Monday, November 19, 2012

Running electric

We're building very far from the road. Which means we're building very far from established electric lines. We looked at alternate energy (expensive!) and decided to go with a grid system (also expensive, but less maintenance). It's been a long process and I've only attached photos of the recent work.

Here's how you go about getting power: call Nat Grid and have them send out a Planner. He walks you through options, issues, and puts together a plan to get poles back to your build site. Ours was professional, pleasant, and cooperative about minimizing the number of trees we'd have to clear. Oops - they'd have to clear. One of the advantages of getting poles is that they do all the work. All of it. 

But before anything can be cut, the Planner sends the layout to the Home Office where your Coordinator reviews it, prices it out, and sends you a very large bill. Then everything is sent to Legal where they write up easement requirements for your neighbors. You mail them out and once the easements are back, everything happens more quickly than you'd expect.

First the tree cutting crew arrives (I showed some pictures of that in the Nov 4 post) and clears the way for the pole crew. Then the hole digging crew arrives.

The hole digging crew is here!
 The trucks have huge augers that are supposed to dig a 6 foot deep hole.
The auger in action
Unfortunately, it couldn't get through our Adirondack rock. This is actually why we decided to do poles rather than bury the line (in case anyone was wondering). Based on what we'd hit while digging the foundation (and the general geology of they area), we figured we'd have a nearly impossible time digging the required trench depth. And sure enough, they hit rock in every single hole. So they unloaded the poles and said they'd send back a different crew with a backhoe to see if they could dig rather than auger.

Couldn't dig the holes, but they left the poles
One of the trucks had a hard time making the turn and was heading for the well head. Only one of them - the other made it just fine - so we termed it operator error, not a design flaw with the driveway. Although we may go ahead and put some of our defensive perimeter between the drive and the head, just in case.

No well heads were harmed
The driver got into the soft earth on the side of the driveway and just kept sliding closer to the well head. Finally they decided to winch him out. He did ask if we were going to YouTube this - we told him "only if you actually hit the well and we get a geyser". Fortunately, that didn't happen.

 The very next day, a Saturday no less, the backhoe crew arrived.

Big backhoe
Unfortunately, he soon realized that they hadn't just hit rock, they'd hit ledge. Nothing was moving those suckers. So they sent for the big rock drill. That took a while to get here as they only have one for the entire Northeast. Good capital management on their part, but it meant that it took a couple weeks to get to us. Not complaining though - it could have taken over six weeks.


Measuring the drilled hole

The first pole in place
This drill is different from the well drill. It doesn't use water so the dry rock dust flies everywhere.

Once the poles are upright they run a rope through the attachments. This serves as a guide for the wires.

No wire yet
We were happy to see that the poles blend fairly well. They're definitely there, but your eye sort of passes right by them. And once the poles weather a bit, they'll be even less noticeable.
I think our trees are straighter than their poles
And the crew spared us the big T-supports that you typically see on poles. Since it's just us back there, they used a smaller support arm that is nearly invisible.

With wires
All-in-all, this was a good experience. It took time (lots and lots of time) but once the planning and legal stuff was out of they way it went fairly quickly. In fact, it's ready before we are - we need to get the electrician out to set up our entrance. We've got two giving us quotes and we should have that work done soon. Hot dog! We can give Dad back his generator!

No comments:

Post a Comment