Tutorial

Who owns what - your guide on cut outs, meters, fuses and who is responsible

Who owns what - your guide on cut outs, meters, fuses and who is responsible
Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Updated on 30/09/20: We’ve just posted a guide for who is responsible for what with your meter and related equipment, for gas and electricity supplies. See this guide here

.

The Meter Operation Code of Practice Agreement (MOCOPA) is between the UK’s Energy Suppliers and the Distribution Network Operators (DNOs).

The Agreement includes a document which classifies the way in which faults and non-compliances can be identified. It is well written, with numerous photographs.

It includes this excellent diagram, showing who is responsible for what in the area of your electricity meter:

The Agreement identifies faults with the Distribution Board (DB) equipment, which are the responsibility of the DNO. These are divided into three broad categories:

A: Emergency. A life threatening situation and requiring immediate action.

B: Remedial work required. Serious, requiring attention for safety reasons, but unlikely to cause a threat until it can be resolved.

C: Asset Condition; Requiring attention because it isn’t to the current standards.

 

Thus, by way of example, Code B11 Flow is a reporting category which prevents a Meter Installer from undertaking the work because there is a fuse on the Neutral supply as well as the Live.

 

Old Distribution Board equipment.

Sometimes there isn’t actually a fault, but your house appears to have old-style devices belonging to the DNO.

The Energy Networks Association publishes another guide with similar format, which enables such items to be identified. The Cut-out Types and Ratings Guidance  has full colour photographs and the date range when that equipment was fitted.

 

When viewing items of electrical equipment in your home, it is important not to tamper with it. If in doubt, take a photograph and post it here on the Forum for us to see.


42 replies

Userlevel 7

Hi @Transparent can you help me so we can strip out the specifics of this post, making it more applicable to users who want to know who’s responsible for what, and how they can get the help they need. We’ll need to remove bits referencing killicrankie’s issue. If you’re happy for me to do this, just let me know! I don’t know if you’ll have edit rights at this point. 

Userlevel 1

Hi @Tim_OVO , Given we are saying why can’t the DNO accept the say-so of the hosueholder or an electrician, why can’t Ovo do the same?

Userlevel 7

Hi @Tim_OVO , Given we are saying why can’t the DNO accept the say-so of the hosueholder or an electrician, why can’t Ovo do the same?

 

I understand the logic behind this, but I think suppliers and DNOs will insist on visual confirmation before assigning priorities for work. It’s important to get right!

 

@Transparent shall we add bit for who to contact (i.e suppliers, electricians, DNOs ), and link out for each one so our members can easily find their/our contact details? 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

I think @killicrankie still has a valid point. A customer’s photo of the current installation is a great deal cheaper than sending a meter installer to site, especially in cases when it’s already known that the DNO will be required to do work first!

There’s a list of DNO contacts on the last page of the Cut-out Types and Ratings Guidance which I mentioned above. We could improve it by finding out a more precise email address to where a photo could be sent. But equally, that information will gradually age here on the Forum.

Userlevel 1

Thanks @Tim_OVO . Let’s not forget the customer experience in all of this. 

Firstly, there’s the risk of a potentially dangerous situation. A two-visit approach means twice the wait to resolve a situation. It seems to me that DNO engineers, Ovo engineers and qualified electricians should all be reasonably well suited to spot these situations and “get right” the solution and most importantly get it fixed as soon as possible.

Secondly, especially where we are at the moment with the pandemic, we’re looking at two engineer’s appointments for the customer, with two 6-hour visit slots to manage and two visits into the home presenting extra contacts for the homeowner and engineers alike.

Userlevel 7

A two-visit approach means twice the wait to resolve a situation. It seems to me that DNO engineers, Ovo engineers and qualified electricians should all be reasonably well suited to spot these situations and “get right” the solution and most importantly get it fixed as soon as possible.

 

It’s a good point I must say. I’m playing devil’s advocate when I counter btw. I’m not privy to the logic behind the process at all. But perhaps if they allow an electrician (or a photo to a supplier) be the judge of an emergency, and the DNO visit very quickly as a result. and it is NOT a category A, maybe another category A visit has been delayed, with possibly lethal consequences….

 

Secondly, especially where we are at the moment with the pandemic, we’re looking at two engineer’s appointments for the customer, with two 6-hour visit slots to manage and two visits into the home presenting extra contacts for the homeowner and engineers alike.

 

 This is a very good point, and I’m certain the process wasn’t created with COVID social distancing in mind. How did things go yesterday, @killicrankie ?

 

@Transparent this bit of content is fantastic. It’s now online for OVO members and non members. It will have value for months and years to come, so great job getting this posted! Where are we at with our other planned tutorials? Pictures but not much text as it stands. I’ll be waiting to support when this gets filled out more, so let me know! 

