We've been having power problems in our new property since we got in
although they were tolerable, namely flickering lights when something
is switched on (such as the kettle) and brief 'interference' on the TV
screen in accordance with things being switched on.
Tonight things took a turn for the worse with the power tripping off
twice, simply because I switched on my PC! (note: the PC is fine and
further testing proved that switching on other appliances could also
trip the power - it seems that the mains simply can't take too many
things switched on at once).
We're in Wales and are going to get in touch with Western Power
distribution tomorrow but I have a feeling that an electrician will be
required, hence the initial question re good, reliable electricians in
Do I go for an electrician with certain credentials to avoid the
Should we be going for an electrician first, or going through Western
Power first? (I have a feeling that the latter will say it's a problem
with our wiring and so is not their responsibility).
Finally, from my description, what is likely to be the fault? Poor
If "new" means "brand new", you need to get shirty with the developers
you bought it off. Let them know of your problem, let them have one go
at fixing it, then get a real electrician to fix it and send your
developer the bill. If by "new" you mean "place we've only recently
moved in to", the problems are all yours; lucky you...
Though you provide few details, it sounds rather as if you have an
earth-leakage breaker which is close to its tripping limit, such that
small extra leakages - concretely, the initial surge through mains
inlet filter networks on your PC and other domestic appliances -
cause it to trip. It's possible the ELCB itself is faulty (overly
sensitive), but likelier that you have a marginal fault in your
wiring or something connected to the ELCB side of your consumer unit,
which puts it close to tripping such that the small extra imbalance
makes it go Pop.
Big place, Wales. (Cue Douglas Adams mode: well, not as big as the
galaxy, but further than the chemist.) I know there's a competent
electrician in Llandogo (Wye Valley, about 4 miles upstream from Tintern),
but I can't remember his name. You'll need to be a little more specific as to
Personal recommendation is by far your best route: neighbours, work
colleagues, shopkeepers. Membership of trade bodies is only loosely
correlated with competence - i.e. there are incompetent rip-off
merchants who belong to trade bodies; there are good honest small
outfits who get by perfectly well on recommendation alone who don't
belong to the trade association; but a somewhat higher proportion of the
non-registered ones are less than fully up-clued.
You're almost certainly right there - and the problem is much likelier
to be in the stuff you own than on their side.
Definitely too little information for us to make a half-decent guess,
though I've speculated earlier in this reply. On sheer statistics,
you're likelier to have a fault in an appliance or something else
connected in to the circuitry, than in the fixed wiring: but either is
quite possible, and your reference to lights flickering when you
turn on a kettle does suggest a wiring problem. A merely competent
(as opposed to walks-on-water) electrician will be able to diagnose
and almost certainly fix with an hour or two's work; and since it
appears you don't have the equipment or knowledge to do the job
yourself (not an insult - I'm sure there are areas you're far more
expert in than me or an electrician!) it will be money well spent.
(As in the old story about the repair bill, itemised further at
outraged customer's request: "To: hitting <piece of kit> to
make it work: 50p. To: knowing where to hit it: 99.50 pounds." ;-)
Hope this helps - Stefek
Oh, I get that all the time - "it only took you 10 minutes to fix it, why is
the bill so high?"
Then you ask them how long it would have taken them, and would it be worth
it for them to waste so much time to save a few quid... It seems people
have no respect for knowledge, they think it is an easily attainable and
therefore cheap-to-pass-on commodity; people like that deserve cowboys.
Hellraiser? CSS Hellraiser?
I recognise the email - ello matey :) So far you're the 2nd CSS lurker
I've found in 'ere, the ineffable Mr. Cowley being the other one. I
won't ask about all the current trolling and stuff going on 'cos I'm
sure Weetomuncher is behind most of it, but hey ho.
Yep, that's me - CSS is rapidly becoming tiresome so I only have a quick
glance now and again - it's a shame, cos it used to be fun to read, now it's
just flamewars and all those "my system is better than yours" arguments that
I used to have when I was 12 :(
Did you sort yourself another job? Last time we spoke I recall you'd been
'Tis a shame, aye. I think I only have a quick sken once a month if
that; me and fuzzbucket have another online home now - www.b3ta.com.
Much more enjoyable than CSS and we seem to be a lot more creative in
dealing with trolls :) It has a sidecar-stylee chat area at
Nope :( Quite a few have come up but they've been in lodnon or
warrington so I'm now Mr DIY for the missus....heh....she pays me too!
Best duck out of here before I get shouted at for being OT :o)
I'd say so: they're likeliest to tell you either to get an electrician
yourself, or offer you one of "theirs", who will most likely be
competent, relatively local, and earning somewhat under half of what
you pay Western Power for his time. I'd prefer to go direct and find
someone local who'll be around next time you have a need...
Good luck. I recently spent about a week trying to track down an
intermittent fault that was tripping an RCD at unpredictable intervals. It
didn't help that I was not familiar with the wiring and that none of the c30
circuits on the board were marked. It was fairly simple to isolate which
circuit was causing the problem, but finding out the fault was another
In the end it proved to be a plumbing fault. A pipe had blown off the top of
the pump from the well and the RCD tripped when it pumped out enough water
to fill the pump house up to the level of the lowest electrical connection.
As the time taken to do that varied according to how long the circuit had
been switched off, it could take anything from a few minutes to about an
hour to trip. I had not considered looking at the well, as all the taps were
working and I had (evidently wrongly) been told that only the supply to the
kitchen was on mains water. If it had been dry I might have tried to water
the garden, when I would have noticed a lack of water.
On Wed, 08 Oct 2003 19:11:53 GMT, email@example.com (maddening)
An update on this for those who are interested .......
We called out an electrician and took him to the barn where the meter
is located. The cables there are in somewhat of a mess, kind of
'draped' on the walls, rusty, decomposing fuse box, etc.
Anyhow, he picked up the wires (remember, they are looped and hanging
in garlands from the wall!) and the neutral literally fell out of the
meter! Power went off too (understandably).
The ends of the neutral (remember, this cable is about half an inch
thick, multi-cored) were not only charred but also partly welded
together, so given the ease with which it fell out it's no wonder that
we had power problems!
Western Power were called out and made everything good, but we're now
going to invest in some re-wiring in that area given the awful state
that it's currently in.
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