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Octopus & Isolation Switch

MacPaul

Member
Sep 28, 2019
164
137
Aberdeen
Has anyone had to get an Isolation Switch installed before your charger installer would do the job?

I’ve put in a request to Octopus but wondering how long this is going to delay things.
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,686
UK
Ideally, all suppliers would fit an isolator switch as standard, whenever they do a meter change. In practice, it seems that few do, and getting one out to install an isolator before something like a charge point installation is probably in the unicorn category, although some suppliers are better than others at responding to requests like this.

Every electrician has to deal with the problem caused by not having an easy means to isolate the tails coming in to the consumer side. It's a very regular and recurring problem. Every electrician has a solution to this problem, and uses that solution regularly. A charge point installation is no different to something like a consumer unit change in this respect.

Why has the electrician asked you to do part of their job?
 

MacPaul

Member
Sep 28, 2019
164
137
Aberdeen
Why has the electrician asked you to do part of their job?

My install requires an additional Consumer Unit and pulling the main fuse. Only the DNO or my supplier is authorised to do this. Apparently.

So here we are. I could try a different installer but who’s to say they won’t insist on the same.
 

VanillaAir_UK

Supporting Member
Jun 17, 2019
7,150
4,671
Surrey, UK
I'm getting new meter installed in couple of weeks, I've specifically asked for isolation switch to be fitted at same time. I'll let you know in a few weeks if my request is honoured, but apparently they all have all the bits in the van.

I had similar issue few years back with a large charge point installer refusing to do the work. I asked Octopus who were very helpful, but couldn't fit isolation switch without changing the meter, at least not for free and then not at all irrespective of payment. It wasn't Octopus call but their fitting company who I think at the time for our region was Lowri Beck but is now AES. I never pushed for it in the end - didn't want a smart meter or a 3kW charge point and it was just for a trial so pulled out.

A bit daft installers not doing it without isolation switch. I've had work done before that required no power and electricians method was not a problem when DNO came out a few years later to change the meter - date expired. I think some use it as an excuse to take a deep breadth, make a funny noise then put the price up. So I'm just preempting that.
 

Glan gluaisne

Supporting Member
Sep 11, 2019
2,782
2,686
UK
My install requires an additional Consumer Unit and pulling the main fuse. Only the DNO or my supplier is authorised to do this. Apparently.

So here we are. I could try a different installer but who’s to say they won’t insist on the same.


Most charge point installations need an additional CU, and installing CUs is an everyday bread-and-butter job for any electrician. As the customer, it's not up to you to get the required isolation job done, it's something the electrician doing the work should be sorting out, just as he/she would for any other job that requires supplier-side isolation.

Passing the buck to the customer for doing this key part of the work seems odd. If you were having a rewire and new CU fitted, would you expect the electrician to get you to do the supplier-side isolation work for them?

FWIW, 9 times out of 10 an isolating switch won't be installed, even if the supplier or DNO does come out. A meter monkey will turn up and pull the fuse to allow the connections to be safely made and then put the fuse back and seal it afterwards.

Pretty much everything can be installed, bar splitting the tails to allow the new connection and existing connection to run via a couple of Henlys, without touching the incoming supply, anyway. Once the supply has been isolated, the tails can be connected and the final live and functional testing can be done, maybe 10 or 15 minutes work, right at the end of the job.

Might well be worth looking down the list of approved installers and seeing if there's another one near you that you can ask to quote.
 

MacPaul

Member
Sep 28, 2019
164
137
Aberdeen
I’m sure you’re right. None of the other installers that have quoted have insisted on an isolation switch. I also have a spare 32amp way so why they can’t use that I’ve no idea.

(This is ChargedEV BTW for £175 untethered vs £500+ for the other quotes after grants etc.)
 

MacPaul

Member
Sep 28, 2019
164
137
Aberdeen
So my pessimism about Octopus was misplaced.

They’ve come back with an appointment to fit the switch in a couple of weeks time & no charge.

Huge relief as I could do without stressing over the charger delay as well as the car!
 

Durzel

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
2,799
1,823
Bath, UK
I would suggest its wise not connecting to an existing consumer unit. If you have a fault somewhere under charge conditions, it wont take out half the house.
Added to which you're unlikely to have anything else in the house that would use that much power over a sustained period of time, so if your electrics aren't quite up to the job then an EV charger will certainly expose that weakness pretty consistently.
 

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