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Andersen Charger Installation from Meter Cupboard - Advice Please!

M3P_W8

Member
Jan 12, 2021
90
93
UK
Hoping there are some qualified electricians or others who have been through this process who would be kind enough to guide me through it.

I am looking to get an Andersen A2 charger installed for when my M3P finally arrives in May (allegedly!). I have ordered the charger direct from Andersen and opted for their installation service.

As per the process, I completed their remote pre-installation survey, providing two installation ‘options’ that I would be comfortable with.
  1. – Install on external garage using the garage supply
    • This is the preferred option as the charger supply cable can be fed neatly in behind the charger through the wall
  2. – Install on the side of the house (by driveway) taking the supply direct from the meter box.
    • Less preferred as it would involve an SWA cable run along the wall to the install point.
Andersen have ‘almost’ ruled out the garage option as it isn’t clear if the SWA cable supplying the garage is substantial enough. They have said that it needs to be a minimum of 6mm2 but I think it might only be 4mm2. Even if it is 6mm2 I don’t know the size of the cable running from the primary consumer unit through the house to the external junction box where the SWA cable connects so I guess that could also be a limiting factor.

As an alternative, Andersen have said that if the garage supply is found to be insufficient, they will either fit a mini-consumer unit or run cable/trunking from the primary consumer unit in our utility room through to the outside. They won’t commit to any option however without first seeing it all in person on Installation day.

I’m uncomfortable waiting until installation day to know exactly what will be done, so I decided to rule out the preferred garage option as it seems the least likely to be feasible. I opted instead to try and find a local electrician to do the pre-work in the Meter Box (install mini consumer unit) so I could avoid having cable and trunking running through our utility room.

I had understood that teeing off at the meter box was a common approach for EV Charger installs. My next door neighbour had this for his Pod Point installation. I was therefore surprised to get the following reply from a local electrician who I asked to quote for the work:

‘Due to the meter cupboard and meter fixing board within being designed for Supply Company’s equipment only, I am unable to assist you in this matter’

Another electrician replied with a slightly more positive message:

‘It really looks very tight in that meter box, also you would need to get permission from the DNO supplier to use their box as we are not allowed to install anything in it as its their property, happy to come and have a look’

I’ve uploaded photos of my meter box and my neighbours to illustrate:
MyMeterBox.jpg NeighboursMeterBox.jpg

I’d be very grateful is someone is able to clarify the situation regarding meter box ‘ownership’ as I had understood that the DNO was only responsible for everything up to and including the meter and that everything beyond that was my (/electricians) responsibility.

If there are others reading this who have been in a similar situation it would be great if you could share how you approached / resolved it.

For anyone that bothered reading through to this point, thank you! Just hope you now have enough time left in your day to offer some guidance!
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,695
UK
The meter box belongs to you. There is a myth that they belong to the DNO or meter supplier, but it's false - if the meter box gets damaged or needs replacing it's you that has to buy a new one and get it fitted, not the DNO or meter supplier.

Having said that, there is a requirement to leave sufficient room within the meter box for both the DNOs equipment (the incoming cable and fuse) and the suppliers equipment (the tails from the fuse to the meter plus the meter). The tails from the meter, and usually any isolation switch and/or Henley blocks, are your property and responsibility.

It's generally OK to fit a small additional CU within the meter box, as long as it's tucked down, usually at the bottom right corner. The area that needs to be kept clear is usually at the top left, where the meter is, as some smart meters can be quite large.
 
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Zakalwe

Member
Oct 16, 2020
400
371
UK
To clarify the above point, the meter box is considered part of the structure of the building which is your responsibility. The contents of that box however does not belong to you. The meters, tails and backing board is the responsibility of the DNO.
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,695
UK
To clarify the above point, the meter box is considered part of the structure of the building which is your responsibility. The contents of that box however does not belong to you. The meters, tails and backing board is the responsibility of the DNO.

