Video- Fake Cable Entering The UK

by Steve on October 15, 2011

Sub-standard or ‘fake’ cable is becoming a growing problem in the UK.  This article and the following BBC Fake Britain video, highlight the vast amount of ‘dodgy’ cable now entering Britain.




Defective-Fake SWA Cable



The UK’s high electrical safety standards are being compromised by cable that is not manufactured to the standards it claims.  It appears that millions of meters of sub-standard, non British Standard (non BASEC) cable is flooding onto the market and in only 9 months 20 million meters of suspect cable was removed from the supply chain.

Problems for Electricians

According to BBC’s Fake Britain programme the problem is huge with 1 in 5 electrical cables in the UK being sub-standard or fake.  This can cause serious problems for electricians where seemingly good installations fail electrical tests due to faulty insulation or high resistance conductors.

Less Copper

The rising price of copper has made it very lucrative to produce counterfeit cables. Fake cables often contain a reduced copper content which affects the resistance of the conductors and can cause overheating when in service.

Fake Fire Rated Cables

20% of all fires are electrical related and a large proportion of this is down to faulty wiring or cables.

Serious problems can arise where fake fire performance cables are installed in emergency lighting or fire alarm systems. The performance of these cables is critical to maintain the safety systems in emergencies and their failure can easily make an installation dangerous and cost lives.

The video (below) highlights the problems of fake cables and also demonstrates fire testing. A fake fire rated cable that is supposed to stay intact for 3 hours is tested and found to only last for a few minutes.

The Approved Cables Initiative

The Approved Cables Initiative (ACI) has been set up to tackle the problem.

Last month the ACI revealed that defective cable had been found on sale in two major DIY Chain stores and in both instances the product was withdrawn once the issue was brought to the company’s attention. The distributor that supplied the cable did not put a general public product recall into effect and therefore the public still remains unaware of the issue.

Practical Solutions

Despite highlighting the problem the fake cable situation doesn’t look good.  There still seems to be a long way to go before all dodgy cable is removed and stopped from enteringf the UK.  A practical solution for electricians and installers is to always use a reputable cable supplier and ask about the source of the cable. Stick to a brand that you can trust and always check for the BASEC cable mark (although this could be forged!). It’s good practice to always test cable before you install it. This can be a bit of a pain but at least you’ll know of any problems at the 1st fix stage and it could save you a lot of problems later on.

Don’t buy cheap cable. You may regret it!

More info about BASEC Cables
My Local Electrician- Defective Cable


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