World's worst wiring: the top three most shocking electrical installations

E&T readers and IET members were asked to find the most dangerous wiring on the planet. India, Pakistan and Vietnam provided the most cases, with more than the odd dishonourable mention for France.

One of the UK’s most successful contributions to standards has been our wiring and electrical regulations with the IET’s predecessor– the Society of Telegraph Engineers – first publishing ‘Rules and Regulations for the Prevention of Fire Risks Arising from Electrical Lighting‘ way back in 1882.

But are wiring standards as strictly adhered to around the globe?

E&T magazine decided to investigate and asked its 138,000 engineer readers to find the worst and most dangerous examples of electrical wiring from around the world.

The serious message from the competition was to prove just how far installations can veer from the safe and sensible if standards are not adhered to.

More than 500 examples of truly hair-raising wiring were submitted and E&T readers were asked to use their expert opinion to vote for the worst from a shortlist of 12 particularly bad examples.

Outright winner with more than 50 per cent of the votes was from an office block in Madras (below). A metered mains supply for the building had been ‘hacked’ by multiple bare, unterminated wires - possibly from tenants attempting to bypass the meter. All were loosely hung from a wooden board already bearing the scars of a previous fire. Sometimes you really do need to heed the warnings!


Commenting on the photo's submitted, E&T features editor Vitali Vitaliev said: “The wiring regulations have kept generations in the UK safe from fires and electrocution and hopefully no professional electrician here would work without them. Unfortunately, that message doesn’t reach all corners of the world and some of the dangerous wiring examples our readers have found are truly terrifying.”

Second place in the vote went to a hotel in the Maldives (below), where showering might literally be described as a shocking experience! Based in a hotel obviously suffering serious space constraints, the system’s installation requires three-pin plugs and the mains supply to be mounted inside the shower – with not one but two opportunities for electrocution thrown in for good measure.


Third place was awarded to a street installation from Hanoi, Vietnam (below) with a collection of telecom, lighting and possibly mains cables – exact details being impossible to tell as all of the cables are a shade of black. Fingers crossed for customers asking for support with wiring emergencies! 


E&T's readers also found that it’s not just Asia that has a blasé attitude to wiring and safety, with two of the top 12 examples located in France, including one in the normally visually perfect enclave of St Tropez. Clearly, even in ST Tropez it pays to hire a professional – or hope holidaymakers don't look at the back of their holiday villa!

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