European Legislation restricting the size of energisers.

The European union is shortly passing legislation that energisers may not exceed 5 Joule output rating. This has been done on safety grounds and that the larger units simply are not required within the EU. A 5 Joule energiser can power up to about  130klm of wire and very few - if any- situations in Europe require that sort of energy.

The safety comes from the mathematical equation that determines the Joule rating. This is a simple formula of Voltage x Amperage x Pulse length. Therefore a 5 joule energiser would have a sort of configuration like;-

  • Voltage = 6000v
  • Pulse Length = 1/300th of a second
  • Amperage = 250 milli amps

In order to build an energiser that will release 25 Joules onto a fence some pretty clever technology has to be devised in order to be able to SAFELY achieve this. As any of the parameters are increased so the safety of the fence is decreased;-

  • Increase the voltage and the spark becomes larger, better able to jump a larger distance and burn a recipient. The highest an energiser may run and is regarded as safe is about 16000volts.
  • Increase the pulse length then the body is subjected to the shock for a longer period and the possibility of the "grabbing effect" of electricity coming into play.
  • Increase the amperage and you are encroaching into the areas where a heart will be affected. It is generally accepted that 500 milliamps is the highest this may be taken.

Unfortunately the big New Zealand manufacturers see this as a trade barrier and have referred it to the World Trade Organisation.

“The French delegation was effectively trying to impose a non-tariff trade barrier by proposing a new standard drastically reducing permitted power levels. They said this was for safety reasons but our view – which was backed by the majority of countries present - is that it was a commercial issue.

“They were trying to bar New Zealand 's very successful electric fencing products from being marketed worldwide other than with a very low power output.”

It is true that these large energisers have been on the market for years and have not resulted in deaths, they are used in wide open spaces with little population pressure - very different to the European situation. In addition to that the New Zealand companies already compete in the European market with smaller energy energisers so their business model is not affected.

3 thoughts on “European Legislation restricting the size of energisers.”

  • Electric Fence Specialist
    Electric Fence Specialist February 11, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I don't agree with this new standard. This new “safety standard” is a great step backwards and would deny farmers the use of a most beneficial tool, especially when it came to unsubsidised animal agriculture.

    It has been proven that a five joule output energizer will not stop difficult wild animals like "wild pig" over a long electric fencing distances. Realistically speaking a 5 joule energizer has not got the capability to power long distances of electric fencing maintain good voltage and energy. They surely will not and can not power through vegetation and grass like the 15-36 joule output energizers and maintain effective stock and wild animal control.

    Larger energizers also have an excellent safety track record and in most cases, because of the intelligent power transfer to the electric fence as load increases, is safer than smaller non intelligent energizers.

    The New Zealand manufacturers have perfected this intelligence in their larger output energizers and for the (according to my research) record no causes of death has ever been reported in Europe or any where else in the world!

    Its my opinion that this whole "safety issue" is a smoke screen and that French delegation is now greatly benefitting by this "drastically reduced power level"!

    Reply
    • admin

      Please note that these restrictions pertain to Europe alone and NOT South Africa. What you do in your country is entirely up to you. Sales of high energy energisers in Europe has been minuscule anyway and there is nothing to stop New Zealand manufacturers continuing to compete with lower energy energiser AS THEY HAVE BEEN FOR YEARS.

      As an African with 20 years of experience I am able to assure you that a 5 joule energiser is quite capable of stopping a wild pig (or wild boar) but obviously not over long distances. Long distance fencing is NOT required in Europe unlike South Africa or Australia.

      It has been clinically proven that a shock of 500milliamps will have a serious effect on a person fitted with a pacemaker. The population pressure in Europe is far greater than elsewhere in the world and the percentage of the population with these devices fitted is also greater. The odds of a person being affected is consequently greater than in other parts of the world. Unlike the rest of the world, the general population are entitled to wander over private land and are likely to come into contact with electric fencing.

      For your information there have been two fatalities caused by high energy electric fences. Both were in Australia and admittedly both also involved alcohol.

      Please advise me of where in Europe you are going to need an energiser that will cover 2-300 miles of fencing?

      There is a model that has a high output joule rating but has the ability to register what is touching the fence and so adjusts the output accordingly. That is the horiSmart range manufactured by Horizont.

      Reply
  • [...] It was for this safety reason that the European Union instituted legislation restricting the size of energisers onto the market to a maximum continuous output of 6 joules. This has been outlined in this plog post. [...]

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