Almost. The backing board belong to the homeowner, as it's almost always bonded to and a part of the meter box now. The meter tails and meter don't belong to the DNO, they belong to the supplier. The only things the DNO own in the box are the incoming cable (but not any hockey stick it's running in, rather bizarrely) and the fuse head.

It's normal to have at least three different owners for the meter box and it's contents:

  • Incoming cable and fuse belongs to the DNO
  • Meter tails from that fuse and the meter belongs to the supplier
  • Meter tails from the meter to the consumer unit, including any associated switchgear, connector blocks, etc, plus the meter box in it's entirety, belong to the home owner.
 

Zakalwe

Member
Oct 16, 2020
400
371
UK
Almost. The backing board belong to the homeowner, as it's almost always bonded to and a part of the meter box now. The meter tails and meter don't belong to the DNO, they belong to the supplier. The only things the DNO own in the box are the incoming cable (but not any hockey stick it's running in, rather bizarrely) and the fuse head.

It's normal to have at least three different owners for the meter box and it's contents:

  • Incoming cable and fuse belongs to the DNO
  • Meter tails from that fuse and the meter belongs to the supplier
  • Meter tails from the meter to the consumer unit, including any associated switchgear, connector blocks, etc, plus the meter box in it's entirety, belong to the home owner.

Nope.
The backing board in my meter box was collapsing. The supplier advised to contact my DNO (Electricity Northwest). The DNO advised that it was their responsibility and sent two of their employees out to remove the old backing board replace it with new and to remount the meter and incoming main fuse.


<edit> if the backing board is used to fix the main fuse then the DNO will replace it. If the backing board only carries the meter then the supplier will fix it.
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,695
UK
Nope.
The backing board in my meter box was collapsing. The supplier advised to contact my DNO (Electricity Northwest). The DNO advised that it was their responsibility and sent two of their employees out to remove the old backing board replace it with new and to remount the meter and incoming main fuse.

The fact remains that the box and the board (which are physically bonded together on new boxes) remain your property. The fact that both the DNO and supplier must be involved to replace it is neither here nor there, although often the supplier will authorise the DNO to work on their equipment anyway

Older backing boards that were wall mounted (i.e. not in a plastic meter box) were the property of the old electricity boards, usually had a label on to confirm that. There are a lot of those older, removable, separate boards around still, and they can succumb to woodworm, rot, etc. The boards are dirt cheap, and all a DNO could bill for would be the actual cost of the board, as the work has to be done free of charge to the supply for a defect like this. It wouldn't be worth billing the pound or so the board costs.

The reality is that there is some (often unlawful) overlap between each owner, usually just for practical reasons. Best example is that electricians, acting on behalf of the home owner, will often pull the DNO fuse to get safe isolation. It's not lawful to interfere with the DNOs equipment, but it can be an easier way to get the job done quickly. Likewise, the DNO may disconnect the meter tails on the consumer side (a DNO technician did this to our when testing it recently). They are not officially allowed to touch that side of the installation, except in an emergency, but again it was an expedient way to ensure isolation in order to do a earth loop test.
 

M3P_W8

Member
Jan 12, 2021
90
93
UK
Many thanks to both Glan gluaisne and Zakalwe for your replies. Why is nothing ever simple!?

In my original post I included images of both my unmodified meter box and also my neighbours that has been adapted for their Pod Point install. To be clear, my neighbours meter box would have looked exactly like mine (new build estate) before their install.

It looks like my neighbours installation engineers removed the isolation switch (after the meter) and replaced it with some kind of junction box to split the feed. Is that a 'Henley Block's I have been reading about?..... That surprised me a little as I thought it was standard practice to retain an isolation switch, although I guess that supply to the house could still be isolated at the primary consumer unit?

