Btw, black neutral and grey phase, what's that???
these should either be red (phase) and black (neutral) or brown (phase) and blue (neutral)
The gray will just be the outer sheath though. It quite likely has red inner insulation:
I still see three different types of meter tails in service around here. The modern ones are red/black inner insulation with a gray outer (brown/blue inners for that new-fangled Euro-stuff, of course).
Older tails can have either a brown sheath, or a red/black sheath to match the inner insulation, i.e. they still have a double layer of insulation, but both are red or both are black. So my guess on that pic is that the phase conductor into the meter is a replacement and that the neutral is older. Either that, or somebody just used single-insulated (6491X) for the neutral.
'm assuming the covers were over the unpainted areas and these covers would have been installed to prevent access to the tails prior to the meter.
That's an interesting point. It looks as though this installaton is fed with concentric cable by the look of the taped up neutral, so it quite probably did have a cover of some sort. However there are many services in which the incoming lines are quite easily accessible -- For a start, practically all the overhead services here in which the two cables just drop down through the wall or roof void and terminate into the fuse and neutral block.
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 03-06-2006).]