Userlevel 1

Hi @Tim_OVO  - the visit is tomorrow. Hopefully, we’ll get to the next step quickly and if the DNO is quick, we might make it inside 28 days. I’ll let you know.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

@Tim_OVO - if the suggestion we’re discussing here is implemented, then it’s up to the DNO to view the photo of the Distribution Board and decide if they’re happy with it being classified as Category-A. It shouldn’t matter whether the photo and suggested classification has come through an OVO Engineer working to the MOCOPA scheme, or directly from a customer such as @killicrankie.

 

And also, can you please ensure you grab a copy of the two PDFs we’re referring to in this Topic. If either of them get withdrawn or moved from their current location, we’ll need to upload them somewhere else on the OVO site in order to keep the Topic “live”!

Userlevel 1

Hi @Tim_OVO , bad news I'm afraid. We didn't get it done, right or otherwise. As far as I am aware nothing was done about the cutout, just a smart meter installed. Let me know what you want me to do to get this fixed. Only a few days left of the 28 allowed.

Userlevel 1

Just a heads up. I definitely wouldn’t recommend booking in a smart meter replacement appointment to get an issue like this solved. We’re frankly no closer to a solution.

I now have an electrician reporting a B11 issue (which needs to be dealt with in 28 days) and Ovo reporting a C03 issue (which is optional to fix).

This means two experts who disagree but are not allowed (by processes) to discuss it and agree who has responsibility for the fix. As such, I can’t go ahead and get my EICR completed without 1) changing energy supplier or 2) changing electrician.

Seems bonkers, and as the issue is closed from Ovo’s point of view, it’s back on me.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

I think @killicrankie that we should ask @Tim_OVO to run this past one of OVO’s Staff who train their SMETS installers. (They have a high-quality in-house training suite).

The Faults and Non-Compliances section of the MOCOPA Agreement gives a hierarchy to help engineers decide which code to assign to an installation where there is more than one fault present on the DB (ie a fault that is the responsibility of the DNO).

As the OVO Installer has completed the meter installation, he may not now report a Code-B, even though it is clear to us that having a fused neutral is indeed Code B-11. See the rules at the top of Page-4.

Category C03 is the one which most closely matches the required fault-report code in that it informs the DNO that they will need to replace the Service Fuse assembly in its entirety.

I can’t see anywhere in the document which suggests that a Category C is optional for the DNO. It will get flagged as a Asset that fails the required specification, and must still be attended to.

There remains the question as to why OVO’s Engineer proceeded to install the Smart Meters despite there being a fused-neutral. Doing so has removed the requirement for another site visit, but denied him the possibility of notifying your DNO of a Category-B fault. It has saved the additional costs, but has it done so at the expense of a higher level of safety warning being issued?

That’s something which OVO needs to evaluate. And that’s why this would seem to be a good example of a situation which could be brought up in the Training Dept. Let’s see what @Tim_OVO thinks.

I’m sure we’d all like to hear when your DNO attends on-site and whether they choose to comment on the Fault Category which has been assigned.

Userlevel 1

Hi @Transparent , thanks for your detailed reply. I did look at the MOCOPA agreement and saw that in the case of an identified B11, all work should stop immediately, the householder informed and the DNO notified. 

I assumed that it was optional as Ovo’s customer service guys said that I could choose to contact the DNO and ask them to do something about the 60A rating of the service and by the fact that the MOCOPA agreement does not require the engineer to inform the householder, which he did not. I guess I’ve interporetted that one incorrectly.

I’m afraid I don’t understand the logic behind removing the requirement to report a more serious error. It seems odd that not following procedure (assuming my electrician is correct and per the photo of the asbestos fuse I’ve just provided to Ovo customer support) that this should lower the category of fault.

It seems to me that it’s not only at the expense of a higher level fault, but at the expense of the customer in this case.

Userlevel 1

Just reread the MOCOPA agreement. Under the category C preamble it does mention not telling the householder as it will create an “unreasonable expectation of DB intervention”. Reporting is clearly manadatory, but this suggests that in some cases nothing will be done.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Is there any chance of you posting that photo here please @killicrankie ?

There are now three possible issues in play:

  1: there is a fused Neutral; category B11

  2a. the fuse rating is 60A (which is possibly due to the Feed being 16mm² or less)

  2b. the fuse rating is below 60A, in which case category C03 is actually correct

  3: the fuse carrier contains asbestos; category C11 applies

Whatever the MOCOPA document and OVO’s Training stipulate, there’s no reason why these shouldn’t be altered if needs be. Isn’t it because of such feedback that we continually revise safety documents anyway?

Userlevel 1

Certainly, here it is. Though now you mention it, I’ve no video of him removing it from the enclosure. This does, however, suggest he opened the enclosure and examined it.

I do understand the learning process, and indeed Ovo have quickly adapted some of their processes for a Covid world with new compliance checks at booking of appointments. It does seem that there’s resistance to change here and I have to say it’s one of the most frustrating and time consuming issues I’ve ever experienced.