Anyway, still not sure how to proceed with this. If I wanted to have the type of installation that my neighbour has, what process would I have to go through?
  • Do I (or the electrician) need to get the DNO and/or Supplier involved to have a small consumer unit fitted into the Meter Box?
    • If so, what are the chances of the DNO or Supplier saying No?
  • If the DNO and/or Supplier says it will be OK, do either of them need to be involved with the work?
    • i.e. Do I need the DNO to attend to pull their fuse or could the electrician do that?
... I think I'll send the photo of my neighbours meter box to Andersen to see if they can commit to a similar install before arriving.

Thanks!
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,695
UK
I would definitely try and retain the isolation switch, it's a very useful thing to have. It looks as if both the DNO fuse head and the meter have been moved to the left in your neighbours box, giving more room.

Yes the connector block is a "double decker" Henley block, needed to split out the tails connections. Always a good idea to have an isolator switch in front of it, plus make sure that all the tails are rated for the main fuse (your neighbours installation looks to have non-compliant thinner tails going to the small CU at the bottom).

The best solution would be to see if the DNO/supplier would agree to shift the fuse and meter to the left, then you could get the isolator switch moved to the left as well, giving room for a Henley to the right of it (best bet might be two single pole Henleys, as they have top and bottom cable entries). A small CU could then be squeezed in at the bottom right of the box.

An alternative might be to leave things as they are, add a Henley and earth block at the lower right and then use a weather proof second small CU mounted on the wall adjacent to the meter box for the charge point supply. The only thing to watch if doing this is that adequate mechanical protection is provided for the tails feeding this small box, they would need to be in a short length of conduit, as they are not RCD protected, but that's not hard to do.
 

M3P_W8

Member
Jan 12, 2021
90
93
UK
I would definitely try and retain the isolation switch, it's a very useful thing to have. It looks as if both the DNO fuse head and the meter have been moved to the left in your neighbours box, giving more room.

Yes the connector block is a "double decker" Henley block, needed to split out the tails connections. Always a good idea to have an isolator switch in front of it, plus make sure that all the tails are rated for the main fuse (your neighbours installation looks to have non-compliant thinner tails going to the small CU at the bottom).

The best solution would be to see if the DNO/supplier would agree to shift the fuse and meter to the left, then you could get the isolator switch moved to the left as well, giving room for a Henley to the right of it (best bet might be two single pole Henleys, as they have top and bottom cable entries). A small CU could then be squeezed in at the bottom right of the box.

An alternative might be to leave things as they are, add a Henley and earth block at the lower right and then use a weather proof second small CU mounted on the wall adjacent to the meter box for the charge point supply. The only thing to watch if doing this is that adequate mechanical protection is provided for the tails feeding this small box, they would need to be in a short length of conduit, as they are not RCD protected, but that's not hard to do.

Thanks again for the detailed reply.

Good spot! - Have just put the two photos side by side and you are correct, the main fuse and meter are shifted much further to the left in my neighbours meter box.

Having the new small CU inside the box is by far my preferred option as the meter box is in a highly visible location.

I think I will fire-off an email to my DNO to find out if they would be prepared to move the main fuse and meter over a bit to make way for a small CU attached to the meter cupboard board (whoever owns it! ;)). .... Or will I need to have both the DNO and Supplier attend together so they can each move their own bits!?:confused:

Am I the only person to go through this? Do I just need to get over my OCD associated with cable/trunking running through my utility room from the primary CU!?
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,695
UK
Often the supplier sub-contracts out meter-related work, so with luck they will agree to the DNO shifting it. Not sure of the cost, but it would be the neatest solution.

A relatively cheap alternative would be to cut a small hole in the outer skin of the wall adjacent to the meter box and flush fit a small box like this one: IP65 Rated Electric Meter Box These can be flush fitted by just bonding them into a wall so the front flange is flush. Usually, just fixing with PU sealant/adhesive is more than good enough to hold a small box like firmly in place, but some screws into the brick/blockwork could be used for a bit of added security. This box is only about a foot high and 10" wide, so may not look too out of place, and would give plenty of room for the small CU needed to connect up the charge point.

