L A U R E L farms


Electricity * * *

We really underestimated what a pain it would be to get electric from the pole just outside our gate up the 625 ish feet to our building sites. Read further down for the long version or skip ahead and read the brief timeline and cost breakdown here: 

* First contacted electric company in Sep/Oct - now January and we're waiting for final wire to be run through the line in our trench. This will get us about 50 feet away from our house. We'll need to rent a ride-behind trencher to dig from the transformer/meter to our house and barn. 

*$255 fee for application and meter, $5,700 to electric company for 1 pole and additional services, $6,000 for contractor to dig 3ft deep x 625 foot long trench, $900 in sand to fill trench and insulate line, $350 mule tape, $1,400 for conduit, concrete, and other misc items, $900 bobcat rental to fill trench (we timed it where we rented this on our last inspection and were able to create a road after the trench was filled).

Grand total = $ 15,505


First, we filled out an application and payed a $255 fee. Then we waited. And we called. Waited a bit longer. We were finally contacted by an engineer who came out and gave us the ominous approximate bid of $30k! What?! That led us to look into going completely solar which we quickly determined isn't practical as your only source of electricity in Texas considering we need our electric sucking AC units to keep us alive. Side note - most of the solar companies are shady. They refuse to give you an estimate on your house until you share your budget and then their quote is *magically* the same amount as your budget! They're also super difficult to get in touch with. It definitely feels like a racket.  

Back to the electric company who then wanted to drop around 6-7 poles right in the middle of the gorgeous view that we would see from our house...uh no thanks! We were hopeful they could drop them behind our house and follow the fence line, but not an option since there is a portion that isn't accessible by vehicle {maybe for an off-roading Jeep, but they don't really do that hehe} and to make it so would be an enormous cost. The only other option they provided us was to bury the lines in a trench. Then the adventure REALLY began...

The responsibility for the trench, conduit, mule tape, concrete pad for the transformer, and much more was on us with very vague instructions and three inspections to pass. The first step was finding somebody to dig the 36 inch deep by 625 feet long trench - 36 inches isn't normal. They typically only require 24 inches, but the amount of voltage going through our lines apparently dictated the extra depth and provided my DIY hubby with a problem since the equipment required to dig 36 inches is MASSIVE. You can't rent that size trencher from your local shop, they stop at 24 inches. A 36+ inch trencher has to be delivered by a semi and is very expensive! Ahh!!! That led me to start getting quotes from local companies/individuals who took one look at our property on Google Earth and gave us quotes from $12k-15k because they were worried they'd hit rock that requires additional equipment. I could have cried right about then... Thankfully, a sweet friend from our old neighborhood digs trenches for a living and really wanted to help. He brought his equipment and knocked it out in 5/6 days for $6k. Big relief. Along the way, we had a torrential rainstorm to contend with that we were worried would fill our trench back in, about a 10 foot long section of rock that required an extra piece of equipment, a few lost bolts...but we survived and the trench was dug!  

We managed to narrowly get through the first inspection. We happened to draw a really phenomenal inspector that gave us a company manual with a lot of clarification on what was needed in order to pass the next 2 inspections and complete the job. Whew! 

* I'm really thankful and amazed by the kind people we've met thus far that have gone out of their way to help us! *

The basics of what was required to get our trench completed and ready for the electric company: 1. Dig trench 36 inches deep x 625 feet long, 2. Inspection, 3. Have lots of sand delivered, 4. Line length of trench with sand 2 inches deep.  I moved several yards of sand with 5 gallon buckets and wheel barrow and my husband ended up moving around 10 yards of sand by hand in a day (10 yards is one very large dump truck load) 5. Take Motrin because we couldn't walk the next day, 6. Buy conduit, glue and throw it in the trench, 7. Cover conduit with 12 inches of sand by hand, this time my husband moved around 20 yards of sand by hand.  8. Have more sand delivered because we ran out, 9. Fill with the rest of the trench with rock free dirt (used a bobcat :), 10. Inspection, 11. Blow mule tape through conduit, 12. Pour concrete pad with grounding rod to specs, 13. Inspection, 14. Done! Now we wait for the crew to come out and hook it up! 

Our kids were major troopers during this process. Snacks, meals, lots of water, books, toys from storage they haven't seen in forever, a couple of hammocks, and a pack-n-play for naps were all a must. 

Thanks for waiting for this post for so long....I think I've decided to switch to video blog posts! I'm not much of a writer and it just takes too long with 3 kids running around.... I'm terrified the words "SNACK?!" or "Mom, poop!" might accidentally show up in my posts because I'm mommying and writing at the same time ;-D The baby just bit my foot as I was typing this! Anyways, video blogging! I could have spit this out and uploaded pics in 2 minutes. Thanks so much for following - our heart is to provided this info to encourage and empower you! 

*Click on the last picture - it's a panoramic* 




Kate Marr