I had a bulb light outlet, and I decided to convert it to power outlet. Now when I took the bulb light off, I discovered that there is only two wires in the wall, brown and yellow green, so I assume it's "line" and "ground"... no neutral. Now when I connected it to power outlet, it didn't work... until I took the yellow-green wire and connected it to where the neutral wire is supposed to go, and now the outlet started to work... I was able to connect electric appliances to it.

So... is it normal that use "ground" wire as "neutral"? Is it dangerous?

I'm in Europe. Thank you.

  • In what country are you located? Did the bulb socket appear to be a professional installation, or a hack job?
    – longneck
    Jan 7, 2020 at 16:33
  • yellow/green in-wall wires are common to UK wiring. Is that where you are?
    – Machavity
    Jan 7, 2020 at 16:38
  • 2
    Does this answer your question? Dangers of connecting ground to neutral?
    – Machavity
    Jan 7, 2020 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


This is a wiring hack job. Someone had a problem with the proper neutral wire, but they were aware that the safety grounding system has an equipotential bond with the neutral in the panel, so they are returning current on that instead. Very dangerous; any problem in the grounding electrode system could result in all the safety grounds in your house being energized with the return current from that bulb! Of course this arrangement would trip a whole-house RCD or GFCI.

Alternately, the neutral wire went dead on them, so they switched both ends, so the yellow/green wire is now the neutral wire, and there's no safety ground at all. While less unsafe, this is still bad, since Europe is really into making the safety ground wire smaller than the conductors.


Someone used the wrong color wire , I think your standard is blue brown and green with a yellow stripe. This was the standard for the equipment my last company built for the U.K. if memory serves your standard color codes have changed over the years but for more than 50 years green has been exclusive to grounding not grounded or neutral.

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