly grant authority for people working on the consumer side to pull their fuse for safe isolation, and suppliers have a standing dispensation from the DNOs to pull the DNO fuse and re-seal it when fitting meters. Your electrician is technically correct, but he/she could just call the DNO and get consent to pull the fuse in order to safely fit an isolator, or request that the DNO come out and do it. I fitted an isolator to our supply a while ago, not long after a meter change (they swapped a meter with a built-in isolator for one without). DNO granted me consent to pull the fuse over the phone, backed by an email confirmation. "
I was typing as you were...

😀
 

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Just been in touch with DNO and fell off my seat for a 2 pole isolator switch to be installed £231.42 inc vat.
Sounds very reasonable to me.

£50 for the switch, £50 to drive it there. £50 to fit it. Plus VAT. Bargain, TBH!!

Remind me how much your car cost?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sounds very reasonable to me.

£50 for the switch, £50 to drive it there. £50 to fit it. Plus VAT. Bargain, TBH!!

Remind me how much your car cost?
A 2 pole switch is £14.

VAT in the UK is currently 20% if I remember correctly...

Remind me what MPG you get from your works van?

If you ever need work doing let me know I can give you great rates...

;)
 

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A 2 pole switch is £14.
Are you sure it is a two pole you need, but more importantly do they know?

Whatever, I was not trying to be ultra specific, just roundabout numbers.

I am surprised that you think you can expect anyone to even fart at you professionally for less than £250.

148053
 

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The work involved to fit an isolator is:

1. Visually inspect installation, ensure fuse head is safe to work on (with consent from DNO) and decide sensible location and tails routing. Determine whether existing tails can be cut and reused. If not, factor in replacement tails and calling out supplier to access meter consumer terminals if these are sealed.

2. Don PPE (arc flash face shield and long insulated rubber gauntlets), ensure main switch and all loads are off, cut seals and pull main fuse, then doff the PPE. Note the value of the main fuse.

3. Test to ensure downstream installation is really dead, then cut tails, screw isolator in place, strip insulation on tails to length required, and fit to isolator terminals.

4. Torque screws on terminals according to MIs, using a calibrated torque screwdriver. Fit incoming side terminal cover.

5. Ensure isolator is off and that main switch and all loads are still disconnected, don PPE again, and replace the main fuse. Fit label on fuse carrier stating the fitted fuse rating (for the benefit of others in future).

6. Test to ensure isolator is functioning, and that it isolates the supply on both poles when off. Refit isolator outgoing side terminal cover.

7. Turn on isolator and main switch and ensure all customer's appliances are getting power OK

All told it's less than an hours work, unless there's a need to change the tails. Hourly rates vary a lot, though. I nearly fell off my chair watching that Jordan Farley video posted yesterday, where he casually mentioned that his normal hourly rate was £96 (presumably plus VAT). Daily rates around here are under £300, but that doesn't translate to an hourly rate for a job like this, because realistically the time taken getting the parts and travelling time has to be factored in. Usually suppliers subsidise the cost of doing this, I think, as many either make no charge or only a nominal charge.

The work required for the DNO to fit an isolator on their side would be a lot more involved than this, as they are not permitted to work on the consumer side, where fitting an isolator is usually pretty straightforward. Their rates are also a heck of a lot higher than most electricians would ever charge.
 

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So I have been working with an Electrician to get a quote for a new CU and he will not work on board until an isolator switch is installed.

As I had a Smart Meter fitted he won't cut the supply as he had a mate fined by the DNO in the thousands he said as an engineer visited within an hour when meter went dead, so not worth his trouble to pull fuse to install.

Just been in touch with DNO and fell off my seat for a 2 pole isolator switch to be installed £231.42 inc vat. To be fair very quick response within hours of the call, but I guess they are raking it in and can give great customer service for that price...

I checked the DNO site and a fixed job price for 1 pole switch is quoted at £192.85

So an extra £38 to install a 2 pole...

A 2 pole Isolator at screwfix wylex with enclosure is £14.50

On their letter "Alternatively, you can request this work through your electricity supplier who may be able to complete this for you free of charge."

Seems to be a piss take and and I have asked my Supplier Octopus but I expect them to say no talk to DNO.

