Reports of broken PEN (protected earth and neutral) conductors increased from 57 in 2003 to 474 reports last year, according to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. As incidents are often not reported, the real figure is likely to be much higher and each incident can affect 50 properties, meaning tens of thousands of properties are likely at risk in the UK.

Broken PEN graph

*not including Northern Ireland

Image credit: The number of reported broken PEN incidents has increased by more than eight times since 2003 *not including Northern Ireland

PEN conductors serve as both a protective earthing and neutral conductor and are used on the PME (TN-C-S) network, which was introduced as an alternative to TN-S and TT in the 1970s. The T stands for terra, Latin for earth.

The PME (protective multiple...