Presence & Condition of Distributors Earthing Arrangement
Have you had a homebuyer or landlord electrical report and received a code under the heading “Presence & Condition of Distributors Earthing Arrangement”?
If your inspecting electrician hasn’t properly explained what this issue is, you may be unsure what you are dealing with.
In our latest post on EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) coding, we look at the causes of this fault, what it means for your electrics and how it should be repaired.
What are we Checking for with the “Presence & Condition of Distributors Earthing Arrangement?”
As you can gather from the name of the inspection, first of all we are looking for the presence of an earthing arrangement by the electricity distribution company.
Certain earthing systems are the responsibility of the property owner and require an earth rod or similar. These installations would be marked as N/A on this particular test as no earthing arrangement is provided by the distribution network. Your inspecting electrician will be able to give further advice if this particular earthing system applies to your property.
If there is a supplied earth terminal, we then need to check the condition of this. Some types of earthing system rely on clamps around the incoming supply cable. Over time, these clamps can rust and deteriorate, leaving the property with a poor connection to earth.
The check for this particular item consists of both visual inspection and then confirmation of the adequacy of the incoming earth connection. This is done with a calibrated test meter.
What Problems Arise With The Distributors Earthing Arrangement?
The main issue encountered with the distributors earthing is that of poor quality or damaged clamps as mentioned above. As the clamp looses its grip on the incoming cable sheath, the incoming earth connection becomes gradually poorer. This, over time, can lead to an incoming earth test reading far beyond the maximums allowed.
Unfortunately this happens without any real warning over a period of time. All the sockets and lights work without any issue, the problem only being picked up by testing. The risk is that if a metallic appliance has an earth fault, the case could become live and the power could potentially remain live as opposed to cutting off.
As such it goes without saying that any issue of a property having a poor incoming earth connection requires urgent remedial action.
Other possible problems which affect the earth include damage to the supply cable outside the property or a failure on the electricity distribution network.
How to resolve problems with the Distributors Earthing Arrangement
If the incoming earth connection is present, in that your property is not the type which requires an earth rod, then the distribution network owner (DNO) must maintain the earth connection.
If indeed you do have an issue, then luckily this issue will generally cost nothing to repair. As the equipment belongs to the distribution company (note this is NOT your electric supplier), then they will attend and check/rectify the problem.
We usually report this issues to the network owner ourselves when completing an electrical test. This saves the customer having to call and report the issue which they may not understand. Some electricians may just mark this down and expect you to deal with the Distribution Network Owner so be aware.
The reason we normally report the issue is because to get a speedy response and get an engineer out quickly they ask technical questions about the earthing arrangement type and the readings. It’s far easier to ask the inspecting electrician to call on your behalf.
However, if you need to for whatever reason: If you dial 105 from any phone, you will be connected with the electrical distribution network owner that is relevant to the area in which you are in.
Once you explain the issue to the operator, they will send an engineer to check and assess the issue. This usually is classed as an emergency and they will attend on the same day. Certainly in our area, Northern Powergrid attend for these issues within 3 hours of reporting.
If you’d like any further clarification on this issue and the causes/ways to test, please comment below and I’ll personally respond.
James – ElectricBlu Contractors