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Engineering FAQs

These Q&As are for permanent full-time resident services. For Q&A regarding seasonal or intermittent loads, please contact our engineering department as different rates and policies can apply.

Q: If I want a new service what will I have to pay?

A: You are subject to a deposit based on your credit risk assessment, past due amounts or unpaid bills.  If you are in good standings and receive a good credit risk assessment, the deposit will be waived, otherwise the deposit can be up to $500 (see our New Members page for more information).  There is also a $50 connect fee that can be paid up front or on your first bill, as well as your aid to construction payment that is calculated by the Engineering Technician, when applicable, for the costs associated with new construction.  Therefore, a connect fee and aid-to-construction costs, and in some cases a deposit if necessary.

Q:  Why do you charge a deposit for a new residential?

A: As a non-for-profit cooperative we do our best to prevent being left with bills that go unpaid on accounts.  If a deposit is quoted and paid, and the account is maintained in good standing over 12 billing months, upon request, the billing department will review the account and will refund the deposit if your credit is sufficient to do so.

Q: What are the costs associated with an underground vs. overhead (single-phase) installation for a new home?

A: In 2024, for overhead, we give the first 250 feet at no cost, and everything in excess is figured at $8.98 per foot.  For underground we give the first 100 feet at no cost, and in excess of that is $17.06 per foot, as well as a $1,400 transformer termination fee for underground services.  For both applications, depending on how it is metered, determines any additional requirements and fees.

Q: How are underground and overhead installation costs figured?

A: Periodically, an assessment is completed to figure actual construction costs for underground and overhead electrical services.  They are broken down and reconfigured into a cost per circuit foot of line.  Per board policy, full-time residences in our service area pay a non-refundable aid-to-construction payment equal to 75% of actual construction costs, and charges are assessed for overhead lines in excess of 250 feet and for underground in excess of 100 feet.

Q: Why is underground more expensive than overhead? (See below)

A: Underground line is not only more expensive and labor intensive to install, but we also incur higher maintenance costs associated with locating cable, repairing and maintaining.

Q: What is the connect fee?

A: The connect fee is a non-refundable fee for the requested, to-be connected new service in the amount of $50.00.

Q: Why must there be an easement signed?

A: The easement is mandatory and standard for every Egyptian Electric installation. It is basically granting us permission to install and maintain the line we are installing on the property.  Our underground easement is for 15 feet, 7.5 feet on each side of the line.  Our overhead easement is for 30 feet, 15 feet on each side of the line, ground to sky.  Trees/brush that is requested to be removed before installation by the Engineering Technician must be done by the requesting member, after installation Egyptian Electric will maintain the line to the said clearances.

Q: Why are there trees being taken out that appear to be above and beyond?

A: Although it may seem excessive, this minimum requirement is to better insure system reliability until we return for routine tree maintenance and minimize as best we can tree outages. The trees above the overhead lines may seem out of the way, but have potential to fall or drop broken limbs on the line.  

Q: Can I plant trees under my electric line or in the same trench or near my underground line?

A: No. The trees may initially look small, but long term the branches will interfere with overhead lines and root systems effect underground lines and electrical boxes.  Visit our Tree Trimming & ROW page for more information.

Q: How close can I build to the power line?

A: Our standard practice is beyond falling distance of the line or pole.

Q: Where will my overhead/underground line need to be placed on my property?

A: For maintenance purposes, it is required that any new proposed line(s) be staked and installed along the driveway, within 15’-20’ of the edge of the road or driveway.  We will not install new lines across fields or yards, through trees, or basically anywhere that is inaccessible with our trucks or not meeting clearance requirements. Crossing buildings, structures or swimming pools will not be considered by our common practice, as well as compliance with electrical code standards.

Q: When do I contact the Engineering Technician to meet me on site for a better estimate and requirements?

A:  When you own the property, have the home site staked, and driveway is in or close to it.  We take appointments during business hours.  Please call our office, 800-606-1505, to schedule an appointment with one of our Engineering Technicians.

Q: How do I know what size service I will have or need?

A: Your electrician should make that determination for you, or sized based on your current and/or future needs. Most home service applications are a standard 200A service, and some cases are sized to our larger option of 320A (400A service).

Q: What are my metering options for an overhead service?

A: For 100A or 200A services, you can have the meter put on our pole or on the side of home. The 320A service is too large for an on-pole installation, therefore must be fed underground. 

Q: Who builds my meter structure, loop, or meter on the house?

