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Discuss Bad experience having isolator switch fitted by Scottish Power/Actavo in the Electrical Forum area at ElectrciansForums.co.uk.

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  1. Msitekkie
    Offline

    Msitekkie EF Member

    Location:
    Essex
    I "recently" contacted my DNO to have an isolator switch fitted beside my meter (my consumer unit needs changing and I didn't want to pull the fuse). I was told I needed to contact Scottish Power who charged me £85 but failed to turn up for the appointment, resulting in me having to contact them to ask what had happened. A new appointment was arranged for 2 & a half weeks ahead (the same as if I had newly requested it).
    This happened 4 times!!! The work was eventually done at the 5th attempt. Each time I got no confirmation of the appointment & I had to queue on the phone to inform them that nobody turned up & arrange a new appointment. The 5th occasion was slightly different in that the complaints team were to get back to me regarding a new appointment, but never did. It wasn't till I chased them I discovered an appointment had been booked (without checking with me as to whether I would be available)!
    After the 2nd missed appointment I was advised that I was entitled to a £30 statutory payment, so of course I asked about the 1st and eventually got a payment for that also. So I have had 4 missed appointment payments plus another for a late payment. £150 in all.

    It turns out that Scottish Power don't do the work themselves but sub-contract it to Actavo and the lines of communication between them are poor, involving more phone queueing & long waits. Actavo are more used to dealing with meters and the Engineer who came out had never fitted an Isolator switch to an existing installation before and didn't know what to do (I gathered he wasn't actually an Electrician). He spoke to his boss on the phone who told him he couldn't do the job, but was overridden by the next person up the line who said of course they could do it. Someone had to talk him through what to do after he sent them a photo of the setup, but when he sent them another photo after he had finished, was told to change it.
    I should also mention I had offered to de-load the consumer unit for the "engineer" when he was ready, but he just came in & turned it off at the main switch without de-loading first.

    I booked the work in August and it was completed towards the end of November. So if you need an Isolator switch order it well in advance! Also when you are queueing on the phone to Scottish Power you are told you can track complaints online, but the complaint tracker page never had any information that was remotely useful over the whole period so don't rely on this.

    The moral of the story seems to be that although the regulations say you shouldn't pull the fuse, the operators are not at all geared up to fit isolator switches and on this showing I wouldn't rely on them turning up on the day you want to do the work to pull the fuse either.

    I do wonder if the Actavo "Engineers" had been avoiding my job as they didn't know how to do it.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  2. Wilko
    Offline

    Wilko Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Berkshire
    Business Name:
    Wilko Electrics
    I'm sorry to hear this, its a total nightmare from your perspective. From what you've said I'd also be checking the tightness of any new connections they've made.
    In my humble opinion ... claim back all the money you can and submit a written complaint about inconvenience and delay. I'm not sure how they can possibly think this is anywhere near the ballpark of acceptable service. But nothing will change till there are sufficient costs and complaints.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. freddo
    Offline

    freddo Regular EF Member

    Location:
    Devon
    And these companies wonder why electricians pull the fuses themselves.
     
    • Agree Agree x 9
    • Winner Winner x 1
  4. Matthewd29
    Offline

    Matthewd29 Regular EF Member

    Location:
    Belfast
    We are far better trained equipped and qualified than most of these so called engineers yet we rely on them to make connections we can't see or check to see of they are sound it's all a bit of a joke really
     
    • Agree Agree x 6
  5. Wilko
    Offline

    Wilko Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Berkshire
    Business Name:
    Wilko Electrics
    When I moved into Casa del Wilko a few years back I noted there was no fuse seal, a status I'm in no hurry to rectify.
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  6. Dave Jenkins
    Offline

    Dave Jenkins Therapy? Nah, motorcycles!

    Location:
    Devon
    Client of mine requested Scottish power to fit an isolator so we could change the board. Nobody turned up on the day and chasing up SP they said they no longer fitted isolators...
    So OP posting disappointing but not surprising....
     
  7. buzzlightyear
    Online

    buzzlightyear Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    star command
    next time get your customer to arrange it for isolator to be put in .if not pull the bl**dy fuse. the last time I changed the consumer unit
    the suppler turned up to pull the fuse he put on his bomb proof suit to pull the fuse .what!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Dave Jenkins
    Offline

    Dave Jenkins Therapy? Nah, motorcycles!

    Location:
    Devon
    I saw Western Power fit an isolator - as you say he put on his bomb-proof suit and helmet to carry out the work...Consumer Unit wasn't even fitted so no load whatsoever... He wasn't a qualified electrician either!
     
  9. Des 56
    Offline

    Des 56 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Gliese 581C
    I just gotta get myself into this "fit an isolator" malarky
    It might just be age that makes me different to you modern breed

    If I was approached,the isolator would be fitted,the job would be cheaper than those engineer people, and no worrying about broken seals,they can stay intact :)

    It does amaze me that electricians actually pay to have these fitted by someone else :confused:
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  10. static zap
    Offline

    static zap Regular EF Member

    Location:
    west midlands
    ...Passing some current , and a FLIR ?
    -- or feel for heat with cautious back of hand..eeek

    This is brought about by "LEGAL" requirements .
    Insurance liability rules ..... (protecting Job as well)
    (and a poor grasp of implications of SAID -Rules )
    ... It was saving them money -"That way" ...I imagine ....
     
