# When a new house is built in a rural area not in a neighborhood

1. Aug 7, 2008

### stickythighs

When a new house is built in a rural area that is not in a residential neighborhood, who pays for the costs of running a power line from the nearest street that has a power line to the new house? Does the utility company pay to set up the power line to the one isolated house, or does the owner of the house have to pay for the power line to be set up?

I imagine that if the new house was, say, a five hundred yards from the nearest street with a power line, the costs of running a power line to the house would be over $10,000. 2. Aug 7, 2008 ### Evo ### Staff: Mentor It depends. The utility company will pay for the line up to the junction box, but if extensive trenching, etc... needs to be done to furnish service just to one location, you may have to pay for anything on your side of the property or even to the junction. Also, you are subject to their "planning" schedule. I have had many clients with new office buildings where the contractor forgot to contact the utility company and there were delays at times of up to 6 months to get the job done. In even a regular home, if anything happens on your property on your side of the easment, like a break in a water, sewage, or gasline, you have to pay for the repairs, which can be quite costly. If you are planning to purchase an unimproved lot, there are so many things that you have to check before you can get a building permit. Before you buy, contact the electric company, and any other utility first to get their opinion. 3. Aug 7, 2008 ### stickythighs What is a junction box? Would I have to have a building permit in order to build a small one room cabin on some land? 4. Aug 7, 2008 ### mgb_phys Where the wire from the electricity board connects to the wire to your house. Depends on your local bylaws. It could be difficult to get permission to build a small cabin in a rural area if it protected / green belt. 5. Aug 7, 2008 ### Evo ### Staff: Mentor It may be the box, it may be aerial wire from a pole, it just depends on if the wiring is under or above ground. It is just basically the closest point in their network from which they would deliver service to you. For a residence, you need to check to see what is needed. 6. Aug 7, 2008 ### stickythighs The crux of the matter seems to be in the "extensive trenching, etc." part. Could you elaborate on what might constitute "extensive trenching, ect"? I'm kind of confused on why you told me that the utility company will pay for the line up to the junction box. Are you saying that the utility company will pay for the power line from the source of electricity (the nuclear power plant, or whatever it is) to the junction box? The power line from the nuclear power plant (or whatever) to the junction box was there before the cabin was built. Let me put it to you this way. We'll assume I have built a cabin that is five hundred yards from the nearest street with a power line. The junction would be at that street five hundred yards away. There are no trees in the way. Would the utility company pay for the 500 yards of power line going from the junction box to my cabin? 7. Aug 7, 2008 ### Evo ### Staff: Mentor First, it depends if they have facilities. They will have to have their engineers check, if there are not enough to run a drop to your house, then it could become a major project, there are so many "things" that could come into play, you would need to contact the local company and give them the plot number and have them do a facility check. Is electricity the only utility you want? 8. Aug 7, 2008 ### stickythighs What does that mean? If there are not enough what to run a drop to my house? Facilities? Electricity is the only utility I would want from the utility company. I would get water from a well. If I had gas appliances, I could buy the gas through a company that's not the utility company. 9. Aug 7, 2008 ### NateTG At some point it gets cheaper and easier to set yourself up with an off-grid electrical system. I haven't done the research, but would be unsurprised if$10,000 were on the cusp for that.

Since utilities are government monopolies, they've got all kinds of strange rules and pricing arrangements. The best way to find answers to your question is to call and talk to the local utility.

10. Aug 7, 2008

### LowlyPion

I think you should think "Capacity" here - not so much facility. If the utility doesn't have enough capacity in the lines - it may be a consideration. But utilities will see you as incremental business and unless you are looking for a dramatic service requirement, and maybe even if you are that's their business after all, I doubt this will be a problem. I'd guess they will find a way to beef up their delivery at no cost to you. But if you do have a long run from the road to the house, they may or may not have a policy to recover those costs. You really need to check with the utility about specific installation.

Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
11. Aug 7, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

Facilities is the term used that includes both the physical "parts" and "capacity", so yes, a normal person would think capacity.

12. Aug 7, 2008

### stickythighs

Arggh! What is capacity?

13. Aug 7, 2008

### Staff: Mentor

That would be the amount of electric power they can send to your house.

14. Aug 7, 2008

### turbo

Capacity is the amount of power that you will need to run the electrical things in a house. The entrance (junction box between the meter and your house wiring) and the distribution panel (breaker panel) are generally sized by the electrician who will do the installation. If you have an electric stove, an electric refrigerator, a freezer (to store lots of food), and a submersible pump in a drilled well, lights, etc, these all have to taken into account, and the distribution panel in the house will have to be capable of handling these loads safely. Things like electric range/oven, well pump, clothes dryer are generally wired for 220V nominal because they are big loads and it's best to have have them fed from both legs of the breaker panel so the load is distributed across both legs instead of trying to draw a lot of power from one leg.

