Are you in for a shock?

Upon visiting a property in Eltham recently to install 4 new designer lights for a customer, I was faced with an issue that isn’t uncommon, the lighting circuits within the property dated back to pre 1966 and didn’t have provision for an Earth connection (CPC as it is referred to within the electrical regulations). This isn’t restricted to Eltham, I have also encountered this issue when visiting properties in Sidcup, Plumstead, Swanley & Lee Green also.

If you have a property with no Earth (CPC – circuit protective conductor) in your lighting circuit(s) then it is a sign of an older installation that has likely not undergone any change or any change from an Electrician, for many years, this issue could still exist even if you have a newer consumer unit/fuse board installed.

How can you spot if you have no CPC in your lighting circuit?

  1. When changing a fitting or switch, only 2 core cable is fitted
  2. Historic round Bakelite switches
  3. Only two core cable connected inside the consumer unit (although I would strongly advise you to not remove the cover and access the inside of your consumer unit)
  4. Twisted pair rubber wire at light fitting

Even the presence of modern Twin & Earth at a switch or light fitting does not guarantee the whole circuit has a CPC, since it may have been used to extend the circuit the past.

Ideally the best solution would be to get the Circuits in question rewired & if the rest of the installation is of the same era, it may be prudent to have an Electrical inspection (EICR) carried out also.

The cost and upheaval of rewiring may not always be practical, so below we discuss what it means and the options available.



The cheap “quick fix” way would be to remove any Class 1 (metallic) light fittings/switches from the circuit and replace them with fittings which are Class 2 (insulated, usually plastic but some metal fittings qualify if they have this symbol –  printed inside them), with Class 2 fittings installed, you would then have a warning label attached on/near your consumer unit and any further additions to the circuit would be prohibited.


You can have a seperate 4mm CPC cable installed to each point of the circuit, this would require you to access each point on the circuit with no CPC present, this way is usually ignored in favour of a rewire of the circuit.


Rewire the circuit(s). This would be the advisable way to deal with the situation if costs allow, this would mean the circuit would be brought up to current regulations set out in BS7671, this would also allow any class 1 fittings to be installed and would also be a good chance to review the lighting layout and install any additional lighting points you may require.


Registered, local Electrician in Eltham, Sidcup, Swanley, Plumstead & surrounding areas

If you would like advice or a quote for any electrical requirements at your home in Eltham, Lee Green, Swanley, Greenwich Plumstead, Sidcup or surrounding areas then please contact your Local Eelctrician Billy from Toca Electrical Services Ltd on 020 8819 1481 or visit our contact page to arrange a survey visit to your property.