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Posted By Topic: Service pillar metering

Jan 18 2018 12:14

I have a client running a caravan park with old service pillars containing no RCD protection of the socket outlets, only overload by early type MCBs.

They are wanting to add consumer meters to two of the four outlets in one of the pillars. I was going to use some small din rail mounted units in individual enclosures next to their corresponding existing MCBs.

They also would like to alter existing meters in another pillar to be rewired from two existing socket outlets to the other two existing socket outlets that are not metered.

The client was told by another sparky that in order to do this they would need complete new service pillars and RCD protection.

I have gone over 3008 and the only thing I can find that would trigger the need for RCD installation relates to caravans and not service pillars.

3000 would not trigger the need for RCD protection either.

The sites in question are used by permanent residents and the installation of RCDs will cause issues if they have MEN links in their boards.

Any argument against me simply installing the new meters and altering the others?


Jan 18 2018 12:38

There are some proposals currently being developed which will require the madated n fitting of RCDs to ALL socket outlets in service pillars in caravan parks for the supply to caravans in the near future.

The proposals also address the issues for caravans with N to E links fitted in older caravans.

A formal proposal for consultation with the electrical and holiday park industries is expected to be released in the near future.

The likely result of the proposals will result in 30 mA RCDs in service pillars and some changes for older caravans.

The safe position is to assusme the mandated use of RCDs in ALL sockect outlets is not far away.

You may care to ask the caravan park owner how he is for HSA purposes "taking all reaonably practical steps" for electrical safety when supplying power to caaravans in his caravan park? The best solution provide RCDs for every socket outlet suppying a caravan.

Caravan owners will need to do minor changes to caravans cureently fitted with a N to E link.

The standard you should be quoting is AS/NZS 3001 not 3008.

Jan 18 2018 13:21

Thanks Pluto.

You are correct I meant 3001 not 3008.

What might or might not happen in the future does not prevent the fitting of meters between the MCBs and sockets without RCD protection now, if I am correct?

The pillars are in good condition and so is the wiring and fittings, they have been in service for many years with out incidence of electrocution and are verified every 4 years.

The owners are H&S conscious but they are also not millionaires. I'm all for upgrades and making things safer but I also try and refrain form lying to my customers in order to make money, unlike their previous sparky who told them that they would need new pillars with RCDs if they added metering.

The whole site has about 50 pillars with 4 sockets each. Adding RCDs to accommodate what may happen in the future is an expensive move.

Thanks for your foresight and input, I will pass it on to the client.

Jan 18 2018 17:05

The minimum way to fit RCD protection on each socket outlet is to replace the current MCB with an RCBO and rearrange the neutral connection to the socket outlet throu the RCBO.

The MCB will likely be 18 mm wide, so is the new double pole RCBO, if you buy the right type, same mounting arrangements is often possible to be re-used.

The main cost is the RCBO + a small amount of conduit wire for the neutral rearrangement + a small amount of labour to fit the RCBO + test of the RCBO with a purpose made tester.

Jan 18 2018 19:46

Pluto's points are valid, and worth considering, but...

You're right that what may happen in future doesn't restrict your actions now.
Also that as the "rules" now are, only new pillars require RCD protection. There's a 'trigger" clause requiring upgrade of caravans to include RCD protection if any alteration is done; but nothing similar for pillars.

Jan 19 2018 00:15

Thanks Aleck I thought that was the case but wanted a second opinion to confirm that their previous sparky was just trying to cash in.

Pluto thanks, the job has been done. Original circuit breaker was the old surface mount type with the dodgy terminal covers that deteriorate and fall to bits, this has not happened yet though.

Two four way surface mount enclosures with one digital meter and C16A/30mA RCBO for each socket installed. Will be changing the others along the way when ever they require work.