A distribution board or distribution panel (DP) is an important part of an electricity supply system. Its job is to split an incoming electrical power feed into multiple secondary or subsidiary circuits.
Most of the time, each of these secondary circuits will be protected with a fuse or breaker. In the UK, distribution boards like this are often referred to as consumer units in domestic properties.
The terms consumer unit and distribution board are not completely interchangeable. However, for most practical uses, they tend to mean the same thing. Distribution boards might also be called panelboards, breaker panels, or simply electrical panels.
A distribution board or breaker panel separates incoming mains power into various sub-circuits. Usually, all the fuses, breakers and other circuit protection devices for these secondary circuits will be held within the same single enclosure. However, not all distribution boards are necessarily enclosed; some are only semi-enclosed, while others are kept open.
Most workplaces rely on an electricity distribution board to divide and route a single source of outside power to multiple smaller circuits around the building. In many of these settings, the boards will be enclosed for safety. This enclosure is often referred to as a fuse box.