How much $ to have power run out to a home?


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Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 28, 2013 - 12:02am PT
Anyone lived off the grid for awhile and then bought into the grid and power cabling run out to your place?

How much was it?

Also, if you wanted to pave a dirt road with asphalt, how much per mile?

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jan 28, 2013 - 12:14am PT
Munge,, you need to call the utility that would be your provider. Prices vary incredibly from free to hundreds of thousands. Factors are distance, terrain, underground/aerial, soils, legal rights of way, existing power available at the present distribution (namely would the utility have to upgrade in the neighborhood distribution in order to newly serve you too?), your expected load (the more load you would connect, the more likely the utility will pay more of a share.

Roadways are similar. You need to call paving contractors. Factors are quantity, drainage control, soils, legal rights of way if any, how competent of a roadbed you want, how wide it has to be (don't screw the width up, check with County on this, Fire will want a minimum width based on properties served and their uses), distance from the quarries for both rock and asphalt concrete, and so on.

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2013 - 12:25am PT
gah! You're right, of course.

But I guess there goes any chance of ballparking it.

Good call on the fire-width.

In reality, I would pick a place that's move in ready, but man oh man, I found a sweet place in the forest, just needs power and I'm suspecting pavement for the road (so that I can have it plowed in winter... more money, blech.)


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 28, 2013 - 01:13am PT
First ya want power. And then ya want a paved phukking road?



Trad climber
Santa Barbara, CA
Jan 28, 2013 - 01:28am PT
Seven years ago, when I built my home, I had the option to connect to the grid or stay off. I chose to stay off as it was then cheaper; The utility (SCE) wanted to have a 4 inch conduit buried 24 inches deep. I was not going to use very big cables (single house with a 200 Amp panel), and they agreed that even a 4/0 was overkill. Yet they wanted the 4 inch conduit to be able to pull the cables easily. They wanted to sell me the cable and the transformer. Their "bid" for the 200 foot project was then $18,000. Being off the grid disqualified me for any subsidies and still the break even point was reached within 3 years (I have a 6KW - 48V system with 1800 Amp-hours of batteries). I would save for a decent road!
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Jan 28, 2013 - 01:41am PT
If you found Shangra-La, reconsider your concepts.

For the amount of money to pave, you can probably buy a small tractor to do your own clearing.

Running a home on solar is becoming easier and easier, not to mention cheaper.

I know a wonderful couple, Marge and Vern Biehl, who have lived off the grid for 30 years, and have a wonderful, comfortable home that I've visited.

" We also live very cheaply. We've survived with a small solar power system that runs our 12 volt lights, 12 volt refrig, our 110 TV & DVD player. We use a wood cook stove for heat and cooking in the winter. We have a really kick ass solar hot water heater, and another water heater in a smaller wood stove that is out in the shop, for those cloudy days. We don't have a washer or dryer, we do our laundry by hand. A friend found an antique hand wringer that we use, and of course, We have "a solar clothes dryer" the sun."

From the NPR writeup on them:

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Jan 28, 2013 - 04:17am PT
Check this out.

Do it yourself solar photo-voltaic roof shingles.

Trad climber
Pollock Pines, California
Jan 28, 2013 - 04:26am PT
i ran 3/4 of a mile of
underground utilities.
i did all the labor myself,
renting small equipment.

this was 7 years ago
but the materials (sand / pipe), rental equipment,
the meter and the
services provided by the utility
company (power line installation)
was about 10k.

no idea on the road.
asphalt cement is
expensive to lay, and high maintenance.
just put gravel down is my advice.

merry domesticating.

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
Jan 28, 2013 - 07:33am PT
Hey, munge. . . roads don't have to be paved to be plowed! I would guess that 2/3 of the roads in Montana are dirt and they are plowed on a regular basis.

My private road is almost a half mile and we cleared it with an 8HP Honda blower for years. I personally HATE doing it alone since there's so much that can go wrong - so I hire it out, but I use the blower all over the estate for other stuff.

