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Looped Supply - May not be able to install charger

Discussion in 'The UK and Ireland' started by DanTW_GB, Nov 26, 2019.

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  1. DanTW_GB

    DanTW_GB Member

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    Hi all... looking for some advice. Just had pod point call be back after two weeks waiting and chasing; they’ve let me know I’ve got a looped supply (first I’ve heard of this, apparently there’s one electricity cable coming in to my property and that feed is being ‘looped’ to my neighbour in our semi detached property) and I may not be able to have a charger installed at home at all! I supposed to be collecting my M3P in 2-3 weeks, and this is potentially a real problem.

    Pod Point have sent an email to UK Power Network to ask them if it’s possible to install at my home, but they’ve said even if they say yes, I may need to pay to split the loop, which could cost thousands and mean digging up either my or my neighbours driveway.

    anyone else experienced this?! Is there anything else I can do instead to avoid this? Any other products or work arounds that I can look into that will mean I can have a charger installed at home?

    thanks in advance for your help all
     
  2. Smiddy

    Smiddy Supporting Member

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    Ive seen some posts (on other sites) where other people have had looped supply and UK Power Networks have unlooped them for free. It might be worth contacting them yourself about it and explain your need to install an EV charger.

    Normally unlooping would cost you but its for other work like moving the meter so im not sure what they would do in this case. I would hope they unloop you for free.
     
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  3. rotor2k

    rotor2k Member

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    The granny charger (UMC Gen 2) gives you ~8 miles per hour, so as long as you aren't driving more than 80 miles a day, it's not the end of the world. Not ideal to be running a generic extension out of the house, but it's solvable. Combine that with supercharging and maybe charging at work, and you should be able to manage it.
     
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  4. CMc1

    CMc1 Member

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    Any wiring up to the metered supply in your property should be the responsibility of the DNO, so they should be responsible for the cost AFAIK.

    also nothing stopping you having a 7kW 32A commando socket instead
     
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  5. spon88

    spon88 Member

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    Sorry to hear this; not great news. You need to speak to the company who controls the power distribution in your area - the so-called "DNO". They will advise. They turned up at our place to change the main incoming fuse to 80 amp before our charger was installed. They said we were lucky not to have a looped supply as many in our area apparently do. I had no clue!

    They said that if we did share the supply with the neighbours i.e looped, then it would have been a case of digging up the driveway and running in a new supply - he did mentioned "thousands" but by that stage I'd breathed a sigh of relief and switched off a bit. So contact your DNO and ask them what can be done asap, hopefully it won't be too bad - good luck!
     
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  6. elecTED

    elecTED Member

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    TMC/UMC would give you around 10 miles charge per hour
    16A commando would give you 15 miles
    32A commando would give you 30 miles

    If you come back from work at 8pm every day and leave at 6am (that’s actually a very long day) that gives you 10 hours to charge up.

    In those 10 hours with UMC you can get 100 miles charge, 16A commando 150 miles and 32A up to 300 miles!

    Unless you are doing long daily commutes and need to leave home early and arrive back late, you are likely to be fine without a vendor wall charger. But of course it’s convenient to have one installed.
     
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  7. Jeremy Harris

    Jeremy Harris Supporting Member

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    #7 Jeremy Harris, Nov 26, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
    The DNO are entitled to charge for work required to reinforce the network due to a request for a greater capacity, which fitting either a charge point, or a 32 A commando intended to be used for vehicle charging, may well be in this case. The DNO will argue that they have provided a domestic supply that was adequate for the demand before either a charge point or 32 A commando was fitted, and it's the additional load that requires the supply to be upgraded.

    There's a myth that persists that it's OK to have a 16 A or 32 A commando installed for vehicle charging purposes without either complying with Section 722 of BS7671:2018, or informing the DNO. It is not OK, the regs apply to any circuit intended to supply electric vehicles for charging purposes, as this bit from the regs makes clear:

     
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  8. DanTW_GB

    DanTW_GB Member

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    Thank you everyone, really appreciate your help and advice. I’ll wait to see what Pod Point say in a day or two - they’ve sent a letter to the Energy Networks Association to see if they can get the green light to go ahead with the install - all fingers and toes crossed. Will come back to this and post an update once I know more
     
  9. Cwmwd

    Cwmwd Member

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    Don't know about your circumstances but might a charger at work be an option as a Plan-B? There's an OLEV grant available for workplace charge points at 75%/£500 per socket if you need to persuade someone.
     
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  10. Avendit

    Avendit Member

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    Sufficient is a hard term. It obviously was at the time the loop was created, but perhapse it is t now? Hard to say without knowing more about the supply. If this is limiting the supply to 40A per property then there is a pretty fair argument that this isn't sufficient. Enough of an argument to beat them down on costs a bit at least.

    On the other hand, if they have to dig stuff up, you may as well get some 3 phase layed in and go for 11kw ;-)

    There may be some options around using 'smart' features to limit the times of charging so the building can cope? Or agreeing with the person you share supply with that there is only 1 charger between you and it's sited so you can both use it if it starts to matter, financial questions to be settled later? Or use a Tesla unit as they can be pair-aware (no grant tho). Ie help the DNO agree there will only be 1 charger on the shared circuit.

    You could also get a properly installed 16A commando with the DNO's OK, proper RCD etc as this may not add enough load to matter? Or other 16A solution (poss the pod point can be officially limited?). Having done it for the last 2 months now, 16A charging is pretty ok, only situation it struggles with is arriving home near empty and needing to hit full the next day. Only prob is this may burn your bridges for...

