Independent Supply to Private Electric Gates

  • 21 August 2023
  • 16 replies
  • 289 views

Hi, Can anyone advise on how to remove supply of electric from one house and have independent supply to gates. Situation is,  we have 5 houses in a gated community. For some reason the builders ran the electric supply from one house to a meter at the gate. This has worked ok up to now, the householder is billed in normal way, takes a reading from meter at gate, works out the cost of gate usage and charges the management company (which is the 5 houses). The householder that has the supply now wants to vacate his property and while it’s empty switch off all power at his mains, leaving no power to the gates. He’s not prepared to leave the fuse to gates on. So we need to find best way to get power to the gates. We’ve looked at solar power but been advised that, looking at photos, we won’t have sufficient sun in the area the gates are. Any advice would be gratefully received, thank you


16 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hi @JANE1867 ,

Just a heads up, I don’t work for OVO.

Tbh this sounds like a solution in search of a problem. Digging up the grounds and messing with the required cabling will not only involve an electrician, but also your DNO and a suitable energy supplier. I can tell you now that even without an official quote… It won’t be cheap.

You need to get together and consider whether this really is the right option, or just wait for the current householder to leave and then get the management company to flip the power back on just to the gates, while leaving the rest of the consumer unit disabled. Chances are, that’d be much cheaper. I feel like the current householder is being a bit selfish here, but that’s a discussion you all need to have between yourselves.

If you do want to split it off - and it may not be worthwhile just for a set of electric gates that barely use much juice - then you’ll need to tread carefully. I must warn you that going down such a route would leave the gates totally out of action during the works.

Ultimately, here’s the deal. Once that householder leaves the property and closes his account with the energy supplier, he no longer has control over the supply and strictly speaking, he would have no further say about what happens to it. Control would automatically go back to the estate agent, landlord, housing association, management company or insert legally responsible entity here who may be willing to restore supply. In effect, once you leave the property and say, sell up or terminate the tenancy agreement, that’s it - you’ve left the place and have no further power over anything that happens there as it’s not yours anymore. That power immediately and automatically passes over to whoever the new owner/tenant/entity is.

hi, thank you for getting back so fast. Unfortunately the management company can’t gain access to the house as it’s freehold. We have no right of entry. And trust me, the discussions with the householder have been warm to say the least as he won’t give any flexibility. You have pretty much confirmed what I have found on google searches for ways to do this, and it sounds costly. One of the other homeowners, 2 doors up,  has offered to have an electrician re-direct the supply so it runs from their house. That could work but it’s not a good permanent solution. Partly because if the fuse trips or if we need a repair and the supply needs to be turned off, they have to be in and they aren’t reliable for that situation. Hence looking for independent supply.  Just to add, householder that has the supply now is not selling house, just leaving it empty until some future date when he decides if he will rent or just leave empty - which could be for few years

Userlevel 7
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Yeah that makes life even worse - and if you want to split it off… You’re going to need a way to get access to the property to shut the gates down in the first place to actually rip the existing wires out…

It does seem selfish to me though.

Here’s hoping he allows the electrician access to turn off power then. It’s not looking good for that as he wants there to be independent supply. As the management company runs on majority vote, which at present is to move supply to another house. You think you know neighbours after several years, especially when always been helpful and supportive, sadly not always the case. Thank you for advice, very much appreciated 😊

Userlevel 6

Hey @JANE1867 

 

Quite the situation you’ve got there. Great advice from Blastiose186 on this though, couldn’t have covered it better myself.

 

If you wouldn’t mind updating us here along the way on this one, it can be very useful for other community members in future.

hi, bit of an update.

The house at number 3 say they have a quote from electrician of £960.00 plus vat to change the supply from house 5 to house 3.

The electrician says he can disconnect supply for gate going to house 5 without access to the property. 

He will supply and install 4mm 32A armoured cable from the gate to house 3 . Cable will run underground from gate to house 3.

Trench will be made good following cable run.

Cable will be cleated to wall at low level from pathway to kitchen wall (so under kitchen window at front of house). 

Supply and install isolation switches at both ends of cable.

Test and certify.

I’d be interested in thoughts of this solution

Cheers

 

Userlevel 7
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By rights all 5 of your households should contribute to the cost, are you going to ask number 5 ? That armoured cable is expensive so probably a significant part of the bill. 

Userlevel 7
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Sounds a solution @JANE1867 and it may be what’s required for now although you would all be in a similar situation if house 3 decides to switch off. 
The armoured cable should be suitable for such a feed but it needs a fused supply of course as the gates need protection (something like an RCBO).

