Can an electrician change meter tails?

Of course, meter tails can be changed and upgraded by electricians. However, only your electricity provider may connect the meter tails to your meter and the cut-out/service head, so only electricians from their own manufacturers can do this work. These wires link your meter to the consumer unit.

When an electrician changes meter tails?

Because when you open a cut-out, you may expose live parts, parts that you have no way of making dead, and parts that you are not likely to be trained to operate near or appropriately shroud. At that time, electricians who have enough equipment and experience for live working will be needed.

Electrical Safety First has been increasing awareness of some of the potential safety hazards associated with the installation of smart power meters.

We think that the tightness of meter tail connections within a consumer unit should be periodically tested as part of the smart meter installation procedure, which is presently not done by energy providers or meter operators.

When removing the old meter and installing the smart meter, the meter tails to the consumer unit may be disturbed, causing the connections within the consumer unit to become loosened. This might result in the meter tails pulling away from their connection, posing a risk of electric shock or a loss of supply, or in the formation of a high resistance connection, which could raise the risk of fire.

Evidence from an East Sussex Fire and Rescue Services report, as well as other recorded fire occurrences, reveals that many fires occur within the consumer unit, some of which are caused by a high resistance connection.

How to install meter tails to consumer units?

When replacing a consumer unit, the original meter tails are generally kept unless they are judged inappropriate and must be replaced. Typically, the cable installation technique and unit placement are swapped like for like.

However, for new construction, the position of the consumer unit is defined by the housebuilder on-site plans, which might provide difficulties for the electrical contractor unless the consumer unit is installed precisely behind the meter cabinet.

Duplication errors

New construction developments are made up of many home kinds, with numerous similar plots in each house type. Buyers may occasionally request something different, which is referred to as a site variant.

Because the specifications for all houses of a particular kind will be the same, it is feasible that they will be connected similarly to one other. The issue with duplication of work is that if a design fault results in a non-compliance in one plot, the error is likely to be reproduced in all plots.

Distribution network operator/Supplier requirements

The maximum meter tail length permissible will be specified by the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) or Supplier. This length is frequently stated as three metres. 

Some DNOs demand shorter durations, so keep that in mind. The length from the meter to the client equipment is limited to two metres by London South UK Power Networks. If the distance between the meter and the consumer unit is more than two metres, they ask the developer to provide and install an intermediate switch fuse.

They further say that meter tails must not be put or run within a building’s hollow wall unless they travel straight through the wall. Meter cabinets are often situated outside, although this is not always the case, since they can be located elsewhere, such as in a garage. The DNO or supplier will additionally provide meter cabinet requirements.

Potentially dangerous installations

The meter tails entered the wall from the meter cabinet and were clipped straight to the wall with no further mechanical protection. Because the wires were in the zone directly below the consumer unit, it is thought that the electrical contractors engaged were under the idea that it conformed with the requirements.


These are generally earthed metallic and can be trunking or conduit, steel wire armoured (SWA), or mechanical protection that prevents nail and screw penetration. 

If the meter tails are to be put in a wall and comply with the requirements, they must be deeper than 50 mm or you should utilize an earthed metallic wire system. However, this raises another difficulty in terms of the depth of the wall pursuit.

Approved Document A (ADA) – According to the ADA, chases should not be placed in such a way that they compromise the wall’s stability, especially when hollow blocks are utilized. As a result of the size of these conductors, it would be difficult to fulfill the requirements of the building codes for wall chases.

What is the cost of an electricity meter tail upgrade?

If you want to add an EV charger, underfloor heating, or anything else that consumes more energy in your house, you may need to upgrade your main electrical fuse. If you do, you may need to update your meter tails as well. These are the cables that connect your meter to the power grid.

The update will set you back about £120. If you have a smart meter put in at the same time, the fee is lowered to £60. Contact the manufacturers to schedule a meter tails upgrade or a combination upgrade and smart meter installation.

In Conclusion

In general, each manufacturer’s power networks handle the cut-out, thus the fuse would be upgraded. Your provider would then take care of everything up to the meter tail, and everything beyond that is up to you, ie your spark. 

If you have your supplier install an isolator, your spark will not have to pull the fuse on the cut-out while he works. You should not be surprised if electricians charged you for the effort of replacing the tails.