    Finally, and despite the quoted regs, above you could just go with a sneaky 16A commando with a second UMC and don't run it the same time as your oven or power shower.

    None of these are lovely options, sorry :-(. Really hope you find a solution. I'm still on a sneaky 16A commando, with an extension and for my usage it's working OK. I am working through towards a real (probably pod point) solution tho. Load check and fuse upgrade done now, but garage is being rebuilt in Jan, which with a drive rebuild will also let me get the car into the drive, next to the charger.
     
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  11. Jeremy Harris

    Jeremy Harris Supporting Member

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    My guess is that the DNO have a standard knee-jerk response that says "no", unless presented with evidence to show it's OK. They aren't responsible for supplier-side load management, so unless told that there is adequate load management provision they most probably aren't going to change their mind.

    Any competent electrician could spend a short time looking over the installation, doing a maximum load assessment and then determining how much spare capacity might be available. If there's enough for a 32 A continuous load, or a 16 A one, then that can be presented to the DNO as evidence that the supply is within the existing limit. I've seen looped supplies with really low fuse ratings in the past (one former council terrace was only 30 A, believe it or not). I've also seen looped supplies with a 100 A fuse per property, though. Most common seems to be 60 A, and whether or not that's adequate depends on the other loads in the house.
     
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  12. DanTW_GB

    DanTW_GB Member

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    Some really amazing tips and posts here, lots of information to take in. Feel really grateful to all of you for taking the time to write all this down for me.... thank you!

    I’ll take it one step at a time and wait to hear back from ENA/UKPN.... once I hear back I’ll be back to post an update and ask your advice on best next steps. Seems you guys really know your stuff which is super helpful!
     
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  13. arg

    arg Supporting Member

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    UKPN policy on looped services is here. Rather bizarrely, it only makes you responsible for work on your premises and they will pay for work on your neighbours's premises - so it's cheap if you are in the middle of the loop, expensive if you are on the end of the loop. In the latter case, it might work out cheaper to get your neighbour to install a chargepoint first and get your garden dug up at UKPN expense!

    If you are paying for the work, there's usually the option to do your own digging to keep the cost down.

    But I concur with the advice above - while getting the service unlooped is preferable, getting a chargepoint with load management (Zappi, EO) will probably give you a charging facility you can live with, unless other loads in the house have already eaten up all the spare capacity.
     
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  14. Jeremy Harris

    Jeremy Harris Supporting Member

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    There's some fairly universal guidance on whether or not an existing supply cut out (main fuse) can safely run an EV charge point here, that may help: http://www.energynetworks.org/assets/files/electricity/futures/Electric%20Vehicles%20and%20Heat%20Pumps/[PDF]Cut-Out%20Rating%20Guidance%20to%20EV-HP%20Installers%20-%20MARCH%20FINAL%20v2.docx.pdf

    There's a bit on looped supplies at the end. The bottom line is that the DNO need an assessment, and getting them to do one is probably fairly unlikely (my experience is that DNOs just don't respond to this sort of request very quickly). A competent electrician could work out what's going on, with the exception that he/she may not be able to determine the main fuse rating (usually the fuse has to be physically removed to check this and that's a DNO responsibility). The fuse rating should also be on an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) if one has ever been done (should be done every 10 years, ideally, but many people don't get them done as it's not a legal requirement). Often an EICR will be done as a part of the pre-purchase surveys now, certainly the purchaser of our old house asked for one as a condition of sale.
     
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  15. Avendit

    Avendit Member

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    To get our fuse upgraded we had to do a load survey then a guy visited to check the DNO equipment (ie fuse). But it was just a word doc that I filled in and sent off. Took a week from contact to fuse upgrade, but we had a meter that was good to 100A so the guy just dropped one in. Scottish power networks btw.
     
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  16. Jeremy Harris

    Jeremy Harris Supporting Member

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    Under ESQR, the supplier (not the DNO) has a mandatory requirement to provide certain information on request, as long as they are given the MPAN for the supply (always on the bill somewhere, may be on a label on/near the meter). This information includes the number of phases available, the max PSCC at the incomer, the max earth loop impedance, the type and rating of the fuse, and the type of earthing system.

    The reality is that very often the supplier hasn't got a clue what the fuse rating is, or even what type of cut out is fitted, which means they are supposed to send someone out to pull the fuse and check. Getting them to do this may not be either quick or easy, but it may be that quoting ESQR Regulation 28 might prod them in the right direction...
     
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  17. rotor2k

    rotor2k Member

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    Does "looped" mean that the houses are in series with each other?
     
  18. arg

    arg Supporting Member

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    Not literally in series, but yes the cable comes from the street to house1, then a cable goes from house1 to house2. So the cable from the street to house1 is carrying the load of both house1 and house2.

    The junction in house1 is (usually) made before the fuse, so that shared cable out to the street has to be sized for the total of the fuse in house1 plus the fuse in house2.

    So if built from standard size cables (for example, one that would suit an 80A fuse in a single house), the two houses with looped service end up with 40A fuses.
     
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  19. Avendit

    Avendit Member

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    Some horrifying pics in that pdf linked above of looped supplies btw.
     
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  20. Jeremy Harris

    Jeremy Harris Supporting Member

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    Trust me, I've seen far, far worse, and I only do voluntary work now. Some of the bodges perpetrated on electrical installations have to be seen to be believed. Some of it's just down to idiotic DIY'ers, but in recent years it seems that there are a growing number of pretty incompetent people calling themselves electricians.
     
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