Paving is really, really spendy. . . even up here where stuff is cheap!

Trad climber
East Coast US
Jan 28, 2013 - 08:08am PT
Ran an underground power line about 500 feet from the road to a pad site, near the Gunks, back in 1999. It cost about $1500 for the heavy iron guy to trench the line and back fill once the line @ transformer were in place. The heavy iron guy had to trench into some of that shale that comprises the base of the Gunks, which added to the cost. The power company laid the line and put the transformer on its own pad for a small fee. Maybe $500?

If I had chosen to go with overhead power, the cost would have been significantly less. Probably $800 total to the power company and no need for the heavy iron guy.

Regrading a road/driveway. That cost us a lot because we had to cut into a bunch of the aforementioned shale to put a road bed in and we had to install a guardrail along one section as the hill rolled off steeply to one side. Probably 700 feet of gravel driveway, with a guardrail cost us $40k... like 50% the cost of the original property.

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 28, 2013 - 09:41am PT
Hey, thx for the stories and insights all. Very helpful. Shangri la needs amenities, unfortunately. Not just me up there. ��

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jan 28, 2013 - 09:50am PT
Munge, as Weeg suggested up thread, even if you lay the underground conduit yourself, pulling the wire and all else associated with that is spendy. How long of a distance are you talking about?

In regards to paving....yes, another spendy item, since it is petroleum based.

I just had our road re-capped (we paved it 12 years ago). We have 960 feet of road, and it cost us 36k for the paving. And that was with me doing all the shoulder work with my loader to save some bucks.

Do you have neighbors that can share the cost with you?

Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Jan 28, 2013 - 10:00am PT
Munge- off the grid by nearly 4 miles out here. I got a power quote even though I knew I was going solar (I am a solar tech) $110,000 ! That was 2007

You can easy get plenty of power for $10K with solar , assuming you have a decent sun site.

Remember also that many counties require lines to be buried, WAY more $$$$$

Trad climber
Pollock Pines, California
Jan 28, 2013 - 10:05am PT
a solar setup for our place was
equivalent in expense to
that of running power lines,
but we could not secure
a construction loan to
build a home off the grid.

the system kinda funnels you
away from extra-ordinary.


Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Jan 28, 2013 - 10:15am PT
True- sometimes the same with insurance and things like auto start generators...Insurance companies seem obsessed about pipe freeze above all else.
i don't have many neighbors, but some who have sold had to carry the note on house sales.

Trad climber
Butte, America
Jan 28, 2013 - 10:22am PT
Munge, ditto on what eKat says about dirt/gravel roads for plowing and maintenance.

The paved ones tend to ICE-up when plowed and the sun hits it; where as gravel roads in winter tend to pack-out and rut-in, making them usuable up to a certain clearance point, unless plowed. Plowed gravel roads ice up less than asphalt ones.

How much snow you talking?

...and what aspects of the hill/mountain would the road be on for melt/refreeze and snow depth considerations?

Captain...or Skully

Jan 28, 2013 - 10:31am PT
I hope you brought your wallet, Rob....;-)

Jan 28, 2013 - 10:44am PT
You don't even need to pave.

You just get a cheap 4X4 utility vehicle that would be your shuttle from the main road to the house when condition require.

The Power can be done yourself.

Have the electric utility install the transformer at the road and the utility cabinet for the 220.

Run the wires yourself to the house.

Whatever happened to "Yankee Ingenuity" ???

All that modern education has gone where?

Boulder climber
Jan 28, 2013 - 10:58am PT
Run the wires yourself to the house.

Whatever happened to "Yankee Ingenuity" ???
... as simple as running an extension cord from a restroom to a tent - DOH!

Jan 28, 2013 - 11:39am PT
The option I chose when I built my house was underground power from the pole which is about 400' from the house.I didn't want overhead wires and I'm glad I chose underground.The overhead would have been several hundred cheaper, and that was twelve years ago and I don't recall the price but I think it was around $1,000. We are on an elect-co-op common here in the mid-west.
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