I have in front of me at the moment a piece of notepaper with no less than 12 different phone numbers on it.
This all started out as what I thought would be a simple inquiry relating to the auto parts store in this thread .
As I mentioned before, there are two unused services entering the premises from when the store was three separate units. It so happens that one of those old locations would be much more convenient for the rewire if it could be used (I've just had extras sprung on me, including a 7.2kW instant water heater which, of course, is the opposite end of the building to the existing service).
So I thought I'd try to find out how much they'd be charged to have the service transferred, bearing in mind that all the old cables are still in place and, I assume, still energized as far as the service heads.
It's been a while since I've had to do anything involving such a move, so I went through the local DNO's usual inquiry line, pressed the multitude of numbers to navigate their menus and eventually (after a 40-minute wait!) spoke to somebody there.
Not our department anymore. You need to call connections. Different number. I then went through so many places yesterday afternoon that I've forgotten the exact sequence, but at least twice it involved calling a number they gave me only to hear: "Boo, bee, bah..... The number you have called has changed....." or "The number you have called is no longer available...."
I finally managed to explain the situation ("No, we don't need the cables relocated, there are already two other services already in place, and one still has a meter there").
It turns out that the current supplier is British Gas so I need to call them. All credit to them, they have only one simple opening menu and only about a 10-second wait to speak to a human being. They can't say how much it would cost, because the old services aren't on their database and I need to contact the DNO (which for this area is EDF Energy).
Back to EDF, and another half dozen calls trying to find someone who actually deals with this and getting passed from one department to another. By this time it was turned 5 p.m. and the offices were closed.
I started again this morning, and was referred back to British Gas.
"Definitely up to them to get a meter installed if necessary and to do the changeover."
Called BG again and spoke to a very helpful fellow, who actually attempted to call EDF connections while I was waiting. He had about as much luck as I did getting through to someone, but eventually came back with yet two more 0870 phone numbers for EDF connections and said that I needed to get confirmation from EDF because the existing service is the only one they have registered and they can't do anything about the others.
Back to EDF, yet again, and finally got through to a lady who said yes, I've reached the right department (funnily enough, it seemed to be the same department where I'd started). I explained the situation again, she took the details, went off and checked, then came back and said "It would be in the region of £500 to £600."
I explained again that we don't need cables moved or a new service actually installed, just an old service re-instated and the existing one disconnected. I also made sure she understood that the store is current paying British Gas for its power.
"That would be the standard charge for your area, £500 to £600."
To be honest, I'm still not certain she quite grasped the situation, but I did explain at least three times.
Has this become the norm for such situations now that we have so many different companies involved?
they do seem to be reasonably incompetent. A good case of the left hand doesnt know what the right hand is up to.
I needed to change my VIR metre tails and didnt want to cut the seals as one entered a teleswitch which was for the rate change. I have never seen a service set up like that before.
I rang Grittish Bass who said to contact Powergen who said that it wasnt their area and to call Eastern Electric who are now called CE Electric who said to contact Grittish Bass. Grittish Bass said that it wasnt them. I insisted that I needed an isolater fitting or the seals replacing.
Eventually Grittish Bass said that I could send a letter and cheque for about £40 and they would install an isolator at some point before the next ice age! He also said that they do not operate a re-sealing service and that if an electrician said it was OK, I could chop all the seals off! I took his detals and chopped away! I also found that I have a BS3036 cutout at 30A. I wonder if it will blow with the shower and cooker on at once?
It really is beggars belief at times! (I cant find a "shakes head in despair" smiley but imagine it was here.
I took my time, I hurried up, The choice was mine, I didn't think enough
#146383 - 12/06/0604:59 PMRe: Ring-around-the-Rosy with the PoCo
I too get thoroughly fed up off the way the system works (or rather doesn't work) these days!!!! I have quite a few occasions when I have had to get the POCO to either do a temp disconnect or change to PME and it is almost impossible to do it easily. In fact one elderly customer called me 12months after I had arranged with British Gas to change his tails, to ask when they were going to do it!!! If anyone knows how to get round this mish mash of a set-up I'd love to know. As to the BS 3036 service - I have seen those years ago, usually in a metal enclosure, very rare these days.
