Temporary Power Pole: Final Wrap-up


Yesterday we got our final statement from the power company billing us for our meter placement which means the temporary power pole installation is complete. I had no idea that so many steps went in to getting power on a building site (which is what makes it "temporary", once we have a house we'll convert to just "power") so I wrote it all down and asked Mr. Nick to doublecheck me.

In case you're wondering, here's the process:

  • Purchase temporary power pole: We bought ours off of craigslist (you can read about it here) used from someone else who was done but you could buy from either Home Depot or Lowes (you would buy the pieces and assemble yourself). Once you purchase it (or build it) you install it based on where you're going to build (remember you're going to run extension cords from this). Also, remember you're going to pay the power company for labor to install the line from the transformer to the temporary power pole when it's time.
  • Dig the trench and the hole for the transformer (you can see us doing it here) and for the big conduit that will run from the transformer to the power pole. We did this ourselves but you could hire an earthwork contractor to do it for you. Afer you dig your trench you'll have an informal inspection from the utilities company. This is where we were told that we needed to line the base of the transformer with 5/8 crushed gravel rock minus fines and put sand in the bottom of the trench (after clearing it out, which you can see here). In order to find the gravel rock we went to a quarry and they just dumped it in the back of our truck (as a side note, you should always sweep off the back of your tailgate EVEN THOUGH THEY SAY YOU CAN'T GET OUT OF YOUR TRUCK in the yard. Somewhere between the yard and the road you have to find a place to pull over and clean up anything that could fly off while you're driving. I didn't do this and had a very interesting conversation with a police officer ...
  • Once the inspector approves your set-up they will install your transformer. We actually had three inspection visits and a half dozen phone calls from the power company before we had everything to their liking. The power company will probably have manuals or brochures with all the specs but the reality is with so many different pieces you're bound to misread or misinterpret something so my best advice here is to be nice and be patient.
  • After the transformer is installed and the conduit is run you can cover up your trench and turn the power on (they'll do one last inspection to make sure the trench is "at grade" which means you didn't come back and pile a bunch of dirt on it or plant a vinyard on top or anything.) •Finally, you'll get the bill in the mail for meter placement (which is what we got yesterday). Oh yeah, and you get to turn it on! So that's that, if you're interested in knowing how everything broke down cost wise shoot me an e-mail and I'll let you know!

Photo Credit: Here's a pic of one of our inspection reports, we had to move our ground wire and clean out the temporary power pole (a job Mr. Nick reasoned I was obviously better suited for because my hands are so tiny, funny, that's the same reason my Dad always made me clean the spokes on our family car, I'm noticing a trend).