Underground Electric Service
Underground service avoids unsightly overhead lines and a meter that's screwed to the front of the house.
We decided early on to install underground utility lines (electric, telecom), even though most houses in the neighborhood have overhead lines. Underground lines end up costing about $1000 more on this job than overhead lines, plus the couple days of my labor digging and filling the trench, flashing the foundation penetration, and building and setting a stanchion for the meter box. But hopefully the cost and effort will be worth it to make the house look more appealing. Plus, we can get the permanent power connected to the house early and avoid a temporary electric service (a cost savings).
Luckily there is a utility pole on our side of the street. Had there not been one, then the cost and time involved in having a pole placed by the telephone company would have made underground service impractical. But the pole is about 150 ft. away from the house—that’s 150 ft. of boulder-strewn earth.
It took me half a day to dig the trench. At a couple of points I had to shift the trench a couple feet left or right to avoid truck-size boulders and still keep the trench a minimum depth of 18 in. The trench ended up L-shaped, and the crook of the “L” was the ideal spot to install a meter stanchion. Rather than having the meter mounted to the front of the house—with no easy place to conceal it—installing it on a stanchion seemed more practical. In the future, we can build a decorative box to cover the rough 4×4 and planking frame.
It took the electrician’s crew of three just a couple hours to lay three conduits: one for the electric cable, one for co-ax cable, and one for telephone (in our case, fiber-optic). Later that day, the electrical inspector stopped by and approved the installation.
Hopefully in a week or so the electric company will send out a service truck to patch in the wires and install the meter. Then we can put the generator back in storage.