Double Pole Mains Isolator Switch

Does Bulb provide support for additional hardware required in the home? Apparently we need a double pole mains isolator switch installed in order to have an EV charge point installed.

This sounds like work between the consumer unit (“fuse box”) and the meter: I would guess it would probably be something you’ll have to ask your electricity distribution company/network operator (see http://www.energynetworks.org/info/faqs/who-is-my-network-operator.html ) to do as that part (I think) is their responsibility as you’ve got no way of turning off the power before then (the network operator is definetly responsible up to the meter and you are responsible from the consumer unit onwards: between the two is a bit of a grey area to be honest).

The way I tend to think of things is:

  • There are electricity generators
  • These supply power to “the grid”
  • The network operators get the power from the “grid” to your house
  • The “electricity company” (i.e. Bulb) is just responsible for making sure all those other companies get paid (and preferring to pay “green” generators over “dirty” ones). Bulb has very little to do with the physical infrastructure.

@RichyB, as it’s after the meter, I believe this work would still normally be arranged through your energy supplier, like a meter fault/swap, rather than through your DNO.

I’m intrigued as to why the EV installers want to switch the whole lot off though. Maybe the CU’s full?

Bulb can arrange this. It fits in between ‘number 8’

The cost is around £100.

Please note, if you have space in your consumer unit for an additional MCB and the supply can be isolated within your CU already, you definitely don’t need to pay for this to be done.

@RichyB, as it's after the meter, I believe this work would still normally be arranged through your energy supplier, like a meter fault/swap, rather than through your DNO.

I’m intrigued as to why the EV installers want to switch the whole lot off though. Maybe the CU’s full?

Some installers prefer to not touch the current consumer unit and to fit a henley block in the meter box if it’s easier or closer to the fitting location, but I’d guess most would pull the main fuse if needed anyway…

Off topic, a Morrisons utility guy recently said he’d have to report my mains fuse to the DNO as it couldn’t be sealed (same as since I moved in 5 years ago), so I sent a couple of pics off to my DNO who are now coming out to replace the whole thing next week…

Some installers prefer to not touch the current consumer unit and to fit a henley block in the meter box if it's easier or closer to the fitting location
Personally I'd rather my CU's 100A breaker tripped if there was a serious fault than the main 100A fuse blew...
but I'd guess most would pull the main fuse if needed anyway..
Most electricians I know would happen to find that the main fuse had conveniently fallen out :grin: Not that you're allowed to do that though so I can understand a company trying to do things the right way.
Bulb can arrange this. It fits in between 'number 8'

The cost is around £100.

Please note, if you have space in your consumer unit for an additional MCB and the supply can be isolated within your CU already, you definitely don’t need to pay for this to be done.

It’s my (amateur) understanding that Bulb is responsible for ‘number 7’, the meter tails (cables) between the main fuse and the meter, but you (your electrician) is responsible for ‘number 8’, the cables between the meter and consumer unit.

@AndrewC, I believe your electrician is allowed to supply them and connect them into the CU, but they’re not allowed to disconnect/connect them at the meter end.

I suspect that they’d be allowed to terminate them into a DP isolator and then connect to the CU, but this tends to be done by the supplier in my experience, as doing that live is best avoided and an electrician is not allowed to pull the main fuse.

Which EV chargepoint installer is it? I had Chargemaster install mine last week.

Here’s another diagram half way down the page to show who is responsible for what:
https://www.ssepd.co.uk/Connections/SmallProjects/

@AndrewC, did they install from your CU with a new breaker?

I took the arrival of the Renault Zoe (my lovely Evie) as an incentive to update my 1970s house electrics (4 bakelite pull-out fuses!) with a nice new CU. I therefore had a 32 amp line which was not on a RCD installed in the CU for the EV (acronyms abound!).

Bulb can arrange this. It fits in between 'number 8'

The cost is around £100.

Please note, if you have space in your consumer unit for an additional MCB and the supply can be isolated within your CU already, you definitely don’t need to pay for this to be done.

It’s my (amateur) understanding that Bulb is responsible for ‘number 7’, the meter tails (cables) between the main fuse and the meter, but you (your electrician) is responsible for ‘number 8’, the cables between the meter and consumer unit.

Ye, it’s either/or according to the picture (taken from UK Power Networks’ website). But Bulb can definitely arrange it if required.

@jarriss as we discussed on facebook (I think?), it’d be very useful to have at least 2 weeks notice from when you book the job to when you want the job to be.

We actually don't charge for work with isolator switches (kind of a loophole in our meter job pricelist, basically).
Marvellous.

Both myself and a friend will be requesting one soon then :+1: :smile:

@jarriss We actually don't charge for work with isolator switches (kind of a loophole in our meter job pricelist, basically).

My colleague @“Chris at Bulb” has helpfully corrected me on this. Single phase isolator installs cost £105.82, while 3 Phase isolator installs cost £113.53.

Eek – sorry for my mistake and the confusion I may have caused!

My colleague @"Chris at Bulb" has helpfully corrected me on this. Single phase isolator installs cost £105.82, while 3 Phase isolator installs cost £113.53.

Eek – sorry for my mistake and the confusion I may have caused!


Whoops!

Is this something that can be done for free during installation of the smart meters when they arrive or would I be best off just making sure some new meter tails with an isolator inline are ready for the meter installer to connect up when they swap things over?

@mowcius this would be a separate job than the meter installation, so I would recommend making sure that the new tails are all set up in advance.

@jarriss We actually don't charge for work with isolator switches (kind of a loophole in our meter job pricelist, basically).

My colleague @“Chris at Bulb” has helpfully corrected me on this. Single phase isolator installs cost £105.82, while 3 Phase isolator installs cost £113.53.

Eek – sorry for my mistake and the confusion I may have caused!

@“Andrew at Bulb” No worries. I have a 'mains isolation ‘switch’ installation appointment confirmed for next Wednesday (28th). Forgive my ignorance, are these switches ‘double pole’ by definition, or are they a particular type that needs to be specifically requested? I’m now running my EV without a home charger unit, so would hate to delay the Chargemaster installation any further with the wrong switch…

Kind regards.

@jarriss We actually don't charge for work with isolator switches (kind of a loophole in our meter job pricelist, basically).

My colleague @“Chris at Bulb” has helpfully corrected me on this. Single phase isolator installs cost £105.82, while 3 Phase isolator installs cost £113.53.

Eek – sorry for my mistake and the confusion I may have caused!

@“Andrew at Bulb” No worries. I have a 'mains isolation ‘switch’ installation appointment confirmed for next Wednesday (28th). Forgive my ignorance, are these switches ‘double pole’ by definition, or are they a particular type that needs to be specifically requested? I’m now running my EV without a home charger unit, so would hate to delay the Chargemaster installation any further with the wrong switch…

Kind regards.

I feel absolutely gutted that this (apparently relatively small) job has been cancelled/rescheduled for a second time, and that there’s another 10 days before the next available appointment. Now not expecting my mains isolator switch until 16th March, so no EV home charger until the 20th.

Hi @jarriss apologies that another appointment has been missed, we’ve added £30 credit to your account because of this. I can see you’ve been in touch with Dot and we’ve booked a new appointment for the 16th. We’re working hard to improve this process, so hopefully, big things are just around the corner.