What a price gouge...

Any advice or I guess I have no choice?
Which DNO?
Something not right here, all isolator switches will be double pole.
 

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Which DNO?
Something not right here, all isolator switches will be double pole.

DNOs use single pole isolators on their side occasionally. Bear in mind that there will have probably been crossed purposes involved here, given that the DNO isn't responsible for supplier/consumer side stuff, so has almost certainly quoted for a network side disconnect.
 

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DNOs use single pole isolators on their side occasionally. Bear in mind that there will have probably been crossed purposes involved here, given that the DNO isn't responsible for supplier/consumer side stuff, so has almost certainly quoted for a network side disconnect.
Agree, definitely crossed communication. On consumer side, of course double pole isolator is required.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The work involved to fit an isolator is:

1. Visually inspect installation, ensure fuse head is safe to work on (with consent from DNO) and decide sensible location and tails routing. Determine whether existing tails can be cut and reused. If not, factor in replacement tails and calling out supplier to access meter consumer terminals if these are sealed.

2. Don PPE (arc flash face shield and long insulated rubber gauntlets), ensure main switch and all loads are off, cut seals and pull main fuse, then doff the PPE. Note the value of the main fuse.

3. Test to ensure downstream installation is really dead, then cut tails, screw isolator in place, strip insulation on tails to length required, and fit to isolator terminals.

4. Torque screws on terminals according to MIs, using a calibrated torque screwdriver. Fit incoming side terminal cover.

5. Ensure isolator is off and that main switch and all loads are still disconnected, don PPE again, and replace the main fuse. Fit label on fuse carrier stating the fitted fuse rating (for the benefit of others in future).

6. Test to ensure isolator is functioning, and that it isolates the supply on both poles when off. Refit isolator outgoing side terminal cover.

7. Turn on isolator and main switch and ensure all customer's appliances are getting power OK

All told it's less than an hours work, unless there's a need to change the tails. Hourly rates vary a lot, though. I nearly fell off my chair watching that Jordan Farley video posted yesterday, where he casually mentioned that his normal hourly rate was £96 (presumably plus VAT). Daily rates around here are under £300, but that doesn't translate to an hourly rate for a job like this, because realistically the time taken getting the parts and travelling time has to be factored in. Usually suppliers subsidise the cost of doing this, I think, as many either make no charge or only a nominal charge.

The work required for the DNO to fit an isolator on their side would be a lot more involved than this, as they are not permitted to work on the consumer side, where fitting an isolator is usually pretty straightforward. Their rates are also a heck of a lot higher than most electricians would ever charge.
Hi Jeremy thanks for the as ever detailed and clear responses..

Meter and tails connection to the meter is the responsibility of the supplier, and neither the DNO nor the consumer/consumer's electrician can work on them.
This seems to be my mistake as an uninformed customer that the DNO does not do this job. Yet they quote for it and I explained on the phone to two different people at the DNO I needed a isolator as my electrician wanted to work safely on changing the CU to a new unit.

So since typing this thread I did a search and found out that Octopus do install isolators, (N.b. The other thread you responded to first, this thread was awaiting approval to be placed on this site so when I typed in the Octopus thread this was not visible for me or anyone) So this thread could well be redundant, except to serve as information on how to do to get an isolator fitted.

So what you have described as the task of installing an isolator is broadly inline with the work package I expected and based upon a quick search for a 2 pole isolator...


£14 for the parts it seemed that Labour was rather high for an hour job. I did not realise that the DNO staff commanded better rates as they must be more skilled than mere mortals...

Anyway enough said, they quoted and I think the price is high and I await to see if there is an option for Octopus to do the work at what I hope to be a lower price...

:)

BTW - To Be fair to the DNO they did say " Alternatively, you can request this work through your electricity supplier who may be able to complete this for you free of charge." which is why I was checking on this great forum if suppliers do install isolators and hence my learning today...

Thanks to everyone...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Agree, definitely crossed communication. On consumer side, of course double pole isolator is required.
Could be, but I did verbally explain to 2 people at DNO that I was asking for an isolator because my electrician had requested one to work safely on the consumer unit.

