16th Edition (reference only) – NOW superseded by the 17th Edition IEE Regulations.

chapter 5

chapter 6

  5.1 - The earthing principle 5.6 - Protective multiple earthing (PME)
  5.2 - Earthing Systems 5.7 - Earthed concentric wiring
  5.3 - Earth fault loop impedance 5.8 - Other protection methods
5.4 - Protective conductors 5.9 - Residual current devices (RCDs)
5.5 - Earth electrodes

5.10 - Combined functional and protective

5.6.1 - What is protective multiple earthing?

If a continuous metallic earth conductor exists from the star point of the supply transformer to the earthing terminal of the installation, it will run throughout in parallel with the installation neutral, which will be at the same potential. It therefore seems logical that one of these conductors should be removed, with that remaining acting as a combined protective and neutral conductor (PEN). When this is done, we have a TN-C-S installation {5.2.4}. The combined earth and neutral system will apply only to the supply, and not to the installation.

Because of possible dangers with the system which will be explained in the following sub-sections, PME can be installed by the Electricity Supply Company only after the supply system and the installations it feeds have complied with certain requirements. These special needs will be outlined in {5.6.4}.

The great virtue of the PME system is that neutral is bonded to earth so that a phase to earth fault is automatically a phase to neutral fault. The earth-fault loop impedance will then be low, resulting in a high value of fault current which will operate the protective device quickly. It must be stressed that the neutral and earth conductors are kept quite separate within the installation: the main earthing terminal is bonded to the incoming combined earth and neutral conductor by the Electricity Supply Company. The difficulty of ensuring that bonding requirements are met on construction sites means that PME supplies must not be used. Electricity Supply Regulations forbid the use of PME supplies to feed caravans and caravan sites.


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Extracted from The Electricians Guide Fifth Edition
by John Whitfield

Published by EPA Press Click Here to order your Copy.

Click here for list of abbreviations