The electrician would know but disconnection from house 5 would need that supply to be de-energised. 
To your original question, any fully independent supply would need its own meter, owner (management company?) and would then have an additional standing charge

 juliamc We do all have to pay equal share of costs.  Hence looking for permanent solution.  Iam not keen on this one but all other households have agreed so it’s going on majority decision. It’s only me that has requested the actual quote.

BPLightlog It’s the safety aspect that worries me. I’ve requested the quote in full on letter headed paper. Thank you for info about cable needing fused supply, if it’s not mentioned in quote it will be something I can ask about.

I’ve previously pointed out to all householders that this is not a desirable solution in case number 3 sell or change mind in years to come.

cheers

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Do you know what is already installed at the gate in terms of isolator switches, RCBO etc? It may be all part of the standard gate mechanism or separately installed. 

A photo may help.

There may already be a way of isolating the old supply at the gate which may be why the electrician isn't looking to de energise the old cable in the ground immediately, just making sure it is properly terminated at the gate. 

It would certainly be strange (!) if there was nothing currently at the gate. 

I assume the electrician who gave the quote already looked at the gate?. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

I realise that it would be easier to tap in directly at the gate (presumably there’s a cable connection box) but I’m always wary of leaving a potentially live cable ‘loose’ even when safely terminated. 
I had assumed that the supply via house 5 would be via a feed from the distribution board at the property which would have its own circuit RCD/RCBO but of course I don’t know. 

hi Jeffus 

I have no idea. I do know when I organised repairs early this year by proper, long established, gate guy, that he didn’t need house at number 5 to be in, so from that Iam assuming he was able to isolate at gate.

Iam told by house 3 that electrician they have engaged did look at gate in person.

Call me doubting Thomas but because house 3 are saying it is a quote (not estimate) but only now majority have agreed will they get it in writing and at that stage we will know who the electrician is. 

House 3 organised the last yearly gate check, the invoice was hand written, gates broke down 4 weeks later. Same electrician came  back - took him 4-5 weeks to arrive - I happened to see him and said he couldn’t fix because wiring a birds nest and not something he wanted to touch. 

That’s when I got involved (it’s actually my very elderly mum that lives in house 1) and got proper gate guy out.

Strangely, and this is a personal moan, no one else questioned house 3 about electrician found then or this time. When I got gate guy I supplied full break down of costs, guarantee of work & time schedule, which was scrutinised by houses 2, 3 & 4.

Maybe because Iam much older and only female looking into it 🤔😁

BPLightlog, I know that house 5 has a fuse for the gates in his fuse box in his kitchen - he told me that if there is a power cut he has had to flip back on in the past and if repairs needed he has turned of power to gates - so, as per above, not to sure, could be gate guy we had earlier in year didn’t need to have power off to do repairs.

There is a meter box to register it’s usage at gate - I’ll see about getting a photo of it, going over there now 😀

cheers

HI

Took some pictures, hopefully help. As I understand it, power supply runs from house 5, (one to the right in picture of houses) under bushes to the gate. There are two cabinets, lower one has the meter. There are cables coming from top of higher cabinet (that’s locked, historically told that it has birds nest of wiring in it) going up the side of gate pillar.  I remember one of the companies that came to do repairs  saying lots of cabling is inside the brick pillars. Electrician they have engaged is same guy who wasn’t happy to do repairs last year because wiring such a mess .

One other question - is it safe & legal to have a meter cabinet low down on an outside wall?

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +5

That’s useful to see. The external boxes are fine as long as they’re designed for the task (it looks like they are).

The meter is presumably used as a ‘sub-meter’ (ie not on direct supply) for the purposes you’ve described. I can also see a small distribution board with an isolator and trips (possibly MCB?) so that’s what has been quoted to be replaced. 
The set up looks quite straightforward albeit the main feed from house 5 consisting of a twin & earth cable more suited to an internal situation. The armoured cable will be better protected.

The cabling in the meter box looks a little Heath-Robinson with insulating tape over an earth joint (that should really be remade).

Overall, the basic premise of an armoured cable feed underground to the gate supply should be ok but you’re still faced with the same potential future issue feeding from house 3 as previously mentioned. 

 

hi BPLightlog 

Many thanks, I feel much more comfortable about the proposed re-wiring now.

Two of us are really un-happy about not seeking a permanent solution, but we have been out voted, nothing we can do other than lodge our concerns. The other 3 households want it sorted as quickly as possible, not prepared for me to contact SSE and find out about independent supply. 

Many thanks to you,  Blastoise186 and Jeffus for your advice and words of wisdom, very much appreciated.

cheers, Jane

 

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