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  • FIRST POST
    • KommanderKeen
    • By KommanderKeen 10th Oct 16, 12:51 PM
    • 5Posts
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    KommanderKeen
    Electrician - Understanding 2016 consumer unit requirements
    • #1
    • 10th Oct 16, 12:51 PM
    Electrician - Understanding 2016 consumer unit requirements 10th Oct 16 at 12:51 PM
    I moved into my current house 12 months ago. The existing consumer fuse box is about 4 years old. Fitting snugly below it is a prepay electric meter.

    I want to remove the prepay meter because I believe the bills are more expensive. I called the electric company out to remove it, but the guy says he can't access it because the consumer box is in the way - it's right on top and the screws on the meter are on top of the box. He is not allowed to move the consumer unit. Also, the Smart Meter I would have installed instead is slightly larger and so needs a few inches extra space.

    So all I really want is for someone to move the consumer unit up 6 inches. I've called an electrician who has quoted £450(?!). His reasoning is that we have a plastic (4 year old) consumer units and as of 2016 all consumer units have to be metal. (I can't link to the rule apparently but search for '2016 metal consumer unit' and it'll be the first result).

    Has the electrician understood the rules correctly? I appreciate that fitting a new unit, or making dramatic repairs would necessitate a new metal unit, but I just want it moving slightly.


    On another note: If smart meters are to be compulsory in the near future, but mine cannot be fitted without moving the consumer unit, would the electric company bare the costs of the installation?
Page 1
    • phil24_7
    • By phil24_7 10th Oct 16, 3:34 PM
    • 1,301 Posts
    • 585 Thanks
    phil24_7
    • #2
    • 10th Oct 16, 3:34 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Oct 16, 3:34 PM
    Call a few more electricians. 1 will move it for a lot less regardless of any new rules.

    I would hazard a guess that you are not required to install a new consumer unit and that your sparks is trying a fast one (I am not qualified though so don't quote me). Do you or any of your friends or family know a good local sparks? An introduction my yield different results if the new rules do require a new consumer unit (highly unlikely though as your installation would not somehow become dangerous just from being moved).
    • Grenage
    • By Grenage 10th Oct 16, 4:04 PM
    • 881 Posts
    • 825 Thanks
    Grenage
    • #3
    • 10th Oct 16, 4:04 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Oct 16, 4:04 PM
    I do recall something about non-combustible enclosures; regs aren't retrospective, and you aren't replacing the CU - just moving it.

    I'm not a sparky, but I'd get more quotes.
    • brightontraveller
    • By brightontraveller 10th Oct 16, 4:59 PM
    • 1,187 Posts
    • 455 Thanks
    brightontraveller
    • #4
    • 10th Oct 16, 4:59 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Oct 16, 4:59 PM
    Something’s doesn't sound correct CU wouldn’t impede changing meter (CU isn’t allowed on suppliers board although many cowboys might stick them there) Prepayment meters are normally bigger than smart and fixing are internal ?



    What does paper work say guidance would be....
    Category C: Not Unsafe Information Reported
    (Continue with your work if possible but report the issue to the
    supplier)
    Asset Condition Code: EC001
    Code Description : Insufficient space for smart meter equipment
    • Risteard
    • By Risteard 10th Oct 16, 7:11 PM
    • 478 Posts
    • 145 Thanks
    Risteard
    • #5
    • 10th Oct 16, 7:11 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Oct 16, 7:11 PM
    It should also be noted that substantial work might be needed to move the distribution board 6 inches.
    • KommanderKeen
    • By KommanderKeen 10th Oct 16, 8:42 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    KommanderKeen
    • #6
    • 10th Oct 16, 8:42 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Oct 16, 8:42 PM
    Thanks for the replies.

    Ideally I would post a photo of the board but unfortunately I'm not able to post links yet. Unsure when the 'new user' category will expire.
    • KommanderKeen
    • By KommanderKeen 10th Oct 16, 8:49 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    KommanderKeen
    • #7
    • 10th Oct 16, 8:49 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Oct 16, 8:49 PM
    (CU isn’t allowed on suppliers board although many cowboys might stick them there)
    Originally posted by brightontraveller
    I have one board only with both the CU and the prepay meter on it. Is that acceptable?

    The CU is sitting right on top of the prepay meter. Hence why I cannot remove the prepay meter, the screws for it are apparently on the top.

    Although the previous house owner employed the electrician who did the job, they did leave his contact details and he is certified. Does that mean, assuming it's a botch job, I can try hold him accountable for the fix?


    My very first move in all of this was to have someone from the electric company come out. I assumed they would just swap the meter over but they said they would not be able to fit a smart meter in the available space.

    I wonder if I look to change company will I get a different answer to this question... that would solve everything as all the other issues stem from being unable to swap the prepay meter for smart meter, without messing with the CU.
    • Ectophile
    • By Ectophile 10th Oct 16, 9:53 PM
    • 2,382 Posts
    • 1,419 Thanks
    Ectophile
    • #8
    • 10th Oct 16, 9:53 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Oct 16, 9:53 PM
    Amendment 3 of the 17th edition of BS7671 (the "IEE Wiring Regulations") effectively banned plastic consumer units inside houses. They are supposed to be made of fire-retardant plastics, but the manufacturers had been buying in the cheapest rubbish they could, and many of the recent ones were highly flammable.

    The wiring rules aren't retrospective (though later inspections are normally done against the latest rules, not the ones in force when the equipment was installed).

    As Risteard points out, moving a consumer unit is rarely a simple job, as the wires will most likely be too short.

    You may struggle to get anyone else to pay. You won't be the person who paid the installer, so you have no contract with them. Good luck trying to get your electricity supplier to pay.
    • brightontraveller
    • By brightontraveller 10th Oct 16, 10:46 PM
    • 1,187 Posts
    • 455 Thanks
    brightontraveller
    • #9
    • 10th Oct 16, 10:46 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Oct 16, 10:46 PM
    I have one board only with both the CU and the prepay meter on it. Is that acceptable?

    The CU is sitting right on top of the prepay meter. Hence why I cannot remove the prepay meter, the screws for it are apparently on the top.

    Although the previous house owner employed the electrician who did the job, they did leave his contact details and he is certified. Does that mean, assuming it's a botch job, I can try hold him accountable for the fix?


    My very first move in all of this was to have someone from the electric company come out. I assumed they would just swap the meter over but they said they would not be able to fit a smart meter in the available space.

    I wonder if I look to change company will I get a different answer to this question... that would solve everything as all the other issues stem from being unable to swap the prepay meter for smart meter, without messing with the CU.
    Originally posted by KommanderKeen
    If you have no paper work from suppliers then couldn't tell you why they didn't fit it but just because installer "said" means nothing if its not in writing...
    Liability of other parties you have no proof so little too no chance
    Last edited by brightontraveller; 10-10-2016 at 10:50 PM.
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