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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

First post so please be gentle. I am not an electrician and have very little knowledge when it comes to electrics.
I’m thinking of replacing my ICE with a BEV when my company car renewal is due (a couple of months) and one of the requirements of my employer is that to have a BEV you must have a home charger installed.

My meter and consumer unit are both under the stairs in the middle of the house I.e. not near an external wall, I don’t think that will be an issue though as I have power to the detached garage and also various outside lights.
What is concerning me though is that my electrics look very old fashioned! Will they be able to support a charger install?
I’m in the process of moving to Octopus and then will apply for a smart meter but in the meantime have attached some photos.
Would any of you experts be able to comment on my set up?
Thanks in advance!
GandT :)

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I can’t comment on the details of your set up, but you need a separate dedicated cable running from your fuse box. So you won’t be able to use the existing garage supply. I got my own electrician to run a dedicated 32A cable and then had Podpoint do the final install of charger, breakers etc under the government scheme.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can’t comment on the details of your set up, but you need a separate dedicated cable running from your fuse box. So you won’t be able to use the existing garage supply. I got my own electrician to run a dedicated 32A cable and then had Podpoint do the final install of charger, breakers etc under the government scheme.
Thanks, I wouldn’t actually be charging in the garage (that’s for storage!) but on the drive with the charger mounted on either the garage or house wall, I just mentioned it to clarify that I already have cables run externally from the meter/ CU.
 

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That is an ancient install for certain, so as part of the smart meter install it is probably advisable to get it replaced with new items, although some of the wiring looks to be later newer additions, its really the DNO side that looks very old/archaic.
You may need the DNO to replace some aspects of the install but worth sending pics of install to Octopus so they have a view of what they can do. Definately get an isolation switch fitted after the meter, which Octopus will do as part of the meter install foc.

A home charger could just be a granny charger using a 13A socket, so that might cover your needs until a proper 7kW home charger gets installed, assuming you have a suitable socket close to the car.

The main fuse needs to be 100A these days and I doubt that is what is installed in this setup, maybe only 60A.
Looks like the main consumer unit has all fuse/MCB locations used, cant see on the garage unit.
Would certainly get some sparkies in to look at setup and get quotes/info and also contact your DNO to check fuse rating for property.
 
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As above, your current installation is very out of date and requires a lot replacing. You will need a dedicated cable to the charge point from a separate CU fed from the Henley blocks (the black ones under the gold Henley fuse box). The main question is how easy is it to run a cable? Do you have suspended floors or a cellar?
 
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Looks like you have economy 7, is that for storage heaters?
 

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It does look like there's stuff for an electrician to sort out either before or during a chargepoint install. Boxbrownie has highlighted what looks like a serious safety issue, exposed live contacts because a cover is missing.
Your existing cabling to the garage might be designed to be adequate for a couple of 13A sockets and a light fitting, but not to supply a 7.4kW chargepoint in addition. So wherever you decide to locate your chargepoint, you'll need new cabling from your consumer unit to that location. Likely the installer will want to install a separate sub-consumer-unit for the chargepoint, so space in your crowded area will need to be found for that. And I'm not sure if that large cream item labelled HENLEY is a main isolator switch, but if it isn't, it's certainly going to be a good idea to have one installed. Nowadays they're not that big...
Octopus will be changing some of what you have at present, to install the smart meter. Maybe it's worth waiting until that's done before calling in an electrician to do the rest. It would be nice to rip all that ancient stuff out and have a nice neat modern - and safe - setup with proper circuit protection (RCD or RCBO, maybe surge protection too) in the Consumer Unit. But that I'm thinking won't be cheap...
 

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Hi everyone,

First post so please be gentle. I am not an electrician and have very little knowledge when it comes to electrics.
I’m thinking of replacing my ICE with a BEV when my company car renewal is due (a couple of months) and one of the requirements of my employer is that to have a BEV you must have a home charger installed.

