Electric Service Challenges

There is a temporary electric meter set by our utility provider for construction, but getting the permanent power was more of a challenge than we expected. The old house had the electric meter on the front of the house, which was less than 100 feet to the transformer on a nearby telephone pole.  We designed the new house with the meter at the back of the garage, to keep it out of sight and we planned to put the electric line underground for safety and aesthetics.

Old Transformer (background) and Pole to be replaced

Well it turned out that we should have consulted our electric provider earlier in the process.  Running the power to the garage was a longer distance than the utility preferred, due to line resistance and potential power “sag”. The extra distance was about 70 feet or so, which on its face does not seem like much.  While I never got a clear answer on the maximum distance the meter should be from the transformer, it seems like anything over about 150 feet poses potential problems. The distance is a function of a number of variables including, size of the transformer, size/resistance of the service line, and customer power demand.

Trenching for Conduit

Also, running the service line underground required the utility company to replace a telephone pole on the corner of our yard, so that all the utilities (including cable/internet) could be properly dropped down the side of the pole. Time for the new pole and transformer upgrades were 6 – 8 weeks, given the utility’s heavy work schedule.  Also, trenching for the new conduit had to be carefully planned to avoid running too close to an existing large pecan tree.

Conduit Connections to Meter Drop
Conduit, Installed

So, all of that caused us to have to re-juggle our schedule for landscaping and related work on the site.

Now we are just awaiting our utility to come and pull the wires through the new underground conduit.