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Thread: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

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    Getting Acclimated Prospector FreeMyLand's Avatar
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    Default Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    We just bought some rural property that has access to electrical power from the street. Ideally we would like to go straight to off the grid, but that does not seem feasible right now. We are looking to put up a metal building for climate controlled storage / living space, so the real need for power is for cooling that building.

    When we decide to have the power brought on the property, we are thinking about burying the cable instead of having a line of poles going across the property (both for aesthetics and safety). At some point if we can go off grid, I would also prefer to not have to look at poles that we no longer use. We haven't discussed this with the power company yet. We are planning on trenching and burying the cable ourselves, and having the power company make the connections. Distance from the street will be about 1,500'.

    I was just wondering if anyone has done this, or what their thoughts might be concerning burying power lines on their property.

    Thanks.

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    Found a gold nugget Metal Miner GoldRocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    If it's the primary service that feeds your property, they probably won't allow you to do any of it yourself. Before the meter, everything belongs to them. After the meter though, all the wiring and connections are yours. Your idea might work if you had them tie in a service/meter to a pole or a pedestal on the outside edge of your property, and then you ran all your own secondary lines from there. (where I live you can take out a homeowners permit and do any work on the secondary side after the meter, as long as it's done to code, and then inspected by the proper officials) Let us know what they said after you've spoken to them. And good luck.
    "I love the smell of Napalm in the morning." Big Duke Six


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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    It's worth it even just to not have to see them, not to mention in my area at least, no worries about trees taking them down.
    Your utility will be different of course, but for me it was 83 cents a foot for them to trench, lay the wire, bury it and hook me up After I provided them a totally cleared path to the house.
    That was the limit my co-op would allow me to do, I said I would provide the trench and bury it but no dice.
    I hope this helps, you will not regret for a minute doing the extra BS after it is done and out of site.

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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    To me it would be worth it. I had to pay for conduit, (plastic) have the the trench dug and refilled, they provided the meter base and wire from the nearest utility pole to the base. It is down out of sight and crops grow over top like the wire wasn't even there. Not sure now but, if the trench had not had to be refilled immediately, I may not have had to place the whole length in conduit. However, if any part of their wire ever goes bad and needs replaced, the conduit is there. From the base on it was my responsibility to finish.
    "You have to prepare to die to really understand how to live".

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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    Code required I bury my power lines. We dug a 4+ft trench and I ran the phone and cable wires through 2" PVC pipe and the power line through a seperate 4"pcv pipe.

    All the wires could have been buried without PVC pipe but this is my home where I intend to live out my days, so the additional cost was a no brainer.

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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    in our area .....overhead is free......underground can be EXTREMELY expensive.....i do not know what residential runs but commercial runs as high as $250 a running foot in copper......undergound is always better in my opinion but you better check the cost because i think that will decide it for you either way


    Foolsgold........your utility's will allow you to bury primary high voltage lines without conduit?????? in our area that is illegal and i think its prohibited in the NEC...

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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    Quote Originally Posted by Irons View Post
    It's worth it even just to not have to see them, not to mention in my area at least, no worries about trees taking them down.
    Your utility will be different of course, but for me it was 83 cents a foot for them to trench, lay the wire, bury it and hook me up After I provided them a totally cleared path to the house.
    That was the limit my co-op would allow me to do, I said I would provide the trench and bury it but no dice.
    I hope this helps, you will not regret for a minute doing the extra BS after it is done and out of site.
    And here I thought everyone was going to tell me it was a waste of money! I am happy to see everyone is so positive about having the line buried - now I won't have to second guess if it is the right thing to do.

    Irons, how long ago did you have the line buried? 83 cents a foot seems like a pretty good deal, I would be happy with anything around a buck a foot. Fortunately the path is already cleared, now I am looking forward to speaking with the power company to get a quote.

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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    from an EMI point of view I want them under ground,
    but any additional expense and I would likely just go solar and/or wind and to hell with the power company.

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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    Quote Originally Posted by FreeMyLand View Post
    And here I thought everyone was going to tell me it was a waste of money! I am happy to see everyone is so positive about having the line buried - now I won't have to second guess if it is the right thing to do.