  11. Murdoch
    Offline

    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    Whats an isolator?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. rolyberkin
    Offline

    rolyberkin Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Chelmsford
    I phoned eon yesterday and told them that I had an installation that needed urgent work and I needed the supply isolated prior to the 4th December, they said they couldn't do it until the new year but if the house owner called they may be able sort something out. I told them that if they didn't turn up prior to me attending I would pull the fuse to comply with the electricity at work regulations. My customer then called them and they said to him that if your electrician feels it necessary to pull the fuse then tell him to go ahead and do it!?:)
     
  13. mhar
    Offline

    mhar Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    devon
    The majority of dno staff are not 'qualified electricians', why would they be? Western Power want staff knowledgeable about the network, their responsibility ceases at the cutout.
    They do a lot of work live, they are only putting on the safety equipment they are obliged to wear. Saves getting injured and/or sacked
     
  14. buzzlightyear
    Online

    buzzlightyear Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    star command
    yeah ,like something like the hurt locker!
     
  15. Matthewd29
    Offline

    Matthewd29 Regular EF Member

    Location:
    Belfast
    I fully agree with that their apparent waiting times are ridiculous I would be removing it if they couldn't make the appointment especially when it's 2 weeks away. How can they possibly spare one of their goons for 5 minutes to remove a fuse. Takes him longer to put on his protective professional fuse pulling gear
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
  16. buzzlightyear
    Online

    buzzlightyear Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    star command
    I love the marigolds they put on.and the helmets with visors has well .
    you swear that they coming to collect monies for matt brinks .
     
  17. mhar
    Offline

    mhar Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    devon
    Yeah, the pussies use insulated screwdrivers as well
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
  18. buzzlightyear
    Online

    buzzlightyear Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    star command
    not wooden one that I use then .
     
  19. rolyberkin
    Offline

    rolyberkin Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Chelmsford
    I have got a pair of the proper gloves, I have a welding helmet I suppose I could use but can't see anything through it!:)
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
  20. buzzlightyear
    Online

    buzzlightyear Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    star command
    you would see a big spark in them !
     
  21. Sparkie30
    Offline

    Sparkie30 Regular EF Member

    Location:
    London
    cant belive people still phone dno about this.
    Waste of time.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  22. buzzlightyear
    Online

    buzzlightyear Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    star command
    the suppliers changing to smart meters should put in a isolator for next time anybody wants to up grade the c/u or add.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  23. buzzlightyear
    Online

    buzzlightyear Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    star command
    is it not the government paying for the smarties to go in
     
  24. Dave OCD
    Online

    Dave OCD Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Cornwall
    Business Name:
    Hendry Electrical Services
    They often seem to put in very short new tails from the meter then fit 100a single pole blocks to connect to the existing tails, so space permitting it would be no more time consuming to just fit an isolator.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  25. 7029 dave
    Offline

    7029 dave Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    bedfordshire
    Was it me.:)
     
  26. buzzlightyear
    Online

    buzzlightyear Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    star command
    what ,looking like robo cop to pull the fuse .
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  27. Percyprod
    Offline

    Percyprod Regular EF Member

    Location:
    Cumbria
    It's ok making fun of dno and supply operatives using ppe, but remember you are quite possibly on a circuit controlled by a 400 or 500 amp fuse. I worked for dno, all clothing is arc resistant, code of practice states that when working on live circuits you wear full boiler suit, full gace mask, rubber gauntlets with leather over gauntlets. Now I admit on most cut-outs in good condition you didn't do this, but any signs of damage or distress to switch gear you certainly did. It's a hell of a bang and a flash if it does fault! In LV sub stations it was a sackable offence not to wear full ppe, lots of bare 3 phase bus-bars etc. Actually, if the cut-out or meter seals were missing we would look for any other signs of illegal interference and if non found ignore it.
     
  28. anthonybragg
    Offline

    anthonybragg Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    NORTHAMPTON
    Business Name:
    CHARLTEC ELECTRICAL LTD
    With the new generation (2) of smart meters being installed, that can be transferred between suppliers it would have been a good idea to have the self-connect isolator on the meter as I have come across with E-ON I think.
     
  29. freddo
    Offline

    freddo Regular EF Member

    Location:
    Devon
    Smart meters with isolators would have been a good idea, and they were included in the earlier designs but the idea was scrapped because it added an 'unnecessary' cost.
     
  30. snowhead
    Online

    snowhead Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Mildlands
    NO, it's you me and all the other Domestic energy users.
    Either by increased energy charges or fee for the meter.

    Don't be fooled by the energy suppliers saying "Free Smart meter", the cost still comes back to the user.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
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