Talk:Electricity Basics

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230v or 240v, FAQ material

IS THE UK ON 240V OR 230V?

By Andrew Gabriel] & Matthew Marks 30/9/1998

Traditionally, the UK has had a 240V ( /-6%) electrical supply since the 1960s, when the various local supply voltages (ranging from 200V to 250V) were all brought into line with each other. Continental Europe had a 220V, and Ireland a 230V, supply.

As part of European harmonisation effort to ensure electrical appliances manufactured for use in the EU can be used in any of the countries, a common nominal voltage for the whole EU has been set at 230V. The transition is a two stage process:

* On 1 Jan 1995: UK became 230V 10% -6%, and Continental Europe became 230V 6% -10%;

* On 1 Jan 2003: the whole EU becomes 230V /-10%.

For most consumers, their measured mains voltage has and will not actually change, because it already falls into these ranges: this was intentional.

The transitions shift the burden of responsibility from the electricity suppliers to the appliance manufacturers, to increase the tolerance to supply variation of their products. However, they will benefit by only needing to supply one model (apart from the type of plug fitted, but that is another story!) for all countries. Generally speaking, modern technology allows devices to remain affordable while being more tolerant to supply variations anyway. The heavy engineering of electricity supply is less amenable to tightening up on performance.

So, you may well still find that your supply is 240V, but it is now magically 230V compatible!

How safe is electricity?

I believe that I have read, possibly in a U.S. source, that the chief cause of fatalities in the electricity supply business is solar panel installers falling off the roof. If verified, and especially if applicable to the U.K., that might be worth adding somewhere. John Stockton (talk) 13:49, 19 October 2015 (BST)