    Irons, how long ago did you have the line buried? 83 cents a foot seems like a pretty good deal, I would be happy with anything around a buck a foot. Fortunately the path is already cleared, now I am looking forward to speaking with the power company to get a quote.
    It was 4 1/2 years ago. Our electric company is a Co-Op and not a conglomerate so that may affect the price also. The bill was just under $1400 and well worth it. Look, no stinkin' wires!

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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    We have AEP at my residence. They gave me a choice of overhead or underground. It was just over 200 feet of underground service. They charged me $0 for the burial of the line. They use to charge but after a major ice storm a few years back that torn all "their" service connections off of about 80% of the houses that they had to repair, they found it was cost effective to bury the service on their dime then not have to endure the costs of the catastrophic repairs they had to deal with in the storm.
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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    My electrical service goes to a pole at the back of the yard and is buried from the pole to the house.

    This is much better than having overhead wires coming to the house.

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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    My Coop buried the line that ran through my yard for $1100.00. That was some of the best money spent on my yard projects. Not to have to worry about tree branches encroaching the lines, etc.

    Just make sure you think things out where you want the line buried at. If you do any future projects (building addition, etc.) you do not want the underground line "in the way".

    I bought a 28' X 32' shop building around 1999 (built new by previous owner in 1988) and I cannot add on. Rural water's main line is on east side, Coop main power line on west side and septic tank and drainfield on north side. Of course, the county road is on the south side. I bought this building this way, but the previous owner could have done better planning when it was built.

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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    Every single electric utility will be different in price and what they will and won't allow....and even the same one often changes from time to time....so what someone did 2-3 years ago may or may not apply today. When I put my service in, overhead was the only way they would go.....but they ran 7 poles to get up to my place and all I had to do was agree to buy power for 3 years at some minimum rate. Couple years ago, I decided to get the overhead service off the house, and put it halfway down to my shop, install a 400amp meter base, so I could hook in my solar easier, and get my shop on the house meter ( 300' in each direction to shop/house from the new meter base )....but I needed a new pole set to pull down to the new underground secondary service I was installing......2,000 bucks to set one pole now days....same utility that set 7 for free initially.

    SO....they may let you dig the ditch, or not.....they likely WON'T let you run primary wire or set the transformer base/box you'll need near the house.....and they may or may not let you run the secondary from the transformer to the house ( probably depends on where they require the meter base to be located....as Gold Rocks said, generally, everything from the meter base in your direction is your problem )

    You simply have to go talk to them and find out what they will/won't do.

    IF the price is right, I'd hook to the grid, and do it underground......again, price being the key issue. A totally offgrid system is NOT a cheap undertaking IF you plan to live with modern appliances/conveniences....you will soon figure out why power companies have "demand" charges for high surge users.

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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    TnAndy is spot on as usual. I have specified this on many of my projects and you have to negotiate on the spot with the guys doing it. They literally will just make up numbers about the cost. Dig the trench even before they show up and you will save some money. Call your power company and ask to speak to the engineering unit. They will have all the right answers for you.

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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    Quote Originally Posted by MorganTheGoat View Post
    TnAndy is spot on as usual. I have specified this on many of my projects and you have to negotiate on the spot with the guys doing it. They literally will just make up numbers about the cost. Dig the trench even before they show up and you will save some money. Call your power company and ask to speak to the engineering unit. They will have all the right answers for you.
    Be sure to get those answers in writing and save them. When I did my last deal with the local utility they would run it above or under ground for $7.00 a foot inclusive or pay me the $7.00 a foot if I installed it to their specification and they inspected it before, durring and after the wire was in the trench and had connected two meters to the line. That was easy, one meter for the house and another for the storage building. We have a $12.00 minimum bill per month, so it would be about 21 years before I broke even after wire, sand, vault minus excavation (no conduit for their primaries needed, but all the secondaries that I own are in condiut). The catch came after I hooked up the second meter and called about my repayment, they couldn't find their paperwork! Luckly I had all my papers in a file, that one sheet of paper was worth $7000.00!

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  18. Post #16

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    Default Re: Are Buried Electrical Lines Worth the Cost?

    Yeah....funny how stuff like that goes missing, huh....ahahahaaaaaaaa

    Kudos to you, FB.

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