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Posted by Rob in Washougal, WA on 8/19/2015

Time to get the electrical on property, along with a temporary power box and an overall plain for the different phases we were planning (temp, barn, then house).


First thing we did was call the local utility company to see how we should go about the process, what our options where, thoughts on cost, authorized vendors, etc. The utility (at least the person I got hold of in the new services department) was fantastic, though a little slow, and even came out to see the property and give feedback on our plans in person. It was via his recommendations that we came up with a central meter and single transformer, that was the right distance away from both the future barn and future house, while giving us temporary power, to meet our needs. A couple of times after the initial design was drawn up I was told that we can't do a central meter, but I kept telling people its ok, the local utility designed it, and while they don't do it very often, they are allowing it for us.  

The quotes we got for actually getting the lines run and power to the center of the lot varied greatly! It was $7.2K, 9.2K and 16K. The 16 was definitely an opportunist thinking we were suckers. They knew we had an RV, and stressed how they were going to give us a 50amp connection specific for it. The difference between the low and middle bid was union vs non-union. The union bidder told me afterwards if I had let him know he was going up against non-union, he could have gotten some sorta exception from the union and lowered the bid. Well, why didn't you ask/do that in the first place! 

While coordinating the electrical piece, I also got hold of the local cable/internet company. The sub out all of the actual cable work to a different company, and after a few phone calls got to the right person that handled that. The cable, well the main electrical line, were all ready just across the street and in front of our property, we just needed to get it under the street and then extended up to where we wanted the box if you will on the property. When they laid the power and lines for the neighborhood 5ish years before, they did put a junction box for our property in, but unfortunately it was on the other side of a bridge/creek, that really made no sense where it was. Anyhoo, the key was to coordinate all the different services at the same time so a big hole in the ground and a trench to run into could be done at all once. I was able to dig the trench on our property for where the line would go saving some money that way. 

Things went very well, according to plan, until the developer saw the big hole in the ground over the utility right away and demanded to know what was going on. I tried talking to him calmly, and finally gave up having a rational discussion with him and told him to call the utility company since he obviously has an issue with what they were doing. The utility company determines where its going to dig/do, not me! Long, convoluted string events that happened over about a week is the developer of the adjacent neighborhood saved me money, got what he wanted, and ultimately cost the utility company a little more to get things done 'right'. The junction box was going to go over top of the utility right away instead got put on my property (which should have cost me more), nothing got put on the developer's property, and all ended up well. 

Photos

Looking for where the water line is buried.
Me putting in conduit for cable/internet
Me back filling the trench afterwards



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