And in their quote to do that they said my supplier might do it for free, so they seemed to be talking about the same thing?

The charge for a two pole isolator switch is £231.42 including VAT. If you wish to have the isolator switch connected, please complete and return the enclosed billing form. We will then contact you to arrange a suitable programme date. When the work has been completed an invoice will be sent to the billing address for the appropriate amount.

Alternatively, you can request this work through your electricity supplier who may be able to complete this for you free of charge.
 

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Could be, but I did verbally explain to 2 people at DNO that I was asking for an isolator because my electrician had requested one to work safely on the consumer unit.

And in their quote to do that they said my supplier might do it for free, so they seemed to be talking about the same thing?
My DNO made the connections to the Isolator Switch for free, as part of the fuse upgrade. Decent blokes.
 

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My DNO made the connections to the Isolator Switch for free, as part of the fuse upgrade. Decent blokes.

TBH, if you get the chance to deal with the people actually doing the work, then my experience is that they will usually be massively more helpful than their head office. We had loads of hassle from the utilities when building this house, but the blokes from both SSEPD (as it was then) and especially the OpenReach local engineer, were absolutely brilliant. They must be sick and tired of customers telling them how f'ing useless their bosses are.
 

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A sparky wouldn't do work for me for exactly the same reason as the OP. It may be anecdotal, but he told me if the power is cut to the smart meter, it phones home and they are round quicker than you'd expect.

The trick is to get the isolator fitted when the smart meter is being fitted! But if you don't ask, you may not get one. I had no idea about that 4 years ago, when the person who fitted the smart meter used the original 16mm tails. DNO won't upgrade the tails, that's the job of the supplier. Nor will DNO fit an isolator after the meter. The only correct option is to get the energy supplier to book a job with their metering contractor. I requested that through octopus. It took about 5 months to get done with a bit of chasing. I guess it's not urgent! To the credit of octopus, I wasn't charged for the job.

The only bonus of this was that the contractor showed me the main fuse. It was 60A. I can now send that photo to the DNO and ask for a 100A to be fitted
 

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A sparky wouldn't do work for me for exactly the same reason as the OP. It may be anecdotal, but he told me if the power is cut to the smart meter, it phones home and they are round quicker than you'd expect.

The trick is to get the isolator fitted when the smart meter is being fitted! But if you don't ask, you may not get one. I had no idea about that 4 years ago, when the person who fitted the smart meter used the original 16mm tails. DNO won't upgrade the tails, that's the job of the supplier. Nor will DNO fit an isolator after the meter. The only correct option is to get the energy supplier to book a job with their metering contractor. I requested that through octopus. It took about 5 months to get done with a bit of chasing. I guess it's not urgent! To the credit of octopus, I wasn't charged for the job.

He's right, smart meters can "phone home" if the power fails, and in theory there is a very tiny possibility that someone might possibly be bored enough to try and correlate the loss of power indicated by the meter with glitches on the distribution network, and then try and find out why. The chances of this happening for real are vanishingly small, though. Even if they did, they won't do anything. Sparks have been pulling fuses since forever, even though everyone knows they are not supposed to. If anyone ever questions it there is a perfect excuse, ready made, just say there was a dangerous fault on the installation that required immediate isolation. No one is ever going to question this after the event, when the work is completed and there's no sign of the original fault. Anyway, the DNO and suppliers have far more important thongs to bother about than someone pulling a fuse to work with safe isolation. This story of smart meter spying on electricians is spreading like an urban myth, though, thanks to social media.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The trick is to get the isolator fitted when the smart meter is being fitted! But if you don't ask, you may not get one.
The Trick is to get it specified as part of the job…

I asked the guy installing the meter and he would not install one..

So I think if anyone is being given guidance is ask the energy supplier to do it and ensure it is on the job card…

BTW The guy doing my meter install failed to isolate the solar panels and wondered why there were sparks on the main fuse… I had to remind him we had solar which was obvious and had the charts / diagrams in the cu cupboard!!! So I guess I was just unlucky...

Anyway will see what Octopus says... (when they respond to my e-mail...)

I will ask my sparky to name who got the fine and the exact amount... He seemed vague when I asked before and I think the urban myth might be at play?
 
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