In Maine (at least if you are served by CMP/FPL) if you want to build far away from existing power lines the power company will mount a step-down transformer on the nearest utility pole and they will run a 220V line to the meter mounted on your house (or on a temporary structure built for that purpose) and YOU have to pay for every pole that they have to install between the transformer and the meter. If you choose underground service, YOU pay for all the trenching and filling and the direct burial entrance cable (which is more expensive than the overhead cable). The electric utility may not make you pay up-front for the poles, but if they don't, they will make you sign a service contract and every month, some of your utility bill charges will come from payments on those poles. If you discontinue electrical service, they will expect you to pay for the poles in a lump sum.

Now, about the logic and legalities of building a one-room cabin. Many municipalities will not allow you to reside permanently in any structure that does not have running water, heat, and sanitary facilities. Even if you can meet those requirements, you will probably have to pay for the entire project out of your own pocket. In general, banks will not loan money for the construction of a residence that does not meet FHA guidelines, or even more stringent guidelines. Banks often do not hold the loans that they make - they sell them to holding companies who may or may not bundle and re-sell them to investors. At every step along the way, the lending institutions, investors, etc want assurances that the mortgage they are holding is sound and is backed by salable property as collateral. You will find very few investors who will regard a one-room cabin in the woods a "salable" residential property. For this reason, if you want to build and live in such a property, you will have to pay for it out of pocket. Remember, too, that each municipality/township/county can have its own regulations regarding what constitutes a permanent residence, and you will have to pay to comply with those regulations. You can't just buy some land, throw up a building willy-nilly, and move in. If you do that, the next time you open your door, you will be looking at a handful of code-enforcement officers. They will ask to see your permits, and inspect the parts of the building that they are responsible for - structure, electricity, plumbing, sanitation, etc. If you did any of the work yourself, they will ask for written proof that a licensed professional inspected your work and signed off on it. If you don't have the paperwork in line or have violated codes, you are subject to fines and penalties until the facilities comply with the codes, and they may be cumulative ($X/day until the work is brought up to code and re-inspected). Last edited: Aug 7, 2008 15. Aug 7, 2008 ### LowlyPion Capacity is how much service you will require. How many peak KWs. Or put another way how many amps of electricity your peak demand will be. Edit: Didn't see Turbo's post. I defer to his treatment of the subject. 16. Aug 7, 2008 ### Moonbear Staff Emeritus If it's meant to be a permanent structure, most likely, yes. And there will be building codes to comply with. If you plan to live in it (as opposed to using it as an out-building, like a storage shed), then there will be additional codes to meet to get a certificate of occupancy. Is the 500 yards on your property, or over public lands? If it's all on your property, you'll probably be the one paying for it. If it's over public lands, it might depend on the utility company and how likely it is worth their while to run the line there (i.e., if you're the first of many homes about to be built there, and they'll be servicing all of them, they might do it without charging, but if they need to do it all special for you and there are no other homes planned out there in the near future, or they're all being put up by the same construction company, they might make you pay for it). And, of course, if it's over someone else's property, you may have to pay the property owner for the easement rights to run a utility line through their land (if they give you permission to do it at all...they have the right to refuse entirely). 17. Aug 7, 2008 ### rewebster Another facet, for example, is the land. Before 1985, I believe, in the state where I live, someone could buy one acre and build on it--now its five acres (in an unincorporated area--that means, a non-city setting). 18. Aug 7, 2008 ### russ_watters ### Staff: Mentor Generally, utility companies are required to serve your needs unless they are unusual. What is the electric company in your area? Also, the thing to do would be to find a service/metering request form and fill it out (we can help). Then a utility rep will contact you and help figure out what you need and what it would take to make it happen. 19. Aug 7, 2008 ### hypatia When I had the power run to my cabin, first I had to get easement clearing ok'd by the guy who had the last pole on the line. This gave the power company the ok to extend the line across the front of his property. I was lucky, and he was really nice, its not unheard of for someone to ask for money for this easement right of way. Then they put 2 poles up to get it to the front of my property{$1,200.00} and ran the wire to the pole. But then I had to have the wire run to my meter, another 250 ft from the road, which cost me $500.00{2 dollars per foot}. So$1700.00 was my total bill for this.

20. Aug 7, 2008

### stickythighs

Ted Kaczysnki "just bought some land, threw up a building willy-nilly, and moved in." Kaczysnki did not have electricity. Kaczysnki bought the land and built the cabin in Lincoln, Montana in the early 1970s. Kaczynski lived in the cabin until his arrest for being the unabomber in 1996.

How did Ted Kaczysnki get away with living in a cabin without electricity? Did he get away with it because the cabin was built in the 1970s, and if one doesn't have to upgrade as long as the cabin is in compliance when it was built?

Or do you think that it was a fluke that Lincoln, Montana allowed it and most very small towns wouldn't?