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The Electricity Supply Regulations 1988

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3.—(1) In these Regulations, unless the context otherwise requires—

“apparatus” means any plant, equipment, apparatus and appliances used for the purposes of generating, transmitting and distributing energy, and electric lines, fittings, apparatus and appliances designed for use by consumers of energy for lighting, heating, motive power and other purposes for which energy can be used;

“bonding conductor” means a conductor providing equipotential bonding;

“circuit protective conductor” means a conductor used for protection against electric shock which connects the exposed conductive parts of apparatus with earth but does not include any conductor which is used as a neutral conductor;

“conductor” means an electrical conductor arranged to be electrically connected to a system but does not include conductors used or intended to be used solely for the purposes of control or regulation of supply or for communication;

“connected with earth” means connected with earth in such manner as will at all times provide a rapid and safe discharge of energy, and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly;

“consumer” means any person supplied or entitled to be supplied by a supplier but shall not include—


an Electricity Board (other than in regulation 32); or


in regulations 25, 27, 28 and 29, any body authorised by any enactment to carry goods and passengers by railway in respect of any supply to meet its haulage or traction requirements;

“consumer’s installation” means the electric lines situated upon the consumer’s side of the supply terminals together with any apparatus permanently connected or intended to be permanently connected thereto;

“danger” includes danger to health or danger to life or limb from shock, burn, injury or mechanical movement to persons, livestock or domestic animals, or from fire attendant upon the generation, transformation, supply or use of energy;

“distributing main” means any electric line through which energy may be supplied or is intended to be supplied by a supplier directly to only one consumer or indirectly to more than one consumer but does not include a service line;

“earth” means the general mass of the earth;

“earth electrode” means a conductor or group of conductors in intimate contact with and providing a connection with earth;

“earthing terminal” means a terminal directly connected to the supply neutral conductor at the supplier’s fusible cut-out, or automatic switching device nearest to the supply terminals;

“electric line” means a wire, conductor, or other means used or intended to be used for the purpose of conveying, transmitting or distributing energy (including to earth) and any casing, coating, covering, tube, pipe, or insulator enclosing, surrounding, or supporting that line, or any part thereof, and for the purposes of regulations 12 to 16 (inclusive) includes any apparatus connected therewith for the purpose of conveying, transmitting or distributing energy;

“Electricity Board” means an Area Board as defined in the Electricity Act 1947, the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board or the South of Scotland Electricity Board or the Central Electricity Generating Board;

“energy” means electrical energy;

“generating station” means those parts of any premises which are principally used for the purposes of generating energy;

“high voltage” means any voltage exceeding low voltage;

Institution of Electrical Engineers Regulations” means the 15th edition of the Regulations for Electrical Installations published by the Institution of Electrical Engineers with amendments published on 1st January 1983, 1st May 1984, 1st January 1985, 1st January 1986 and 12th June 1987;

“insulation” means non-conducting material enclosing, surrounding or supporting a conductor or any part thereof and of such quality and thickness as to be suitable for the purposes of the regulation in which the term is used, and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly;

“low voltage” means—


in relation to alternating current, a voltage exceeding 50 volts but not exceeding 1000 volts, in each case measured between the phase conductors taking the square root of the mean of the squares of the instantaneous values of a voltage during a complete cycle; and


in relation to direct current, a voltage exceeding 120 volts but not exceeding 1500 volts,

with any variations of voltage allowed by these Regulations;

“metalwork” does not include any electric line or conductor used for earthing purposes;

“neutral conductor” means a conductor which is, or is intended to be, connected to the neutral point of a system and intended to contribute to the transmission of energy;

“overhead line” means any electric line which is placed above ground and in the open air;

“phase conductor” means a conductor of a system for the transmission of energy other than a neutral conductor or conductor used for earthing purposes;

“resistance area” means the surface area of ground around an earth electrode on which a significant voltage gradient may exist;

“safety sign” means a sign having the symbol and text and of the design, colours and proportions specified in Schedule 1;

“service line” means an electric line through which energy may be supplied by a supplier from a distributing main but does not include a line directly from the premises of the supplier;

“substation” means any premises or enclosed part thereof which contain apparatus for either transforming or converting energy to or from high voltage (other than transforming or converting solely for the operation of switching devices or instruments) or for switching, controlling or regulating the energy at high voltage and which are large enough to admit the entrance of a person after the apparatus is in position, and includes the apparatus therein;

“supplier” means a person who supplies, and, where electric lines and apparatus used for that purpose are owned otherwise than by the person generating the supply, shall include the owner of those electric lines and apparatus;

“supplier’s works” means electric lines, supports and apparatus of or under the control of a supplier used for the purposes of supply, and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly;

“supply” means supply with or of energy to premises other than those on which it was generated, and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly;

“supply neutral conductor” means the neutral conductor of a low voltage system which is or is intended to be connected with earth, but does not include any part of the neutral conductor on the consumer’s side of the supply terminals;

“supply terminals” means the ends of the electric lines situated upon any consumer’s premises at which the supply is delivered and, unless otherwise agreed in writing, where a meter is employed to register the value of the supply and is directly connected to those lines, means the terminals of that meter furthest from the installation of the owner of that meter;

“support” includes stays and struts, but does not include insulators, their fittings or any building or structure the principal purpose of which is not the support of electric lines or apparatus;

“switching device” includes any device which can either make or break a current, or both;

“system” means an individual electrical system in which all the conductors and apparatus are electrically connected to one or more sources of voltage, and includes all those conductors and apparatus.

(2) Unless the context otherwise requires, any reference in these Regulations to a numbered regulation or Schedule is a reference to the regulation in or the Schedule to these Regulations bearing that number; and any reference in a regulation or Schedule to a numbered paragraph is a reference to the paragraph of that regulation or Schedule bearing that number.

(3) Words and expressions to which meanings are assigned by these Regulations shall (unless the contrary intention appears) have the same respective meanings in any document issued by the Secretary of State under these Regulations.

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