My meter and consumer unit are both under the stairs in the middle of the house I.e. not near an external wall, I don’t think that will be an issue though as I have power to the detached garage and also various outside lights.
What is concerning me though is that my electrics look very old fashioned! Will they be able to support a charger install?
I’m in the process of moving to Octopus and then will apply for a smart meter but in the meantime have attached some photos.
Would any of you experts be able to comment on my set up?
Thanks in advance!
GandT :)



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Most of the DNOs are helpful when it comes to replacing any old kit ( potentially unsafe) that belong to them. Ie the cutout aka supply fuse cable head. Precipitate a survey by the DNO by asking for an upgrade to 100Amps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks everyone for your responses they are really helpful. I'll respond to each of the points raised so far:

1. I'm embarrassed that I had no idea about the safety issue highlighted by Boxbrownie, will get that sorted ASAP.

2. I do need a 7.4kW installation if I'm going to go BEV as employers will not accept use of granny charging.

3. Yes, we are on Economy 7 but don't have storage heaters.

4. I think I'll go with MudflatsRichard suggestion of waiting for Octopus to do their bit (notwithstanding fixing the exposed live wires) and then get the rest sorted. If I were to modernise the lot by not cheap do you have any ballpark figure? £1k, £2K ??

5. Cable routing to an external wall, we are solid floor so are going to have to get creative but the cables that currently run to the garage and outside lights go up through the ceiling in the understairs cupboard (and presumably run under the upstairs floorboards) then a single straight line run for approx 4M where they pop out of the external wall, I'm hoping we can follow that route.

Thanks again :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Most of the DNOs are helpful when it comes to replacing any old kit ( potentially unsafe) that belong to them. Ie the cutout aka supply fuse cable head. Precipitate a survey by the DNO by asking for an upgrade to 100Amps.
DNO is Western Power Distribution, great shout to ask for an upgrade to 100Amps, will get onto that.
 

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DNO is Western Power Distribution, great shout to ask for an upgrade to 100Amps, will get onto that.
I asked my DNO for an upgrade from 60 to 100, paid a small amount and they also replaced the old unsafe Bakelite fuse carrier, sorted the earth connection and confirmed it was TN-S. So saved me money overall. They also connected up to the isolation switch that had been preinstalled and upgraded my meter tails. All done with a smile.
 

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Agree that asking the DNO to upgrade and asking your supplier to replace the meter should result in a lot of that ancient clobber disappearing, and maybe for no cost.

I have to admit I don't know what half of those boxes are or who is responsible!

You might want to get a local electrician to do an EICR - a sort of MoT on the installation - and quote/ advise on the EV installation at the same time. That will bring up any glaring problems. Ideally that would be after the fuse and meter works but it can be a right juggling act getting all those ducks in a row.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I asked my DNO for an upgrade from 60 to 100, paid a small amount and they also replaced the old unsafe Bakelite fuse carrier, sorted the earth connection and confirmed it was TN-S. So saved me money overall. They also connected up to the isolation switch that had been preinstalled and upgraded my meter tails. All done with a smile.
Good result there! I've just called my DNO and they have logged the request, given me a reference and passed me to the local office and I should expect a call in the next 2 days :)

@mad_rich an EICR sounds like a good idea as well! I'll definitely look into that after the initial works
 

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Your DNO may have a document like this:
https://www.northernpowergrid.com/asset/0/document/4816.pdf have a look at page 8, Northern Powergrid say for the type you have, you should assume that it's fused at 30A and contact the DNO for assessment/possible upgrade.
This is linked from here:
 

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Thanks everyone for your responses they are really helpful. I'll respond to each of the points raised so far:

1. I'm embarrassed that I has no idea about the safety issue highlighted by Boxbrownie, will get that sorted ASAP.

2. I do need a 7.4kW installation if I'm going to go BEV as employers will not accept use of granny charging.

3. Yes, we are on Economy 7 but don't have storage heaters.

4. I think I'll go with MudflatsRichard suggestion of waiting for Octopus to do their bit (notwithstanding fixing the exposed live wires) and then get the rest sorted. If I were to modernise the lot by not cheap do you have any ballpark figure? £1k, £2K ??

5. Cable routing to an external wall, we are solid floor so are going to have to get creative but the cables that currently run to the garage and outside lights go up through the ceiling in the understairs cupboard (and presumably run under the upstairs floorboards) then a single straight line run for approx 4M where they pop out of the external wall, I'm hoping we can follow that route.