#146385 - 12/06/0607:57 PMRe: Ring-around-the-Rosy with the PoCo
Personally Paul, I feel really sorry for you having to go through that sort of rigmarole(sp?) just to get a simple answer like that. It's getting that way here with a lot of places here too. Our Inspectors here at the Power Company are usually more than happy to help out any Electrician that genuinely needs advice on things like this. Considering that the company has run the local network here since it was installed, I reckon that is how it should be left as well. We are really only a Lines Company these days, but as they say, stick with what you know. Paul, if you are an Electrician making these enquiries, how on earth does Joe Bloggs get on, when he calls them?. Mind you, I think we all went backwards when companies started using Temp agencies for people that answer the telephones in these places, some of them have no idea what day it is.
#146386 - 12/07/0610:59 AMRe: Ring-around-the-Rosy with the PoCo
I have quite a few occasions when I have had to get the POCO to either do a temp disconnect or change to PME and it is almost impossible to do it easily.
I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that nothing is simple anymore.
Given the price quoted and the vagueness of it all, I've abandoned the idea of transferring.
I'm just going to install a new Wylex NH panel at the front of the store, leave long tails and hook it up for temporary power, then get them to come out when it's all ready to transfer the tails straight into the meter, tidy up the contactor wiring, and isolate the old panel and 3-ph switchfuse. I suppose they might want to swap out the meter for a 1-ph type as well, but so long as it's left so I can rip out the redundant stuff, I really don't care!
As to the BS 3036 service - I have seen those years ago, usually in a metal enclosure, very rare these days.
Now I think about it some more, I think I've heard of something along those lines. Never seen one though.
Considering that the company has run the local network here since it was installed, I reckon that is how it should be left as well. We are really only a Lines Company these days, but as they say, stick with what you know.
Perhaps I should have gone into more detail on the setup we have now, and I just realized that I never defined DNO for non-Brits as well -- It's the Distribution Network Operator.
Baically, the DNO owns and manages all the outside lines in any given area, and is responsible for laying in new services to buildings and moving/disconnecting existing services. Here's a map of the current DNOs throughout the U.K.:
Once power is to the building though, you can contract with any one of a multitude of suppliers to actually bill you for the power (including British Gas, which still takes some getting used to!). It's then that supplier's responsibility to meter usage and bill/collect accordingly. The actual meter installation and reading can then be contracted out to yet another company, e.g. Siemens.
It's sure a heck of a lot more complicated than when there was just "The Electricity Board" (Eastern Electricity, East Midlands Electricity, SouthWestern Electricity Board, etc.) for each region and they handled everything.
#146387 - 12/07/0611:18 AMRe: Ring-around-the-Rosy with the PoCo
Paul, I'm imagining you in the area of (let me get this right) the Red area under E-On Central Networks?. Same side of the coin, where has half of Wales gone?. Or have they not paid thier bills in some time?.
#146388 - 12/07/0611:41 AMRe: Ring-around-the-Rosy with the PoCo
Paul, I'm imagining you in the area of (let me get this right) the Red area under E-On Central Networks?
Nope, I'm in the greeny-blue EDF Energy area, right up in the northeastern-most part of the "bulge." Actually, if you look at that map the EDF area is divided into three sections, as these correspond with the original Southern, London, and Eastern Electricity Board areas. In fact the old Eastern Electricity logo was a blue "e" similar to the present EDF one, except that the horizontal bar was extended a little and had a kind of stylized three-prong plug drawn on the end of it!
Same side of the coin, where has half of Wales gone?
All of Wales is there -- It's just that the southern half is now run by Western Power Distribution (along with Cornwall, Devon, etc.) while the northern half is run by Scottish (!) Power (which also controls central/southern Scotland).
There have been so many mergers, takeovers, and other re-arrangements that it's hard to keep up. Note also that Scottish & Southern Energy controls both the Highlands of Scotland and the south central section of England.
And don't forget that the EDF in "EDF Energy" stands for Electricité de France, the old French state electricity board!
Mon Dieu! C'est très embrouillant, n'est-ce pas?
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 12-07-2006).]
#146389 - 12/09/0609:47 AMRe: Ring-around-the-Rosy with the PoCo
There have never been storage heaters so it is a bit of a mystery why it is connected like that. All I know is that it is a mess.
I do mean BS3036, it is a fusible link through a ceramic tube. It looks like it may have been double pole fusing but the neutral now has a solid link fitted. The cutout is bakelite and of 1954 vintage.
I move in next week, will see how long it takes for the fuse to blow. I wonder which of half a dozen companies to call. I should probably have a rehersal to make sure
I took my time, I hurried up, The choice was mine, I didn't think enough