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Assessment and Testing of Alternative Cut-outs

This project will look at alternative cut-out equipment used by network operators outside the UK and assess the suitability of these as a potential replacement for existing equipment.

Project-on-a-Page summary

Project data

Start date: 01/11/2017
End date: 02/01/2018
Budget: £0.79m

This project aims to decrease the risk of disruptive cut-out failures and associated risks. The timing of this project is significant because of the implications around the smart meter rollout and the fact that regular inspections by meter operators will no longer take place.

This project will look at alternative cut-out equipment used by network operators outside the UK and assess the suitability of these as a potential replacement for existing equipment. The aim is to build on previous projects in this area which showed that there may be some gaps in our knowledge of the wider implications of the smart meter roll-out . It will attempt to achieve this by comparing the new technologies against existing equipment used by GB DNOs under normal operating conditions, but also under any known failure modes.

The project will also consider potential novel arrangements of the currently used cut-out assemblies, as well as practices followed by
utilities outside the UK with the aim of finding possible solutions to identified problems.

Each Low Voltage (LV) customer is connected to the distribution network by fused cut-out equipment normally (but not always) located within the customer’s property or in a meter box. This cut-out equipment belongs to the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) and provides the interface between the DNO and the Meter Operator (MOP). The fuse fitted in the cut-out equipment provides a means of disconnecting the customer’s wiring in the event of a fault occurring on the wiring within the property.

The following learning is expected to be generated through the project:

  • Assess whether there are either alternative cut-outs or novel arrangements and practices currently used by non-GB DNOs that negate the reliability problems GB DNOs are facing with in service cut-outs.
  • Assess if these can be used on GB’s distribution network.
  • Understand the probability of failure for both in service cut-outs and the identified alternative ones. This should influence inspection, maintenance and replacement regimes within each GB DNO.

All learning will be shared with all GB DNOs (four other DNO groups are partners in the project) in the form of reports and recommendations. The aim is to influence inspection related engineering recommendations and standards (such as the BS 7657), so learning will be shared with the industry from the revised standards.


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