It is illegal for an electrician to remove a main fuse when they have not been authorised to do so. Any electrician who pulls a fuse they’re not authorised to puts themselves at risk of being fined.
Removing the main fuse can be dangerous for a person’s health and safety. Also, Distribution Network operators (DNOs) are often concerned about people who attemptto steal electricity via a fuse. Even when an electrician needs to remove the main fuse to ensure a safe working environment, they might still be reprimanded for doing so.
Depending on the DNO, your electrician might be able to pull the fuse if they work with a company that is trusted enough to acquire temporary seals from the DNO. Some DNOs will also allow any registered electrician to pull a fuse. So, before you do anything, it’s always a good idea to confirm with your DNO what their policies are exactly.
If an electrician has the authority to pull a fuse, then they’d be required to take a number of safety precautions. In most cases, when it’s out, the live parts will be in the open, with no barrier between them and the substation transformer. It’s subsequently possible for there to be enough energy to light up the service cable and cause a fire.
Stuck fuses can also be a problem and are particularly dangerous. If the electrician pulls too forcefully, they could end up pulling the holder of the board – particularly if damp has weakened it. This could result in some loose live wire, which is hazardous.
An electrician would also need to be very careful with old cut-outs that might contain asbestos wool. If they happen to encounter anything like this, the only choice would be to contact a DNO to change it. When the DNO sets out to remove a fuse, they will usually be armed with apparel made of cotton, a face shield and gloves for protection. Any electrician authorised to undertake this should also take such precautions.
In essence, if your electrician doesn’t have the authorisation to remove the main fuse, we suggest they don’t risk it. In addition to being illegal, pulling the fuse can be extremely dangerous. In this case, the best option is to call the DNO.
While it’s true that many electricians will take the risk and potentially blame it on the DNOs being disorganised, it’s best to contact the DNO first. If you’re lucky, they could solve the problem without too much of a delay.
Unfortunately, some electricians put themselves in unnecessarily dangerous situations when attempting to pull the fuse. For instance, changing CCU whilst live and adding switches, even when the main 100-amp fuse remains in position. As tempting as it might be to let your electrician pull the fuse, it’s better to be safe than sorry. So, speak to the DNO about what can be done to solve your electrical issues.