Yes, You Can Bring Electricity to Your Rural Homesite
You’ve found your dream property – rural acreage with heavenly views, perhaps, and it’s affordable. But there’s one hitch: no electricity. Can you bring it in?
Nearly always you can, but you’ll need patience and an electrical contractor to help you – patience because the process can take weeks and even months. Your contractor is the person who will bring the wires to the site, but you may want to contact him or her at the start of your project for guidance.
Once you own the land, your first step is to apply to your utility company (to your city or county). Later, you’ll need to provide completed house plans and a wiring schematic. Getting the go-ahead from these entities could be your most time-consuming task.
The utility company will pinpoint the nearest power supply you can tap into, and tell you the cost of bringing electricity to your site. Be aware that this figure could be high. Often, power can be taken from nearby – say, next door or across the street – but if your area is truly remote, you may be looking at a distance of a mile or more. Pulling wires across this span is doable but costly. Most utility companies require power poles be placed no more than 100 feet apart – which would mean a distance of just one mile would need 52 poles. The good news, though, is that most projects require only one or two poles.
During construction, you can have a temporary pole or a permanent customer-owned pole on your site to which your electrician will attach a panel that connects to your power source and holds outlets for your use. You’ll need this electricity to operate some equipment, and, if you have a well or will install one, you’ll need power to run the pump that delivers the water.
Many rural builders live in RVs on their property during construction, and if this is your plan, you will also need electricity for your personal use.
After your house is finished, the temporary pole, if installed, will be replaced with a permanent one, or the wiring will be buried underground. That choice depends on local regulations, topography, aesthetics and your budget – burying wires requires digging a trench, which raises the cost.
Plan ahead for problems that may arise. For example, you may need permission from neighbors to install a pole or the line may require an easement you must be prepared to provide. It’s also possible trees will need to be removed or trimmed.
If, after you’ve evaluated the feasibility and cost of bringing in electricity, you decide it’s too expensive, don’t give up. There are alternatives, including wind or solar power or a generator, that could meet your needs. Alternate power has become more practical and efficient, and solar, especially, has decreased significantly in cost.
Don’t be discouraged if the land you love doesn’t have utilities at the site. Though it might take time, it is nearly always possible to bring in electricity within your budget.