So you’ve found the perfect plot of land, but theres just one issue: there are no utility connections. Building a new house on your own land is a very exciting project, but it brings some challenges you don’t face if you build in a subdivision. Of course, one of the main advantages of being on your land is that you’re not 10 feet from your neighbor. So it’s a give and take, but definitely worth it in the end!
Being far away from others also means the electric company might not have had a need to provide electricity to your land before, so you’ll have to arrange, and pay for, that privilege.
So the question is, how do you get the electric service run to your property, and how much will it cost? Here’s a guide on how to figure it out.
How Much Will It Cost?
This is really the main question that everyone wants an answer to. The cost will vary according to a lot of factors, but the main one is the electric company’s policies. Here are the common variables we typically hear:
- Distance from the nearest power pole to the house location – the greater the distance, the more wire, trenching, etc., the greater the cost.
- Whether or not they have to install a new transformer (the big can-like device on the pole that converts the voltage from a higher transmission line voltage down to the 240 volts that feeds your house).
- How many new poles they’ll have to set, how much wire they’ll have to run, and / or how long of a trench they’ll have to dig.
- How much vegetation they’ll have to clear.
- Whether the power will come to your house from overhead or underground wires.
The electric company might provide a certain amount (distance) of wire and trenching and you only have to pay for any additional amount beyond that. It varies from company to company, so make sure you ask.
When it’s all said and done, we’ve seen costs of the installation of new electric service cost anywhere from free, to a few hundred dollars, to several thousand dollars. So do a bit of research to find out what it will be for your perfect property.
As an example, we have a property in Crestone CO that is about 250 feet from existing power lines. With a quick call to the local power company I was able to get an estimate of $10,000 to run lines directly to this property. The cost will vary from county to county, but this will give you an idea to keep in mind!
How Does the Process of Running New Electric Service Work?
There’s more to getting new electric service installed than simply writing a check! There are some logistical issues that become more complex the further in the country you are, and some county bureaucracy that you might have to deal with.
- They’ll send out an engineer to look at the property and figure out how to run the new power lines. They will specify the path the new lines will take, along with whatever requirements the electric company has for clearance between trees and so forth.
- The engineer will tell you what trees and whatever else needs to be cleared out of the way.
- You will establish a “contract for service”, which is your promise to them that you’ll be buying electricity.
- Most of the time, the electric company will require you to put in the foundation and slab before they’ll do any work to bring electricity to the site. That might seem unusual, but companies been burned before by people saying they’re going to build and buy electricity every month, and after the electric company spends a bunch of money to string the new wires, the person doesn’t ever build and never buys any electricity.
Expect the process to take a fair bit of time. If you’re hoping to put in a work order for utility connections today and be up and running in the next month, youre going to be in for an unpleasant surprise. Getting the permits alone can take weeks or months, and thats if there are no hiccups along the way. Delays are not necessarily common, but they can cause issues.
And don’t forget the time it will take the run the lines. Underground lines will take longer and will generally cost more, but poles may require permission from your neighbors (which can also add time). Expect to wait at least a few months for all utility connections to be up and running.
Bringing utilities to an undeveloped plot of land can be costly and time-consuming, but if you’ve found the ideal property, it may be worthwhile especially if you purchased the property at a rock bottom price. Be sure to get accurate estimates of costs, and budget for more as costs typically run higher.
If connecting to the local power company isnt feasible or not an affordable option, you may want to look into alternative power sources, such as wind, solar or using a generator if it will just be a weekend destination. Just keep in mind that most wind power systems dont provide enough power to run a typical home. Solar, on the other hand, can generate more than enough energy. In fact, you may be able to resell excess power to the local power company. Generator are a reliable and affordable solution to those that are just needing electricity occasionally.
The main things to remember are that each electric company has different policies and procedures, and that each one has some kind of bureaucracy you’ll have to navigate. Same with the city/county government. So do a bit of research and make a few calls to the local utility companies for quick answers to your questions.
If there’s anything we can do to help you through this process, please reach out with a call or email and we’ll be glad to help in any way we can. Give me a ring at 775-234-2058 or E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lets take an example of a property that is within 250 ft of existing power lines and see what it would cost!!