I have a relative with a house in Quillan, (another small French town). His house was rewired completely when he bought it about four years ago and has a fairly substantial, perhaps 60amp, single phase supply from a pole like those. The house next door however appears to have a three phase supply from the same pole and on very thin wires. I honestly thought they were telephone wires at first sight! There is also a programme of work in hand to bury the cabling underground, in several towns in the area.
Geoff, that policy of putting all new domestic-supply underground is a direct result of le grand tempete of 26 decembre 1999 that knocked down so many poles in the Northern Departements. EDF had no choice but to import linemen from the UK to repair the damage in good time. Of course, you may have noticed one benefit of all-overhead supply plus the ubiquitous fosse-septique [ as opposed to mains drainage & sewerage]. French streets are seldom dug up to service faults in cables or drains and thus don't resemble the UK's bumpy patchwork-quilt road surfaces! The French [ and me for that matter! ] don't give a monkey's what a mess it all looks, as long as it's functional and the bar keeps running.
....a three phase supply from the same pole and on very thin wires.
Of course your kin's neighbor has in effect three separate house circuits of perhaps as little as 15A each. It's hours of harmless fun juggling the washing machine, range, kettle, microwave, etc., just to see how far you can stretch 15A and not melt a 2" nail...er.. trip a breaker!
I remember the first time I saw such a house in France. I'd heard about the tiny 3-phase supplies, but it was still an odd experience to stand there looking at a main disjoncteur set at a mere 15 amps per phase (and in typical French fashion, it looked as though both it and its wiring were held to the wall with sticky tape, bits of string, and a lot of luck!).
At least it's good to know that EDF is moving toward a more sensible system of supplying single phase at a decent current for the average home. Now all you need to do is get them to scrap the demand-based standing charge so you can get rid of all the needlessly complex switching arrangements.
I've always been left with the impression that the general French attitude to anything electrical is simply "Pas de problème, il marche n'est-ce pas?" (No problem, it works doesn't it?)
But I have to agree with Alan about the roads in France. Vastly better than the crumbling, non-maintained excuses for public highways that British roads have become in recent years.
By the way Alan, is that a spy..... Er, I mean surveillance camera on the first two pics? Please tell me these aren't springing up all over small French towns as well?
Spy Cameras? Why would M. le Maire want cameras to spy on us grizzled old gits? He can see most of the town through his office window! Those are our public address loudspeakers. Thus on market day, jours fériés, vides greniers or Bastille Day, we can have some lovely background music.
You only really come across supplies like that in fairly far flung villages. I've lived over there and the supplies and installations in modern homes, certainly in urban areas, are perfectly acceptable and to modern standards.
I think a lot of these old places have wiring dating back to the 1930s/40s (i.e. pre WWII!). Many British and Irish tourists end up staying in already converted, or buying and converting old, relatively run down farm out buildings in fairly far flung spots in France.
They do make ideal holiday homes once converted, but I really wouldn't base my opinion of French wiring on what you find in some of these places.
#166398 - 07/19/0710:54 PMRe: Distribution in a small French town
So with that being said, any chance of you guys in Europe, "Down Under" or any other country for that matter might be interested in posting some pictures of more modern installations? Preferably new ones? If you have any pics, please do post them. I always enjoy seeing how things are done in other countries.
All we ever get to see here is Canada and Mexico. Same stuff, just different terminology and practices, especially south of the border.
Alan, Fantastique France, le electrons, I'll marche c'est bien. the electrons flow it's ok. Many thanks for posting some of your French distribution systems. I remember them well from our family holidays in the late 70's and early 80's in Republique de France.
EV607797 I will take some pics for you from New Zealand
I like the clever ways of attaching the rack wiring to the houses.
The product of rotation, excitation and flux produces electricty.