You'll need an electric-power-hookup in order to use the power equipment that subcontractors use as they begin to build your home. This is long before the electrical panel is installed in your home.
The power company wants to keep track of all the electricity you use, so you need a meter box that is attached to a board.
You usually need a temporary power hookup. The first question to answer is
- Are you building in a subdivision?
- Are you building on an undeveloped piece of ground?
If you are building in a subdivision you will NOT NEED much more than a board with a meter box and several plugs on it. The power company will tell you what you need.
The subs have to have somewhere to plug in their equipment to build your house before the electric company hooks up the permanent hook-up. Your electrician can advise you or might even have a temporary hookup board he would loan, or rent to you.
If you haven't called them yet, then now is probably the time to call your power company.
For Undeveloped Ground
If your city or county, demands underground utilities, then you generally need an 8 foot post for the temporary meter to be connected to. We needed 3.5' in the ground and 4.5' above ground however.......
Check with your Electric company's engineer before charging forth. Understand that power companies are notorious for taking their time so don't delay this step.
Our power company told us 3 different things to comply with their electric-power-hookup requirements. One thing was said one time, another time something else, and finally their main electrician came up with a permanent solution, in placement and what kind of post we needed. Eventually when we communicated with the top engineer over new builds (after we had purchased the $250+ materials the Power Company originally had said) we'd need, the engineer did a complete reversal from what we'd been told first and everything changed.
So don't be too hasty to “comply” with the FIRST thing the power company says about your electric-power-hookup if you are building on undeveloped ground. Talk to the engineer if your lot is unimproved. Also, start communicating early with the Electric Company or they could delay you “down the line.“
Remember: Be sure the power company has absolutely made up its' minds as to where and how you are to run your power to your building site. Call back and ask another question to see if you get the same answer. As I've been told in communicating with a lot of people, "Dumb it down" or in this case, play dumb, and get them to clarify their directions.
In our case, the city said all utilities had to be underground, so the electricity had to come to the house underground. We found we spent quite a few dollars for materials before the Electric Co finally made up their minds as to where they wanted to tie into the existing electrical lines.
One person said the electric-power-hookup would come from a pole on the west and another said the electric-power-hookup would come from a pole on the east of the house instead.
It was like not knowing which way the feet were going – one was going forwards, and the other backwards.
The frustration from trying to get our electric-power-hookup was unbelievable. We had to go to the top engineer over new builds in order to get what we finally ended up with. Even then, he said something and went on vacation, and so his right hand man redid the order and had us do it differently. Wow! Talk about confusion.
NOTE In the meantime don't let the Power Company slow you down.
If there is a close neighbor, drawing up a contract with the neighbor to rent their electricity while the Power Company makes up its' mind is actually a good idea.
When someone first suggested that we borrow electricity from a neighbor I said “Yea, Right! We're going to borrow electricity from our neighbor.” We had experienced that before in another house we were having built, and we had to prepare the basement support wall. My husband had talked to the builder and asked if he could tap into his electricity at his construction site and the builder said sure. No problem. The amount of electricity RL would use wasn't even a nickel's worth of electricity.
While RL was busy building to the light of the silvery moon and the neighbor's electricity, the guy who was going to buy the next-door property came to see his home's progress. He blew his cool because we were “stealing” his electricity. He was a hot headed "first time" home owner and didn't know that it wasn't “his” until he signed on the dotted line. It still caused some real neighbor problems for absolutely years and years. So you can understand how “borrowing” from the neighbors hit me on this occasion.
Back to the present...
After weeks had passed and the concrete was poured, the rough plumbing was done,and the backfilling was completed, the electric power company was no closer to making up its' mind as to how we were going to bring power to this property.
At this point I spoke to our electrician and asked him about getting power from the neighbor.
He said it would be no problem, and he said he'd come hook up a breaker to the neighbor's outside box and install a board with a meter for electric-power-hookup on it along with some plugs on our property.
RL and I talked about this with our neighbor and drew up a contract with him agreeing to pay for his electricity until we got our own electricity.
Joe, our electrician, came and installed the electricity on our property and we were in business. It took the power company several more weeks to make up their minds. I say “minds” because it seemed there were several with differing opinions there.
When that was all said and done, the house was erected and the power was able to come directly underground to the meter box on the house. Joe was there to hook us up and we had power. I had to coordinate with the city inspector amidst all of this too.
Suffice it to say, don't let the electric-power-hookup hold you back. Think outside the box. Work with your electrician and your neighbors. If you are out in the “boonies“ then I can't help you there. Perhaps you'll have to google for help.
- Basic rough electrical wiring
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Building your home as owner/builder
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