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Thread: Municipal Earthing - Regulatory Guide

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    Question Municipal Earthing - Regulatory Guide

    Hi all,

    First time poster here needing some assistance with regards to municipal earthing requirements / by-laws and regulations in place.

    Some context:
    I live in the Germiston area and bought a home a few years ago. The home is relatively old. I would guess less than 20 years old.
    When I purchased the home I received a COC as is required. I had a second contractor validate the COC and go through the home independantly, all was clear and according to regulation. Nonetheless, I was electricuted as a result of incorrect wiring of my gate motor. Told the electrician I would report him to the electrical compliance board if he didn't rectify the issue. Over time a few of these calls were made to the issuing electrician.

    Over the past few years I have been hit by lightning every time there is a lightning storm. I have claimed from my insurer multiple times. After my last claim I received a letter from my insurer stating that I'm a high risk customer and that if any further claims are made to my household cover an excess of R 10 000 will be required. The insurer also advised that I get my property evaluated by an electrician and or to install lightning protection.

    Subsequently I managed to get a third electrician out to the property who within minutes identified that I have no municipal earthing. I was given a specific form to complete and submitted this to the Germiston municipality. As fortunate as I am, I was struck again and a fair amount of damage was done once more, all during the time that my request to the municipality was in progress (regardless to say that the municipality closed the case due to gross incompetence and not even sending an engineer to my home to evaluate the case). I digress....

    I would assume that the electrical supply company would be required by law to ensure that all homes are municipal earthed given that there is a risk of electrical shock due to insufficient earthing?

    Anyway, what do I need help with?
    1. Who can I hold liable here? The COC issuing electrician or the municipality?
    2. What regulations cover municipality earthing if any?
    3. Can I claim damages in this case?
    4. Am i chasing my own tail here trying to hold someone liable here?


    This issue is really starting to affect me so much so that I want to sell the home I have come to love but I really don't believe that is the solution. I want to prove to my insurer that I have taken all reasonable actions to remedy this situation in hopes that my excess and premium costs would go down. Over and above the previous statement I want to be 100% sure that this doesn't and can't lead to serious injury if electrocuted accidentally.

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    Can I claim damages in this case?
    I found this in the EKURHULENI*METROPOLITAN*MUNICIPALITY*ELECTRICITY*B Y*LAWS 2008 HERE
    The Council shall not be liable for*any loss or*damage, direct or*consequentially*suffered or*sustained by*a consumer*as a result of or*arising from the cessation, interruption or*discontinuation of the supply of electricity, unless caused by*negligence on the part of the Council.
    And here:
    Irregular supply:
    The Council shall not be liable for*the consequences to the consumer*or any*other person of stoppage, failure, variation, surge or*other*deficiency*of electricity*from whatsoever*cause, provided that compliance with the Electricity Act is maintained.

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    Do you have any idea as to how and when the municipal earth was lost?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Do you have any idea as to how and when the municipal earth was lost?
    Not at all unfortunately. It does seem like it has never been installed whatsoever.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    If the original CoC was issued by one electrician and validated by another it's highly unlikely both electricians missed the fact there was no main earth. I'd assume, as Dave suggests, it was lost at some stage.

    What earthing arrangement was the installation stated as having on the CoC? Do you know what earthing arrangement the supply authority actually provided before it went missing? There are some earthing arrangements that are the sole responsibility of the property owner such as 'TT earthing'.
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    Its not unusual for the the municiple earth to 'go missing'. Of the last 6 domestic rewires we have done - 3 had no incoming earth. Part the reason is the electricians who are sent out by the municipality have nothing more than a multimeter from cash converters and a few screw drivers. They always test between live and earth with a multimeter. When you bring out a loop tester they generally don't know what it is. If the multi meter says 230volts between live and earth they thibk thats fine.

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    Hi everyone,

    Apologies for the belated response, needed to go through all the documentation to list what I have.

    @AndyD
    If the original CoC was issued by one electrician and validated by another it's highly unlikely both electricians missed the fact there was no main earth. I'd assume, as Dave suggests, it was lost at some stage.
    I still have no idea how it could go "lost" surely earthing is a permanently fixed cable which needs to go to the DB board? I'm not an electrician so please excuse my ignorance. Nonetheless, I have also pasted the contents of the report HERE so you can have a look. The inspecting electrician did indeed not even pick that up either, I also do not recall providing the issued CoC to the second electrician so the likelihood is that he could have missed this plausible.

    What earthing arrangement was the installation stated as having on the CoC?
    No explicit earthing arrangement was even marked on the CoC, See screenshot 1 for reference.

    Some pics of my DB board, if this helps?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by grootoog View Post
    I still have no idea how it could go "lost" surely earthing is a permanently fixed cable which needs to go to the DB board?
    ... and all the way back to the neutral point of the mains supply transformer. The causes normally are cable theft, cable damage, tampering and/or corrosion (in no particular order).

    On that COC section 2 you've posted - it's incomplete (and that's putting it mildly).
    I'm also highly suspicious of the PSCC reading supplied. Either the issuer doesn't know what they're doing or they don't have the correct equipment to carry out the test. (Or both).
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    That CoC in the screenshot is appalling, at a glance there's at least 8 omissions on that page. Whoever issued it was half hearted to say the least so I'd also take any info given with a large pinch of salt.

    I'm also a bit confused looking at the third photo, it looks like it might be a TN S supply that's simply not got the earth connected but it's a bit difficult to tell from the photo. Also not sure what that blue MOV looking device is there for either, I hope that's not someone's idea of lightning protection......
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    The COC is unacceptable. I would assume that the PSCC is the fault rating that has been taken from the switchgear rather than a calculated or measured reading of the installation. The main switch is a disconnector and not earth leakage disconnector as stated on the COC. It would also appear that the incoming mains is connected to the load side of the isolator. I am not sure whether CBI allows this on their switchgear but if they do I assume there is no labelling to this effect on the DB.

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