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Questions on adding power service to a recreational property

Questions on adding power service to a recreational property

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  #1  
Old 04-01-14, 04:28 PM
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Questions on adding power service to a recreational property

First a little background.

Our family owns a small (1 acre) recreational/camping property which has sewer, water, and HAD power.

The power was supplied via overhead wires to a power pole and down into a meter/outlet box. The old power pole fell down about 15 years ago and the power company rolled up the wire and hung it in a tree at that time. It's still there to this day.

We've decided that we'd like to get power to the property again and have started speaking with the power company about it. They now require underground service, which isn't too big of a deal. We've found someone to do the trenching for us and have all of the issues between the power company and the actual meter box handled.

What I need advice on is where to find a suitable power box. THIS is the box that I want to use, but the power company says they only allow ring-type meter boxes so that box won't work.

I'm having trouble finding a similar box that is ring-type, allows for underground power, and has the capability of holding a 30a RV style outlet and 2 20a duplex GFCI outlets.

The only things I can find are from Platt and they want over $300 for them, more than double what Home Depot is selling the ringless ones for.

Can anyone recommend a supplier of ring-type outdoor temporary/rv power boxes similar to the one linked above?
 
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  #2  
Old 04-01-14, 05:36 PM
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Your power company should have a complete list of approved meter bases, probably with illustrations. Check with them.

The link in your post goes to a temporary power outlet box that also has a meter socket. That doesn't look like something a POCO would usually accept as a permanent installation.

Check at the larger electrical supply houses in your area. Home improvement centers basically stock a few contractor-level enclosures as a convenience for the pros who stop by occasionally. The supply houses supply those folks all day every day and they know - and stock - what the POCO will accept.

Also, why do you need an all-in-one solution? I would mount a meter base, a main disconnect and the outlets I needed in as few separate boxes as I could make work. That way, you can also install in-use covers over your receptacles. The box you linked to doesn't provide that, and you need it.
 
  #3  
Old 04-01-14, 06:00 PM
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I've found THIS box now at Home Depot and it looks like it's something that would work.

This is purely a recreational property. The box will have something plugged into it just a few days out of the year. Typically one or two trips for a week or less with a camp trailer. Perhaps an extension cord to a stereo around the campfire. This is in no way intended to be used as a permanent power source.

Here are a couple poor pictures of the box that we had there that had overhead power.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]29294[/ATTACH]
[ATTACH=CONFIG]29295[/ATTACH]

Why would you not want to use an RV box such as this for this application? It seems that they are made specifically for what we are doing...
 
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  #4  
Old 04-01-14, 06:13 PM
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Also, why do you need an all-in-one solution? I would mount a meter base, a main disconnect and the outlets I needed in as few separate boxes as I could make work. That way, you can also install in-use covers over your receptacles. The box you linked to doesn't provide that, and you need it.
I agree 100%. A couple of 4x4's on the ground with some treated 2x6's to make a mounting board would be a easy install. I would install an outdoor panel to provide all the circuits you need.

Besides a ringed meter, your PoCo might also want a meter socket with a bypass handle. Be sure to check on that. Although I find it a bit odd that they want a ringed meter as all the ones we install are of the ringless type.
 
  #5  
Old 04-01-14, 06:24 PM
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That's exactly what I wanted to do. Install one of those boxes on two treated 4x4 posts, supply goes in the bottom. We can plug in a camper or an extension cord a few times a year.

I read about ringed vs ringless boxes and it appears that ringed is a western thing, ringless is more eastern, and the midwest uses either one. Seems odd to me that different parts of the country use different boxes, but I guess that's how things go sometimes...

What is the advantage/reasoning for using multiple boxes instead of one that's got all the items in one box?
 
  #6  
Old 04-01-14, 07:17 PM
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What is the advantage/reasoning for using multiple boxes instead of one that's got all the items in one box?
With separate boxes and a main disconnect between the meter ant the receptacles, you can kill the power and work on the receptacles any time you want to. In addition, if you install a lockable disconnect you can lock the power off to prevent unauthorized use when you're not there. Finally, as I said before, you can install in-use covers over your receptacles, so that you can keep everything plugged in right through a rainstorm. I notice that your old setup had two boxes and that the one with the receptacles in it had an in-use cover. That must be installed for a safe, and code-compliant, setup.
 
  #7  
Old 04-01-14, 07:22 PM
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The old box is actually a single box, it just appears that it's two items.

I would definitely padlock the lower portion of the box when we aren't around, but the power company says they will turn the power on/off for free whenever we want. We'll likely just turn it on when we're going to be there, then turn it back off when we leave, or when Summer is over.