Running cables to charge points can be a PITA, especially in houses that still have the meter and CU under the stairs (used to be a very common location). It's never easy to find a neat route for a 6mm² cable through a house. I was fortunate, I designed and built our house, and tried to future proof it, by installing cables in ducts anywhere I thought we might want power at some future date, It didn't add much to the cost, probably no more than £100, but has proved to be incredibly useful when adding additional outdoor power points, charge points, lights, etc. Pity more new homes aren't built in the same way.
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,695
UK
Is that armoured cable that's going into the top of the RCBO enclosure with no gland, armour earthing, etc? Hard to tell from the photo, but if it is then it should be properly terminated with a conductive gland that grips the earthed steel armour like this:

GripRingInPlace.jpg


Which is then clamped in place with a compression nut like this:

WaterproofingGlandInPlace.jpg



and ends up looking like this once the flexible boot has been slid down over the whole gland:



AddBoot.jpg



If the cable isn't armoured, but maybe something like NYY-J, then it should be terminated into a plastic cable gland that grips around the outer sheath of the cable, as shown in the photo in the first post, where the black cable leaves the small CU via a gland.
 

Rustybkts

Member
Feb 8, 2020
520
300
Leicestershire
Why oh why does virtually all the wiring around the meter area look as though it was thrown in from 30 feet away?

Whatever happened to tram lines? We would never do work like that or even get away with work like that in industry so why are domestic electricians?

You can easily bend tails to look as if somebody actually cares. They are so easy to tidy.

Am I to assume that experience has fallen by the way side of only needing a "Part P" certificate these days instead of a proper Tech qualification with a proper apprenticeship?
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,695
UK
Why oh why does virtually all the wiring around the meter area look as though it was thrown in from 30 feet away?

Whatever happened to tram lines? We would never do work like that or even get away with work like that in industry so why are domestic electricians?

You can easily bend tails to look as if somebody actually cares. They are so easy to tidy.

Am I to assume that experience has fallen by the way side of only needing a "Part P" certificate these days instead of a proper Tech qualification with a proper apprenticeship?

The simple answer is that there are a lot of people who call themselves electricians that simply don't care what an installation looks like. Years ago, apprentices were taught to make all wiring runs neat and tidy, with proper clips and fastenings so that not only did the installation look neat, but also so that anyone who needed to work on it in future could see at a glance what went where.

The annoying thing is that, since flexitails have become readily available, there isn't any excuse for not running tails very neatly, as anyone can get them tidily arranged and clipped into place. If I had to guess, then I'd say it's the fact that someone can just do a 12 to 15 week college course and leave that with a bit of paper that pretends to claim that they are competent. There aren't that many electricians around that have served a proper apprenticeship, and learned from people that had a high skill level, unfortunately. There are some signs that this is changing, but it's going to take years before any changes result in a higher standard of workmanship, I think.

One big issue is that the volume housebuilders tend to pay trades peanuts and always want things finished as quickly as possible. One of the first things to suffer from that policy will be tidiness - if it works, that's good enough, just get on with the next house.
 

Rustybkts

Member
Feb 8, 2020
520
300
Leicestershire
One big issue is that the volume housebuilders tend to pay trades peanuts and always want things finished as quickly as possible. One of the first things to suffer from that policy will be tidiness - if it works, that's good enough, just get on with the next house.

To be honest it doesn't take many minutes to bend tails in to look right. You don't need those long swoops as can be seen on one of the pictures above.

I was very critical about the Smart Meter install Ecotricity did a year ago and followed up with pictures to them.
The tails were more than three inches from the board as they swooped down from the meter to the Henley block. They even fitted a cable tie to the board to try to pull them in as they would have been further away.

After getting no-where with the installers, I improved it by simply applying pressure to the cores to bend them back to the board.

