is generally one of the first things you want to get
working in a squat
. If you are lucky you can walk in and switch a
on. If this doesn't happen, don't despair it is often a fairly
simple job to get it working again.
First of all you will need to locate the fuse box the meter and the
company head, in that order. Often they are located in the
basement or by the front door and are normally close together,
though in more modern houses the meter and company head which are
always next to each other) are located in a box on an outside wall.
- Fuse box(called secondary fuse box above). Modern types of fuse boxes have a set of trip
switches for each of the individual circuits in the building and
one big red switch. Switch this one on, then check the individual
trip switches (they are normally either on/off switches or have pop
out buttons that need to be pushed in). With luck this is all you will
need to do. N.B. If a trip-switch trips this means you've got got a
problem (i.e. a short circuit)some-where in the building - don't ignore
it. If the big red switch trips you've got a big problem. This could
be caused by anything from a dodgy appliance to water leaking in and
getting in to a circuit. If you are lucky the circuits will be
labelled otherwise you will have to figure it out yourself. There
will normally be two circuits per floor - one for the
electricsockets the other for lights. In addition there will be a
circuit for an electric cooker There maybe additional circuits for
the freezer, heating etc. Is is beyond the scope of this node to
tell you how to fix things.
Older fuse boxes are like the newer types except that they have
plug in ceramic fuse holders instead of trip switches. Note that
ceramic bit refers to the inside, the outside will be black plastic
or metal with colour coded spots on them (this refers to the
amperage of fuse wire inside. Pull these out one by one and check
the fuses - replace the wire if blown. Evil landlords sometimes
sometimes remove these but they are easy enough to scavenge of
failing that you can buy them at an electrical suppliers. Its wise to
build up a stock of them if you can, as removal is quite common.
These type of fuse boxes also have a big red switch (though its
not always red] that you have to switch on.
- Electric Meter If this is the key meter type you probably
need to go and get the key charged up - but check the company head
first. (you already checked the fuse box right?). If its the
ordinary sort you should take a meter reading because if the cop turns
up (see dealing with the police) they may try
and use Abstracting Electricity (i.e. stealing it) as an excuse to nick
you. Proving intention to pay is a defence in court.
- Company Head(called primary fuse box in FelonyMPulse's
write-up.) This is the main fuse contained in a plug in
unit that sits in front of
the meter and has a lead seal on it. If you are unlucky it has been removed by the
landlord or by the Electric Company (its a standard way of disconnecting
people. ) Landlords will generally remove the whole unit, electric
companies tend to take the fuse out and put another seal on. You can't
buy these fuses for love nor money, they only thing you can do is
try to scavenge one from a derelict building.
By now, you hopefully have a working electric supply (if you don't
you can sometimes get around it by running extension leads from a
). The next thing to consider is legal or not?
(Advisory Service for Squatters) recommends legal and I would
too as you could be cut-off or charged with Abstracting
Electricity. Also some dodgy councils use this as an excuse for
evicting you without going to court (Hackney
Council cleared thousands of squats this way in
the early 90's after the local courts stopped issuing eviction
s as the council was so bad at housing people) If you decide to
go the illegal route see the write-up above. If
you decide to go legal read on!.
Take you meter reading to the local Electricity Board showroom and ask
to sign up for an account. If you live in an area with lots of
squatting try and go to a different area and tell them you had to go
there because you are working. Ask for the forms and fill them
out. DON'T tell them you are squatting tell them you live in a
short-life housing co-operative instead (make up a name on the
form.) You should request a key meter as they are much more likely to
connect you, because they know they are going to get their money. They
may ask for an up to date account at a previous address (another key
meter at a previous squat should be OK. ) or alternatively as Tenancy
Agreement (you could try telling them you don't have one only a license
agreement) though hopefully if you ask for a key meter they won't be
too fussy. Note however they have no obligation to supply you and in
some areas are becoming increasingly reluctant to do so.