With separate boxes and a main disconnect between the meter ant the receptacles, you can kill the power and work on the receptacles any time you want to.
Wouldn't turning the individual breakers off accomplish this?

I'm not trying to be argumentative here, so please don't take it that way.
 
  #8  
Old 04-01-14, 09:42 PM
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I agree 100%. A couple of 4x4's on the ground with some treated 2x6's to make a mounting board would be a easy install. I would install an outdoor panel to provide all the circuits you need.
I did something similar for my setup which I'm about to show you. While I don't have a meter because I'm generating my own power, the setup is relatively the same. I got an 8-space copper buss panel and mounted it on a piece of 3/4'' treated plywood. Then I back-fed a main breaker using a hold-down kit. I then used 2 20A breakers for the lighting, with another 2 for GFCI outlets and a double pole for a L14-20 and a 6-20 so I can either use multiwire circuit cords or my 3KW 240V fryer. While it got temporarily (against code don't think about it) mounted to a tree, you can see the 4*4 posts in the background for when I get time to mount it nicely and run an underground feed to a remote location so you don't smell burnt fuel.

 
  #9  
Old 04-01-14, 09:57 PM
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Nice job Justin

The only thing I'd change is to leave drip loops at the UF's on the right side of the panel so the water won't run in. Those connectors are rarely completely water tight.
 
  #10  
Old 04-01-14, 10:24 PM
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The second box you linked to looks like you can close the cover over the receptacles while cords are plugged in. If so, that would work.

I did something similar for my setup which I'm about to show you.
Nice-looking job, Justin. I agree with PJ about the drip loops - couldn't hurt.

Logan, the two separate boxes with receptacles and in-use covers that are below the panel in Justin's photo are what I was talking about earlier. Those guarantee that cords can stay plugged in during a rainstorm. If the RV meter-base-with-receptacles box you found will do that, it should do what you need.

Can the lower portion be padlocked?
 
  #11  
Old 04-01-14, 10:25 PM
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Yes, the lower portion of the boxes can be padlocked to prevent access. Also as I said earlier, the power will be shut off by the power company when we aren't on site to use it, so nobody can 'steal' our power or tamper with the box without doing quite a bit of damage to it.
 
  #12  
Old 04-02-14, 01:23 AM
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Where in Washington state is this property located and/or what is the serving utility? Ringless meters are the norm and I imagine it must be a small utility if they are requiring a ring-type meter base and are willing to connect and disconnect power for free.
 
  #13  
Old 04-02-14, 06:51 AM
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RV Power

I would suggest that you include receptacles for both 30 amp and 50 amp RV connections just in case you upgrade or a friend with a 50 amp rig wants to use the site.
 
  #14  
Old 04-02-14, 07:11 AM
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The second box you linked to looks like you can close the cover over the receptacles while cords are plugged in. If so, that would work.
Yes, it would work if it was another overhead feed, but this is now an underground fed service. How were you planning on getting the underground feed past the lower section and into the metering section? This second box looks to also be an overhead fed setup. I think you need something like this.

GE RV Earth Buried Pedastal 100 Amp 120/240 Volt Metered with 30 and 20 Amp GCFI Circuit Protected Receptacles-GE1LM032ES at The Home Depot

Or this one.

GE RV Earth Buried Pedastal 100 Amp 120/240 Volt Metered with 50, 30 and 20Amp GCFI Circuit Protected Receptacles-GE1LM532ES at The Home Depot
 
  #15  
Old 04-02-14, 03:05 PM
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Would you not just run the wires past the other stuff and into the metering section? Even the old box I have (which is too far gone to use) has knock-outs on the bottom and the top.

The boxes you linked have the same description for knock-outs as the much more compact one I linked.

"Broad range of concentric knock-outs to accommodate wiring needs"
 
  #16  
Old 04-02-14, 04:22 PM
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The pedastals Joe posted is what is normally used in the lakes area to the north. Normally the power company up there is the one that supplies it. I didn't even know Big Orange sells them. Nice find Joe! I think that is exactly what Logan needs.
 
  #17  
Old 04-02-14, 04:40 PM
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Why would a super long box/pedestal like that be better than a more compact box?

I would like for the box to be somewhat hidden from potential vandals, so I figured a compact box would better suit my needs. Is there a reason that box is so long?
 
  #18  
Old 04-02-14, 05:13 PM
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The box is the post. It goes all the way to the ground. I doubt it is more then four feet high installed. Paint it green and plant a bush between it and the road.
 
