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In a normal building an electrician would install a system including a consumer unit with several circuits providing power to lights sockets and other equipment.

However it is not practical to have an electrician wire an event and a normal electrical installation has no protection for the ingress of water.

For this reason purpose built distribution equipment is normally used which can be plugged together to provide an electrical supply to an event. The person with overall control of any entertainment activity (for example, event manager, producer etc) should appoint a ‘person responsible’ who will manage and taking responsibility for the safe use of electricity on that event or production. This ‘person responsible’ should have the knowledge, experience and competence to carry out this duty for the temporary electrical systems of the complexity that will be involved. However depending on the nature of your event and the power required, it may be prudent to have an ECA (Electrical Contractors Association) qualified professional design and install your equipment for you.

Event Generators
Event Electrics

Generally the generators are situated some distance from the marquees (6m to 9m) to reduce noise disturbance in the marquees. For public events it may be necessary to put protective barriers around the generators to prevent the public from getting hurt or disturbing the equipment.

On a large site it would be impractical to have large cables running around the site so many smaller generators are used to provide power to a cluster of nearby marquees or stalls.

 

Several cables can be taken from the generator in different direction. These cables should be protected from damage. It would be good practice to use a flexible armoured cable which will resist damage as well as either using road humps where cars could drive over the cable or bury them underground.

 

Armored
event distro

At the end of the cable you will need a distribution board with an Inlet socket which your supply cable plugs into. It is best to have some form of RCD (Residual Current Device) which will cut the supply if there is any imbalance in the live wire and the neutral conductor. This can help prevent a lethal shock by cutting the power supply. It also should be fitted with MCB’s (circuit braker or trip switch to you and me) These prevent each individual cable from drawing too much power.

 

 

The distribution board normally has a number of sockets on it: one for each circuit. The most common connector is the Cee Form system of plugs and sockets which is officially defined as IEC 60309. They provide a limited IP44 weather proofing which makes them suitable for outside use. They have been colour coded as follows.

  • Yellow 110v
  • Blue 230v
  • Red Three phase
CForm Plugs
16amp

Each colour have several different sizes however by far the most common is the blue 16amp cable often used for motorhome and caravan extension leads.

Using this system larger cables can be used to be connected to different distribution boards, and 16amp cables can be used to distribute power to where it is needed. It is normal to see “Arctic Blue” cable at many events however now the correct specification is HO7 RN-F.  Read more about Cables

There are a number of commercially produced splitters and dividers available. At the end of the cable you can have a 16amp Cee form to a normal 13amp socket. However there are available double floor mounted sockets which have both an in and out 16amp plug which is ideal for providing sockets around an event providing that you don’t overload each cable.

Cee Form Splitter

As part of the requirements under BS7909:2008, all temporary electrical systems over 6 kVA must be certified by a competent person, confirming that the temporary system is safely set up for use.

For small events the equipment could signed off as part of the normal handover procedure. With large events there should be a completion certificate for temporary systems connected to each source of supply. This will need to be completed and handed over to the event manager / producer by the person deemed responsible and placed into the production safety file or similar.