My house is currently off grid (not connected to city electricity). I bought it that way. The batteries are slowly failing and I will need to put some money into it soon to keep the electricity flowing. I am thinking seriously about hooking up to the grid rather than buying new batteries.
I have had several conversations with the local utility about the grid hookup and got an estimate for the job. I still have some questions & concerns was wondering if anyone had experience with this sort of thing and could comment.
1. The utility provided an estimate and not a quote. When I pressed them they basically said that the estimate was for a "typical" installation and they would bill me for hours and materials once they finished with the job. Specifically, they said the presence of ledge would drive the cost up by some unknowable amount. The site is mostly ledge (somehow they missed the boulders jutting out). The estimate was (I think) 4 poles for about $12,000. It is about a 700ft run. Is it normal to have so much uncertainty in the price ? Does this price sound reasonable ? Could/should a private contractor do some of this work ?
2. They want a fairly wide right of way with no trees (10 feet I think). The site is heavily wooded and I currently have no sightlines between my house and the street. Clearing trees 10 feet on either side of the lines would be a big reduction in privacy. Any alternatives to blasting a hole thru the forest ?
3. Before I moved in and realized the extent of the ledge on the site I had hopes to bury the utility run. I am still interested in the possibility of burying some part of it (near the house for example). The utility was not able to advise here. They do not get involved in excavation. I am sure that there are sections where the ledge is down deep enough to support the required 36 inch trench but the soil is rocky everywhere. Most of the trenchers I have seen do not look like they are up to the task. Should I just forgot about this or is there some special equipment that could deal with super rocky soil ?
4. One thought I had was to get the required 36 inch trench depth for underground service by mounding earth over the conduit. Basically I would create a berm and run the conduit under it. Is this allowed ?