  #19  
Old 04-02-14, 06:15 PM
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Ahh, I see.

Well this is a lake property and the water table is VERY high. I'm sure if you were to dig right now you'd hit water within 1ft of the surface.

I would rather replace a couple treated 4x4 posts every few years than replace a rusted out box...
 
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Old 04-02-14, 07:07 PM
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I'm sure if you were to dig right now you'd hit water within 1ft of the surface.
Does the power company know this? Most cases they trench their wire 2' or more down in the ground.
 
  #21  
Old 04-02-14, 07:13 PM
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Yes, they know. They've been out to the property already and met with the guy doing the trenching. They require a 24" deep trench.

The ground water is very high in the winter/spring when the lake is high, but it goes back down in the summer months. Year round it's very damp in the area simply because it's lake front property in the northwest. I wish they'd of just let us use the already existing overhead setup, would have made all of this much easier!
 
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Old 04-02-14, 08:06 PM
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I wish they'd of just let us use the already existing overhead setup, would have made all of this much easier!
Agreed, however it will be less prone to damage in the ground.

Go with a 200 amp meter socket that the PoCo approves, then install a small outdoor panel along side next to that connected with a short nipple. Then just drop out of the panel bottom with a couple of weather proof boxes and receptacles that you need. This will give you the most power, and most flexibility later in life. Costwise it will be about the same, just a bit more on the labor end.

However your last link looks like it would also work for you.
 
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Old 04-02-14, 08:20 PM
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Logan80

Would you not just run the wires past the other stuff and into the metering section? Even the old box I have (which is too far gone to use) has knock-outs on the bottom and the top.
Nope, the unmetered utility wires feeding the service cannot run through the bottom customer wiring section and will be sealed in the metering section. The equipment you asked about was similar to the old equipment, for an overhead service.
 
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Old 04-02-14, 08:35 PM
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I suppose that you could make that all-in-one box work by running the power up above the top of it and then in. But that's a PITA and you're stuck with what's in the box. Build it the way I suggested earlier and Tolyn improved on and you'll be much happier with it.
 
  #25  
Old 04-02-14, 09:05 PM
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You're best getting a small load center and separate meter pan and receptacles. Then you have the flexibility to upgrade as your needs change. Believe it or not, I started out at my land with 2 20A gfci receptacles, and believe it or not, this panel is now one of three. (the other two are on hand trucks and fed off a 15KW 3 phase PTO driven generator) With those pedestals, you're stuck with a tt-30 and a 20A gfci.
 
  #26  
Old 04-02-14, 09:06 PM
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Nope, the unmetered utility wires feeding the service cannot run through the bottom customer wiring section and will be sealed in the metering section.
If that's the case then how do those long/tall pedestal style boxes work? The service wires would still have to run past the outlets and breakers to get to the meter connection.
 
  #27  
Old 04-02-14, 09:09 PM
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You're best getting a small load center and separate meter pan and receptacles. Then you have the flexibility to upgrade as your needs change.
Upgrading is very unlikely. We've owned the property for over 50 years and it's purely recreational property for camping. We've been totally without power for the last ~15 years and it's not been a big deal. As my parents age however, having power for A/C and other comforts has become something we want to have again.
 
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Old 04-02-14, 09:14 PM
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If that's the case then how do those long/tall pedestal style boxes work? The service wires would still have to run past the outlets and breakers to get to the meter connection.
Most of them are sub-metered off a large (few hundred amps) service owned by the campground.
 
  #29  
Old 04-02-14, 09:16 PM
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If that's the case then how do those long/tall pedestal style boxes work? The service wires would still have to run past the outlets and breakers to get to the meter connection.
There's probably internal chase that the incoming service runs through.
 
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Old 04-02-14, 10:25 PM
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There's probably internal chase that the incoming service runs through.
Ahh, I hadn't thought of that. I've seen boxes designed for above or below ground service. I just figured that you ran the wires past the other stuff to the meter connections.
 
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Old 04-03-14, 12:00 PM
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There's probably internal chase that the incoming service runs through.
Ahh, I hadn't thought of that. I've seen boxes designed for above or below ground service. I just figured that you ran the wires past the other stuff to the meter connections.
Nash is exactly right. You won't see the internal chase till you open it up. The unmetered and unprotected service wiring from the utility is always kept separate from customer wiring for safety and to prevent power theft.

Actually, I like the idea of installing an underground socket and separate NEMA3R loadcenter better than the pedestal.
 
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