Yes, as I see it it is essentially the same as the Aussie/Kiwi MEN system, except as you say for the absence of a local earth rod here.
The only other main difference as I understand it is that you make the bond in the main panel whereas we keep N and E separate in the panel and bond to the neutral at the cutout on the supply side of the meter.
The main advantage oF PME is the much lower loop impedance for an earth fault and the fact that the earth is not the sole path for fault current.
The disadvantage is the potential (no pun intended
) for a bad neutral to result in all the bonded metalwork rising to 240V and thus the importance of minimizing the chances for a p.d. to exist between adjacent items.
PME was originally used in Britain only in certain rural areas, but has become much more widespread in the last 20 years or so. As I think I've said before the entire network in my local area has been adapted (extra earth rods etc.) to allow a PME connection to anyone who requests it, although the majority of systems are still TT.
I would certainly like to see earth rods installed at every house supplied under PME, as you have and as is done in the U.S. (where all
services are the equivalent of PME, of course).
Actually the comparison brings up the other point of the differing approaches to distribution and how this can have an effect on PME arrangements. In my neighborhood we have the usual huge 3-phase xfmr sub-station with 4-wire 240/415 distribution which feeds dozens of homes. In the States, we'd have a much larger number of smaller transformers with each feeding just a few houses, and of course with each xfmr having its own independent neutral/grounding system.
Any thoughts on how those different approaches affect the PME system?