Thanks again :)


If you don't need the economy 7 the tails that go to the big black timer could be removed (along with the timer) and the tails wired into a dedicated consumer unit, the tails may need to be replaced if they aren't long enough, that way you don't need to touch any of the existing house wiring.

Then there could be two options, either run out a new cable from the new consumer unit to the charge point or upgrade the garage supply with a new cable and consumer unit and feeding the lights and sockets and charger from that.

All that work could be done by a local electrician so is all the charger installation people would need to do is wire to the new consumer unit in the garage.

The size of the new cable would have to be sufficient (50A) to allow for any appliances that you have in the garage and the charger to be in use simultaneously but the reality is that most of the time the car will charging over night when the lights and sockets wouldn't be in use.

I had a similar thing done, I had an old electric shower feed that was reprovisioned to an additional consumer unit just for the garage.

I only have an 80A main fuse, I only have a small house and it only draws around 400W during the day but that can peak around 6500W if I have the cooker, kettle etc on at the same time so that's ample for my use.

I'd get a local electrician in to discuss your installation because you will need to consider the voltage drop of the cable that goes to the garage and also the earthing requirements.
 

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Some ancient looking gear in there. A lot of wiring like that around though we have old housing stock in this country.

In our first house we had an ancient meter and associated mains wiring, fuses etc. One night it started smoking I got the electricity board out and the engineer that came said very lucky if you hadn't notice would have caught fire properly.

Definately get the meter replaced with a smart meter as has been suggested. When they put a new meter in for me they replaced a load of connecting wires and cable blocks etc and put in an isolation switch from the mains supply. Definately simplified, tidied up and improved what was there.
 

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2. I do need a 7.4kW installation if I'm going to go BEV as employers will not accept use of granny charging.
If, for some reason, you are limited by the supply you could get a charger set to 16 amps (4kW) rather than the standard 32 amps (8kW).
 

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My DNO is Western Power Distribution, they were very helpful. I got them in to check the supply fuse, the EV chargepoint installers wanted that done to ensure the supply was 80A. Apparently it might have been 65A. They came, established that my fuse is 100A and left it alone. I had already paid an electrician to install an isolator switch.
If you get the whole installation brought up to modern standard, I wouldn't be surprised if the cost amounts to £1k but the DNO might do some of it for not much cost, Octopus might do some of it when they install the smart meter, and the EV installer might do some of it as part of their task, so you might not have to pay an electrician to do very much!
 

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Our previous DNO - Western Power - upgraded our fuse from 60A to 100A at no charge. Our supplier at the time - EDF - also installed an isolator switch at no charge as part of the smart meter install (though it was a somewhat informal arrangement - I asked the engineer if he could fit one and he happened to have one on his van). So we essentially got all of the 'not ours' kit replaced at no charge.

The electrics that you own - e.g. the consumer units (fuse boxes) - actually don't look too old. In the consumer unit on the left I can see an RCD protecting the left half of the circuits, which would date it between 10 and 25 years old. The consumer unit down below looks to have all circuits protected.

There are several ways of installing a charge point. If there are spare 'ways' in those fuse boxes then it is possible to feed the charger from those (people on this forum have said that this can't be done, but it is a perfectly acceptable and legal way to do it - our previous charger was installed this way by British Gas). You can also have the feed for the charger forked off using Henley blocks after your meter. Finally if the supply to the garage is sufficient then it is possible to use this, but as others have said, it is not likely that this will be the case. In any case, it is likely that the installer will install a separate, small consumer unit solely for the charger.

You could ask a couple of electrician to come out and quote for the install - then you will get an exact idea of what needs doing, rather than us Internet folks guessing based on some photos. Because of the poor terms of the OLEV grant these days, you may find that the local electrician could give you the same, or better price than the big OLEV grant-claiming companies. To give an idea, we had a new 10mm SWA cable run to our detached garage, connection to the existing house consumer unit, a new consumer unit installed in the garage, installation and connection of a charger that we already had, purchase of an Ohme charger, installation of a 32A socket for said Ohme charger, installation of an earth rod, and full sign-off/certification for £880.
 
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