An innocent amongst power companies

I have an earthing issue with my house.

The important earth connection to the in-coming mains cable does not look very business-like – something the gas man pointed out as I had never looked at it.

Even if I wanted to, I could not mess with this because it is not mine – It belongs to the local Distribution Network Operator (DNO).

So I have phoned the relevant DNO, they were helpful, and someone is coming out to look at it.

Frustratingly, that simple phone call…

… had to be preceded by several other phone calls as I had not heard of DNOs and had no idea that the incoming main fuse and its all-important earth are no longer owned by the same organisation that owns the meter (the meter operator or ‘MOP’ as I now know) – although they were both owned by EDF until about a year ago, I was told.

What I wonder now is: if the incoming cable end assembly needs changing, and if this involves changing the wires between that and the meter, do both companies have to turn up at the same time to cut their respective seals and undo their respective screws, or does one company have permission to sort out both ends of the cables at once?

I ponder this because my electricity meter is also due for attention: it has to be ‘recertified’, which mostly means replaced.

Could someone kill two birds with one stone and do everything in one visit, saving me taking two days off?

I asked the DNO and the MOP, and the answer is ‘no’, this would come into the ‘too-difficult’ category.

What came in the ‘even-more-difficult’ category was my suggestion that, while it was being replaced, the meter operator might want to fit a remotely-readable meter, or move the meter to somewhere easier to see – as it is inside a cupboard, under a shelf, low down, at the back, on a side wall.

I don’t really mind where it is, I just feel sorry for the poor meter readers who have to grovel around with a torch to see the numbers.

I was told ‘If you want the meter moved…..’, and miserably failed to get the message across that I was saying ‘Given this opportunity, for your convenience, would you like to move the meter’.

So I gave up, and subsequently learned that meter reading is now done by yet another company, so the meter owners have no motivation to do anything for the convenience of the meter readers.

To sum up:
Company A (the DNO) owns the main fuse and main earth.
Company B (the MOP) owns the meter (or at least takes responsibility for it).
Company C pays the meter readers.
Company D receives my bill payments (and might own the meter).
I could find no evidence that they have any interest in helping each other out.

And I still don’t know who owns the fuse-to-meter wires, although I did discover that company B might be sub-contracted to do the work by Company A if a PME conversion is needed at the main fuse.

How confusing and not-joined-up.

As an aside: several wall socket earths and light fitting earths were not connected when I moved into at Alice Towers – leading me to believe the previous owner was of the tin foil hat brigade, and was worried that space aliens were going to invade via the grounding system.

As a more serious aside: EDF made millions selling off all the network infrastructure to a separate company, at the expense of me and many others having to take two separate days off to wait in – another example of what Alun-the-Web-Editor likes to call ‘privatising the profit and socialising the cost’. There are so many examples of this now that the few have got so good at screwing the many – the banking crisis, for example.

‘Alice’

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Tags: Alice, DNO, electricity, Engineer in Wonderland, fuse, meter, MOP

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