# Figuring out cost to extend electric lines?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by CountryGoalie, Aug 25, 2010.

1. ### CountryGoalieWell-Known Member

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Okay, I've been trying to Google for the information I'm looking for, but I just must not be phrasing it correctly...

I'm trying to find out the cost to extend electric service down a rural road... it already goes about 1/8th of a mile down the road, and I'd like to find out how much it would cost to extend it another 1/8th to a 1/4 of a mile down the road, but I'm just not sure how to go about researching it. Any tips?

Also, anyone know of any good websites that can help me figure out how many solar panels would be needed to power a certain sq. footage, so I can compare that cost to the cost of extending power lines?

THank you!

2. ### BillinMember

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If this is a public road, you will need to contact your utility because they can utilize the right of way and you probably can't. In fact you probably can't do it yourself anyway. Voltage drop at 240V or working with 7,200V or higher are generally prohibitive. Setting a transformer and 7,200 feed 1/8 of a mile long done by a utility can run about \$2,300 in some instances. Your area and circumstnces may vary-

3. ### WisJimWell-Known MemberSupporter

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Is this the utility line that you are extending, or your own lines? If your own, you need to figure the materials needed and add it up. If you aren't familiar enough with electrical work to do that, ask an electrician for an estimate.

How many solar panels to power so many square feet? Not possible to answer. You need to figure out the electrical use in kilowatt hours per month or year, and then you can estimate the wattage output of panels needed.

4. ### texicanWell-Known Member

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Forget the research... unless your electric provider posts the information online, it's useless. Each provider has different rules. If it's a co-op it might cost you nothing. We have a rural co-op here, and they charge nothing to go down public r.o.w.'s and will run 1000 feet for free.

If I was wanting power to an outbuilding, and I had power already, I'd save the fortune it'd cost to run your own wire, and simply have another account set up. Here, it's only like 8 or 9 bucks a month. Copper wire gets prohibitively expensive when you have to buy the large gauge wire... even short runs will eat you alive. Long ones, forget about it.

5. ### NavotifarmWell-Known Member

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If I were you, I'd call the local power company to set up an appointment. That worked for me. I had a meeting with an engineer. I brought my plat. She had some kind of calipers so was able very accurately to calculate the distance from the nearest power pole. When time came to extend power lines to me, they did so underground (quite a surprise). FREE!

Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
6. ### ronbreBrenda GrothSupporter

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we nearly bought a home one time that needed the electricity extended to where it was..and that was the reason no one was buying it, it was going to be thousands of \$ to get electricity to it..so no one wanted it..it was a beautiful new home..but the electricity to reach it was just not going to happen

7. ### QhorsemanWell-Known Member

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our co-op charges \$750 per pole, central MO

8. ### TnAndyWell-Known MemberSupporter

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And our charges 1,000...now.......but years ago when I had it run up to my place, ( took 7 poles and 1/2 mile of line ), all I had to do was agree to buy power for 3 years at some minimum rate.

As texican quite rightly pointed out, it's going to vary with EVERY SINGLE power distributor.....from free to DANG expensive.....so you might as well forget the internet research and truck on down to your power distributor and start asking "how much"

9. ### artificerWell-Known Member

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We had the "DANG expensive" quote of \$12k for 1,200 feet. If you price out just the wire, you're probably talking \$4-\$5/ft just for the wire alone. (scrounging can save a LOT, but if they install it, they'll use new/off the shelf)

Michael

10. ### wy_white_wolfJust howling at the moon

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All depends on the rules of your local power company. They wanted (8 years ago) \$7500 to run power about 1/4 mile to where I'm building the cabin. That was because it wasn't considered a full time residence.

Now if I was building a house to live in full time the cost to me would have been zero.

You'll need to contact them. Also having the array far away form the residence may not do any good. Some power companies require the hook to be the same one that the house uses for net metering.

As Wis-Jim said, no relationship between array size and house square footage. Need to know how many KW you use yearly.

11. ### Lazy JWell-Known MemberSupporter

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Call your electricity supplier to get the appropriate quote for this. What my supplier charges in Northeast Indiana will surely be quite different than a supplier's in Arizona.

Jim

12. ### PattWell-Known Member

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I agree.