 

Userlevel 7

Had a good read of this, thanks for posting and sharing. That’s to you both. It’s valuable to have this online for reference. But that doesn’t matter as much at the moment. You, we, need to make sure you’re safe and that correct processes have happened. It’s certainly not too much to ask for in this case.

 
I won’t discuss your account, @killicrankie here. For your privacy but also due to my responsibilities under GDPR. But you can certainly keep us updated here if you wish. What I would suggest is we keep in mind the lack of certainty. And the existence of subjectivity, from engineers and professional electricians and everyone in between. People have made observations and we don’t yet know the facts 100% ….. yet. 
 

So let’s confirm them. @killicrankie if you haven’t already, please ring our support line, who will be able to put in motion a checking of the engineer report and if need be a conversation between someone and the engineer. The next port of call is a DNO conversation, probably best done by OVO. I might be wrong, (caveat) but that puts my mind at ease a bit. Hopefully you agree @killicrankie - 0330 303 5063. We’re open from 8am Friday morning.

Userlevel 1

Thanks @Tim_OVO . I think next on my list is to contact the HSE. As of next Tuesday it will be 28 days since reporting an observed B11 issue with my supply head. Having suggested before on several occasions that my electrician is well placed to speak about the installation and been brushed off, I don’t want to waste my time further. As always you have my contact details on file if you have any solutions to propose.

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Well I was actually expecting a photo of the entire Distribution Board @killicrankie !

But I think we’ll agree that the word “asbestos” is printed on your fuse. At this stage, that’s not a safety issue of any great priority @Tim_OVO. The asbestos isn’t fractured and is sealed within the carrier. Also the fuse is operational.

So that still means the highest priority is the Category-B11 (fused neutral)…. for which I’d like to see a photo of the Service Fuse carrier in the context of the whole board if possible.

And that would be the most instructive/helpful upload to this Forum thread. I think we’d like customers to become more aware of the ownership and condition of their board using their eyes (no tools!). So pics uploaded to this Topic will help steer us in the right direction.

Userlevel 7

As always you have my contact details on file if you have any solutions to propose.

 

I’m arranging a call to you, @killicrankie 

 

 

So that still means the highest priority is the Category-B11 (fused neutral)…. for which I’d like to see a photo of the Service Fuse carrier in the context of the whole board if possible.

And that would be the most instructive/helpful upload to this Forum thread. I think we’d like customers to become more aware of the ownership and condition of their board using their eyes (no tools!). So pics uploaded to this Topic will help steer us in the right direction.

 

:point_up:  :ok_hand:  :spy:  :nerd:  this would be handy! 

Userlevel 1

Hi @Transparent , yes indeed. I can only apologise for the limited and poor photo. I expect my electrician wasn't expecting to have to prove himself. I'm reluctant to pay for an extra visit.

Perhaps the Ovo engineer has better documentation of the visit and if there are photos of the installation proving their opinion we could get copies. All I have see to date from them is a screenshot of the "report" with about 6 or 7 fields and no images.

As you'd expect the fuse enclosure is now sealed and I can't get a picture of the parallel fuses, nor prove they are fuses over links. That being the case, is there any value to a wider picture of the whole board?

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Well I’m imagining that your fuses are sited within an old cast-iron box with an interlocked switch. If so, then there’s still value in uploading a photo of that enclosure on the back-board.

Then in months to come, if another end-user has a similar box, they’ll have an idea of whether it needs to be reported to their DNO for possible investigation and replacement.

Userlevel 1

Ok, I'll see if I can get s good clear shot and upload it.

Userlevel 1

Here's a more complete shot of the board.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

That’s just what we need to see @killicrankie 

So that looks to me as if it’s a cast-metal box containing the cut-out fuses. That’s an asset failure with Category C06.

I’m not entirely sure of the earthing wires in the photo and whether your house has a PME supply (earth provided via the Neutral). But it’s possible there’s also a Category B10 fault present if the metal casing isn’t earthed!

As an aside, DNOs also think differently about what you fix to “their” back-board. You’ve actually got your PV isolator on the DB Board!

Having once had my knuckles rapped for fitting an extra 100A switch disconnector next to my meter, I now tend to keep all “my” hardware away from the board to which the DNO’s equipment is fixed.

In this case I think they’ll ignore it. There’s plenty of actual fault-codes to keep them entertained. :wink:

Userlevel 1

Thanks for this @Transparent ! If categories were collectible it seems like I’d be close to the full set.

I do have a feeling that my sparky may well have mentioned earthing with regard to the incomer but couldn’t swear to it, and that this would normally be dealt with in the head replacement. In any case, he said the B11 was the most important issue to highlight and that it would get the issue dealt with promptly. Lol.

Reply