• Domestic and Commercial Electricians

Jargon Buster

Learning to speak ‘Electrician’

You know yourself that when you’re in the company of others within your industry it’s easy to identify with common terms & phrases, and possibly forget that others may not be following so precisely.

We’ll strive to be as clear in our explanations and communicate with terminology you’ll understand. But sometimes it’s unavoidable to slip into industry terms.  If you hear anything you don’t understand, just ask – we’d be happy to help explain it (and try to remember not to talk too much tech!).

Here’s a list of some of the common terms and acronyms you’re likely to hear when talking to an electrician:

Consumer unit (or, the good old ‘fusebox’!)

This is what many people refer to as the ‘fusebox’. It contains all the circuitry, fuses, RCD’s etc that distribute power to various points in your house. It’s that plastic box, normally by the front door, outhouse or under the stairs that you’d be searching for when all the power goes in your house to reset the electric switches or RCD’s.

Circuit-breaker or RCD

A Residual Current Device is a safety device that switches off the electricity automatically when it detects an earth fault, providing protection against electric shock. For example, if there’s damage to the circuit wires or you go doing things like putting a knife in a switched on toaster, all the power on this circuit will go and therefore you won’t be allowing all the electricity to be running through you.

They are often placed within the fuse box, however may also be put elsewhere on a wiring circuit. After being activated (i.e. all power switching off) if the fault was temporary the RCD can usually be reset easily by flicking a switch. This is what you’re generally doing when you visit the fuse box in a power cut.

Installation of RCD’s are often a requirement by law.

EV – Electric Vehicle

EVC – Electric Vehicle Charging

EICR – Electrical Installation Condition Report

This is a health check of the electrics in a property, or like an MOT for your car. A report will be written establishing the overall condition of the electrics in the property and state whether it is satisfactory for continued use, identify any hazards and will detail any work that might need to be done. Having one of these done every 10 years should suffice for a homeowner (providing you have not detected any obvious faults).

Landlords of rented properties should have one done every tenant change, as they may not be aware of any interference that could have been made by the occupiers.

PAT – Portable Appliance Testing

All commercial premises are required to have any portable appliance tested and verified yearly. Hence why you’ll see a little sticker on the office kettle and your PC plug. A safety check is carried out to ensure the electrical device will not harm you or catch fire etc. Some people also choose to have devices in their home tested for peace of mind.


NICEIC is the electrical contracting industry’s independent voluntary #jargon-buster for electrical installation matters throughout the UK. They help to increase electrical safety standards, laws and provide the certification of excellence that we have achieved. Further details of NICEIC can be found here www.niceic.com

Part P

This is an electrical safety law, as part (P) of the building regulations act, introduced by the Government on the 1st January 2005. The law requires an electrician registered with a Government-approved scheme, such as NICEIC to carry out most electrical work in the home, and once the work is finished; provide you with Part P approval.

DIY electrics must never be implemented in high-risk locations such as kitchens, bathrooms and gardens. Unless the homeowner is only replacing accessories, the electrical work MUST be undertaken by a registered electrician or notified to building control at your local council.

It is a criminal offence to carry out DIY electrics that do not comply with Building Regulations and can lead to a maximum fine of £5,000.