Identify a neutral fault – it may be life-threatening

Damaged electricity networks may have something called a "neutral fault", which may be life-threatening. Thus, a neutral fault must be taken seriously.

A neutral fault occurs when the electricity network's neutral conductor is broken. In the worst cases, it can increase the voltage from 230 V to 400 V. This voltage surge can damage electrical appliances in the home and may pose a risk of electric shock.

Neutral faults can also be a fire hazard if the electric current tries to find a way out through the building's structures. 

A neutral fault in the electricity network is usually caused by a tree falling on a power line, disconnecting the rope that supports the bundle assembled aerial cables of the low voltage network, known as the PEN conductor, which is a metal cable that supports the phase conductors between poles.

If the neutral fault is located in the electricity network, good earthing will reduce the dangerous touch voltage. If you want to check the earthing system in your building, contact your electricity contractor.

Look out for these signs of a neutral fault
  • Some lights are exceptionally bright or some dimmer than usually. The intensity of light varies, especially when other electrical appliances are turned on or off.
  • Electrical appliances work strangely, light bulbs may burn out
  • Buzzing and cracking can be heard from the switchboard, and you may smell something burning
  • Beware! You can get an electric shock from a device with a metal case
What to do if I suspect a neutral fault?

Contact our fault service using the chat feature on the outage map. Chat is a quick and convenient channel available 24 hours a day.

For safety reasons, you should cut off the electricity by flipping the main power switch before calling

Be careful and use dry leather or rubber gloves or similar when turning off electricity, as the switchboard's metal frame may be live. For safety reasons, only use one hand to open the electric cabinet and touch the main switch. Keep your other hand in your pocket, for example.

If necessary, you can also call us on 0800 195 011 (24 h). Our fault reporting service line may be busy if there is a storm.

Contact us