I think somehow that was a UK vs Irish standards issue..
Irish consumer units / panels always have a main fuse or, in very recent ones, a main breaker. The idea being that if the consumer overloads the system completely the service fuse doesn't blow but rather the main fuse / breaker on the panel will blow or trip first.
As far as I'm aware, but please correct me if I'm wrong, other countries including the UK don't necessarily have a main fuse / breaker on the panel and rely on the service fuse before the meter.
Our regs were incrediably slow to accept the idea of a main breaker, most new panels still have a main neozed fuse!
Gday Trumpy. The second post on that forum was classic. "I'M NO SPARKY, BUT I'VE JUST FINISHED WIRING MY OWN HOUSE". The rest of his post gave me the impression that he wasn't kidding either ! ! The older domestic DBs here in the South Island don't have a main breaker. Just a 63A rewirable porcelain fuse at the entry to the house and a main switch on the DB. I guess these DBs were installed before MCBs were invented. This setup is very common in the older suburbs of Christchurch. One wrong move whilst working live in the back of these DBs can result in a decent explosion ! ! ! Especially if that house is next to the 11kV tranny.
Kiwi, I'm not sure which South Island you're talking about but all of our Service Lines Overhead or Underground are protected with 63A HRC English Electric fuselinks here in Ashburton. The days of re-wireable gear has long gone and although we are still taking it out, it's only because the Pole or pillar box fuse has blown before the fuse inside the house, as in a 20 or 30A fuse that has been "Upgraded" to a couple of 100A.
No, we don't have a main breaker on UK panels. There is always a cartridge fuse (property of PoCo and sealed) before the meter, then in a TN-S or TN-C-S installation there will normally just be a double-pole main switch, then the individual MCBs.
A TT system will have a main RCD (or in older homes a voltage-operated ELCB), but that is purely for earth-leakage, it does not incorporate overload protection.