Power problems and how to find a good electrician?

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 the area.
Do I go for an electrician with certain credentials to avoid the cowboys?
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 wiring?
Thanks
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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 location!

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
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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..........>
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On Wed, 8 Oct 2003 21:10:53 +0100, "Hellraiser"

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.
cheers!
witchy/binarydinosaurs
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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 made redundant!
Hellraiser.............>
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On Thu, 9 Oct 2003 09:08:21 +0100, "Hellraiser"

'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 www.4rthur.com too

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)
cheers
witchy/binarydinosaurs
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On 8 Oct 2003 19:38:03 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@hp.com wrote:

It's the latter - the place though is only 13 years old, but it IS an old farm with a few outbuildings.

Sorry, meant to say - near Carmarthen.

Yeah, that sounds likely. So is it not worthwhile even contacting Western Power in the first place, ie cut them out of the loop completely?

sure does, thanks very much. Now to find a good electrician! :)
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Very nice!

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...
Stefek
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...

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 matter.
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.
Colin Bignell
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I've used local electric PoCo as they were less than half the price of local contractors. By 'trip' do you mean an RCD or an MCB ?
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So they *must* be good then :-{

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On Wed, 08 Oct 2003 19:11:53 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.com (maddening) wrote:
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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It didn't really need an electrician then did it! :-)
--
Chris Green ( snipped-for-privacy@x-1.net)

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On 10 Oct 2003 11:48:42 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@isbd.co.uk wrote:

Nope! Isn't hindsight a wonderful thing? :)
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