Pedantic? Maybe but its my house and I don't see why I should have to look at that on my wall.

I left the tie wrap as they left it in case they returned. :p

DSCF3494.JPG
 
Last edited:

M3P_W8

Member
Jan 12, 2021
90
93
UK
This is a before and after of my Andersen install to give you an idea of how much space they need. Hope this helps. View attachment 633599
View attachment 633630

Thanks for sharing. That fuse/switch (not sure what the correct term is for that!) used in your Andersen install looks a lot more manageable than the hefty CU fitted into my neighbours meter box!

Out of interest, was that done by Andersen or an independent installer?
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,695
UK
Thanks for sharing. That fuse/switch (not sure what the correct term is for that!) used in your Andersen install looks a lot more manageable than the hefty CU fitted into my neighbours meter box!

Out of interest, was that done by Andersen or an independent installer?

The small 2 module enclosure in that photo has a Garo RCBO to provide the required over-current protection and resettable Type A RCD capability (the Andersen includes open PEN protection and, IIRC, DC tolerant earth leakage protection). Although a 2 module enclosure like that takes up less room, there is a problem in that photo with the way the cable to the charger is terminated (or rather, isn't). These small enclosures are really tight for space, so it can be hard to fit the required cable gland, which is probably why the installer that fitted that one left the gland off.

There's also no dedicated PE terminal in those small enclosures, so no easy way to connect the CPC from the charge point cable to the CPC from the incoming supply PE terminal. This isn't really acceptable, and will probably get picked up during the next EICR as something that needs rectification work. If the cable is armoured, then clearly there is no earth connection to the armour at that termination, either. The armour must be earthed, because the protection offered by armoured cable relies, in large part, on anything that cuts through it hitting the earthed armour before cutting through the live conductors inside. It may be earthed at the charge point end, but that's again something that's less desirable IMHO, it's always best to have SWA earthed at both ends if possible, and if it can only be earthed at one end, then that should really be the supply end.
 

M3P_W8

Member
Jan 12, 2021
90
93
UK
Another update on this...

I decided to send Andersen the photo of my neighbours meter box earlier today to show an example of the type of install I was after. They too spotted that my neighbour had more space than me due to the main fuse and meter being further to the side! :oops:

They did however also state the following:

'We think that we can install a double pole RCBO (smaller fuse board) into a small enclosure rather than a mini fuse board and the job can be done, it will just be tight.'
Would the 'double pole RCBO' be what has been used in Bluebells install above? *EDIT* - I see that Glan gluasine has kindly answered that! Thank you.

As Andersen didn't mention anything about needing to involve the DNO, I'm seriously thinking about just accepting their offer. I'd hate for them to get here on the day however only to find that they were being too optimistic!

As I see it, my only other option is to contact the DNO and ask them to move the main fuse and meter over a bit to maximise the space available for Andersen installers. My only concern with this (aside from the cost) is that the DNO deny my request and tell me that I must not put anything else in the meter cupboard (even though lots of other people seem to!). What are the chances of that?
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,695
UK
There are some smaller enclosures around that have enough room to fit the required cable gland to the armoured or NYY-J cable and also include an earth terminal connection internally, so three required PE connections can be properly made (cable gland banjo or earthing nut, core CPC in the outgoing cable and the incoming PE from the supply). The ones I've used in tight spaces are 4 module wide steel ones like this:

4 module box.JPG


Being steel, they make fitting an armoured cable gland easy, and they have knock-outs for cable glands top and bottom. There's also an earth terminal bar in there, so that the various earth wires can be properly and securely terminated. The only thing that needs to be added if just fitting a 2 module RCBO is a blanking cover over the unused part of the opening. The above box is ~110mm wide, ~175mm long and ~62mm deep. It's about 40mm longer than the sort of 2 module box shown in the other post, and it's mainly that additional space that allows the required cable gland to be properly installed.
 

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