13. ### NavotifarmWell-Known Member

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Besides differences between states, counties and power company charges, sometimes the costs are affected by law. Or projected use. When I first started to bring things onto my land, I got a permit for a storage shed. This happened to be a mobile home I was require to gut and tie down and provide steps for. Of his own volition, the building inspector offered to provide me a permit for electricity for construction "to run your Skilsaw and tools." To bring power to a "temporary pole" would have cost thousands.
But my co-op was REQUIRED to provide up to two poles free to a dwelling that was going to be occupied. I forgot to mention it in my post above, but I used that two poles distance to establish where I would set my home. When the engineer set her calipers, she marked the swing from the last pole on the adjoining property across my parcel on my plat. At the time, there were to be TWO houses so both these homes gained me more power lines and a much bigger distribution box. The power company also absorbed legal costs. Their staff prepared and recorded right of way documents in the circuit court. They subcontracted and paid for a private company to actually lay the underground cable but there was a lot more to the process than just running lines and none of it cost me anything except, as described above, signing a contract for electrical service. In my case, only a year although the poster above had to sign a three years' contract. I don't know if this is thread drift but when I applied for the free electricity for my home as opposed to the expensive temporary construction pole, I FIRST had to get the health department to sign off on well and septic permits. To get the septic permit, I had to hire a guy with a backhoe to dig test pits at \$500 a day. Now the test pit regulation has changed and yu have to hire a soils engineer (much less expensive). So beware of contingent costs, not just the permits for but what other requirements are piggy-backed which can be more expensive than running your power lines. Oh yeah, and the changes that occur after you've met one set of requirements only to find there are other different ones "due to budget cuts" or whatever.

Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
14. ### roachhillWell-Known Member

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I could have hooked to the power grid for free because they already have a line across my property but I still decided to go solar to keep everyone out of my cabin and pocketbook. I know some have different priorities. Don't forget your not comparing just installation cost but operating costs for as long as you live there. It makes a difference if your planning to be there a few years or to be carried out in a pine box. Remember in NY you can only expect a couple solar hrs per day of power in the short days of winter.

15. ### QhorsemanWell-Known Member

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actually the rule here from our co-op is \$750 a pole, that includes the wire. If you are building a house, they will refund the price of 5 poles when the foundation is complete and the well head is in. But, Patt is right can't apply MO rules to your location

16. ### texicanWell-Known Member

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I'm on an electric co-op, so profit isn't on the agenda... they actually send rebates back at the end of the business year.

My original quote, back in the 80's, was 75K, and I clear/obtain ROW through some timber plantations. Didn't happen... I went solar.

In 2000, a rich man built a development half a mile away, and I was able to get a line strung for 1200. Took them six months of waiting for the road to dry up to get their stuff down there... and then, there was an error in the planning... they had to get a boring crew down pronto, which added another 1K. They had over fifty people working on this line for half a day, six trucks, boring crews, etc. Total cost 2200... My electricity is cheap... I doubt if they've made up their construction costs yet... the 2200 was probably a tenth of what they actually spent that day.

I love my non profit co-op.

17. ### TnAndyWell-Known MemberSupporter

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Based on what I see of power companies, they had 50 people, but I'd bet no more than 5-10 were actually needed. Last time they set a pole for me, could have been done with 2 guys + one auger truck, easy, and they sent 8 in 3 trucks.

18. ### CountryGoalieWell-Known Member

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Hm. Mmkay, thank you all for the input. I will have to find out what electric comany services my parents' farm, as the property I'm looking at is actually a back piece of their property. They're located on a corner, of a main road and a side road - their house is on the main state route, and then there's a neighbor who has a five-acre chunk on the side road, and the power line extends as far as their house - and my parents' property wraps behind the neighbor and comes to the road again on a back field. We've thrown around the idea of purchasing that back field from my parents and putting a small homestead back there, which was why I wanted to see if I could find out about getting a quote on taking power back that far. We wouldn't be extending the power lines ourselves, certainly - it would be a utility company thing.

Of course, all of that would entail drilling a well back there, extending utility lines, et cetera... so whether or not it'll ever happen... we'll see.

Thank you you all for the advice.