A: If the meter is desired on the house or structure the member must either do the work themselves or have someone with the knowledge to do the work and to EECA specifications.  This person is not required to be a licensed electrician.  If a meter loop for the pole is needed, the member must have a meter loop built to our specifications, but first discussed with and approved by the Engineering Technician. The meter loop consists of the meter base (EECA provided at a cost, and can be picked up at our office), disconnect, rigid conduit, wires, connectors, and weather head.  It must be assembled and laying on site before scheduling, and ready for inspection. See our specification sheets, or you can request them from the Engineering Technician.

Q: What are my options for metering an underground service?

A: Please contact an Engineering Technician to discuss these options. There are three options for metering your underground service: meter structures, meter pedestals or meters on the home/building. Prices for these options are dependent on meter type, location, distance, and size of service.

Q: How close does my transformer need to be from my house?

A: This is a trickier question, but you should get the advisement of the Engineering Technician or electrician.  The distance is variable based on size of wire and the projected load.  The closer the transformer is to the service or house (meaning your panel box) the better. The further distance between the transformer and panel, the larger the chances of having voltage drop. Voltage drop is the fluctuation you see when one appliance kicks on, while another dims or slows down.

Q: How do I get on the “schedule” to get the installation going and completed?

A: We really don’t “schedule” jobs per say, simply due to the nature of our work. Unforeseen outages, weather and ground conditions can affect our ability to do new construction work.  Our “scheduling” is more like a “list”, being that is based on a first-come first-serve basis, yet circumstantial.  For example, if you are wanting an underground installation, it may take longer for us to get to it because of how wet the ground is for our equipment. In contrast, if you are requesting a simple overhead installation along the road we may be able to get to it sooner because ground conditions are insignificant.

Q: What has to be completed before my service request can be put on the list?

A:  Aid-to-construction fees must be paid, easement(s) signed and notarized, membership application completed, private utilities exposed (if needed), metering loop or structure built, trees/brush cleared and driveway installed (all if applicable).

Q: What if I want to have my existing overhead line buried or want my line relocated?

A: The cost of construction can be billed to the member in the amount equal to 100% of the actual cost.

Q: Why would I have to pay for that?

A: When the service was initially installed, the discounted amount was already applied. Moving forward, if not at the request of the Cooperative or not in compliance with the easement, it will be the member’s responsibility to pay the full amount of line relocations and modifications.

Q: What would it cost to add a dusk-to-dawn light?

A: To add a dusk-to-dawn light to any meter pole is at no cost, just the monthly billing/usage cost of either the 100W or 250W light (or equivalents) of choice.  To add an area light, to a pole with no secondary wires or a transformer, will have a one-time $750.00 non-refundable transformer termination fee associated with it.  To have one of our lights hung and on a new pole, set within 5’ of your proposed or existing underground boxes, will be a flat $555.00 to install at time of new construction.  For any other scenarios, restrictions and/or questions, please contact an Engineering Technician to evaluate.  The small LED security light is $11.00/month, and the large LED security light is $13.00/month.

Updated 1/5/24

*Costs and prices reflected above can change at anytime, so please contact one of our CSRs for billing questions and estimates, and our Engineering Department for installation costs and estimates.

Who Owns What Equipment

Overhead vs. Underground

There are two methods of installing the power lines that carry electricity to your home, overhead and underground. Egyptian Electric Cooperative members sometimes ask why we use one versus the other, or more to the point, why all power lines are not installed using the underground construction method. Isn’t one method better than the other? These are great questions, and the answer is that each method has its place.

Overhead line construction starts with the setting of utility poles. Poles can be set in nearly any type of terrain, even rocky. In the case of heavy rock, special equipment is used to augur out the hole. If placement occurs in boggy or wet terrain, many techniques are available to set poles securely. Once the poles are in place, wires can be strung and then equipment––like transformers, fuses and reclosers­––are installed. Power can now flow.

Underground line construction requires digging a trench that is deep enough to keep the lines well away from surface activities. Where the terrain is extremely rocky, underground lines may not be an option. Next, wires are laid in the trench directly or placed in conduits for protection. The trench is filled in, and the surface is restored to its original condition. Padmount transformers and additional equipment are installed as needed, now the system is ready to deliver electricity.

Determining if power lines should be overhead or underground boils down to what is best for the situation. Underground lines might be ideal in situations where there is a desire to keep the poles and wires out of sight, such as a residential neighborhood, park or historical area. There are many cities and towns that construct only underground lines for a variety of reasons.

Overhead systems work well when appearance is not a major concern. Examples include extremely long line distances across country, where the voltages are higher than the limitations set for underground lines.

The ultimate mix of underground and overhead construction used by Egyptian Electric Cooperative provides you, our members, with the highest possible quality of service at the lowest possible price. Cost, appearance, reliability, maintenance and future upgrades will drive which is the better approach, overhead or underground.