Cooperative Installed Service Extensions
The Cooperative will provide service from either overhead or underground service extensions. For most applications, the cost of underground service is greater than that of a comparable overhead extension. All service extensions will be installed and maintained in accordance with the provisions of its filed Line Extension Tariff approved by the Vermont Public Service Board. A copy of this tariff is available upon request from the Cooperative’s Engineering Department. Upon completion of the applicable service application requirements (see Section 3- Application for Electric Service and Additional Service), the Cooperative’s engineering staff will visit the site and design a service extension which will meet the needs of the member.
Primary Overhead Service Extensions
Although Vermont Electric Cooperative normally installs primary overhead, a member may at his or her option choose to install a service extension or engage the services of an independent contractor to perform this task). In the case of a member installed service extension, the Cooperative will make all final connections to equipment owned and maintained by the Cooperative. For member installed service extensions that will be owned and maintained by the member, the meter shall be located on the structure that terminates the Cooperative and member owned equipment. The member will be responsible to own and maintain all equipment beyond the load terminals of the meter.
The Cooperative will not assume ownership and maintenance responsibility for member installed service extensions which are not installed in accordance with the Cooperatives rigid guidelines, and which are not constructed from standard materials used by the Cooperative. The Cooperative’s Engineering Department will provide material specifications and installation specifications to assist members to install their own service extensions and who intend to transfer ownership and maintenance responsibility to the Cooperative upon completion.
Number of Services per Building
Generally only one service shall be installed to a building. Exceptions to this rule may be permitted when the installation of multiple services is required to provide separate metering of portions of a single building, or for special circumstances such as in the case of a separate backup supply to provide standby service for loads requiring an unusually high level of reliability. In such cases, this practice will be permitted only upon approval by the Cooperative and only after receiving authorization by the wiring inspector of the authority having jurisdiction. When more than a single meter is installed, the cost of electricity delivered through each meter shall be computed separately.
Before Construction Can Commence
Before construction of a new service extension can be scheduled, a member must fulfill the requirements for an application for electric service (see Section 3- Application for Electric Service and Additional Service). In addition, the following items must be completed before construction can commence:
- Payment must be rendered in full for the cost of the line extension.
- The Cooperative must be in receipt of a signed and duly executed easement deed granting it the permanent and perpetual right to install and maintain the necessary equipment and Right-of-way.
- All right-of-way trimming or clearing must be completed in accordance with the Cooperatives specifications, and inspected by the Cooperative.
- All agreed upon pre-work by the member or his/her contractor, and the work shall pass an inspection by the VEC representative (call for details).
- In areas designated as telephone maintenance areas, the installation of all required poles by the utility providing telephone service must be completed.
Access to Installation
The Cooperative, as a condition of service, requires the right to enter the member’s premises at reasonable times to permit erecting, removing, operating or maintaining its service facilities, including the reading and maintaining of meters. The Cooperative shall have the right to operate normal utility construction equipment on the member’s premises in the performance of its duty, including line trucks, or other mechanized vehicles where conditions permit. At the termination of service, the Cooperative shall have the right to access the premises of the member and remove all property of the Cooperative whether affixed to realty of the member or not.
Cost of Service Extensions
- Single Phase low voltage electric service from an overhead (under 600 volts) extension of up to 100 feet in length is in most cases available at no charge to applicants for new service of a permanent nature. Applicants, who request service to a meter on a service pole, instead of directly to a building, will be charged for the cost of the service pole and meter installation (see paragraph #10 of this Section for a description of installation responsibility). For overhead extensions which exceed 100 feet in length, for extensions which involve the use of high voltage lines, and for all underground service extensions, the member will be charged the applicable cost under the Cooperative’s filed Line Extension Tariff in effect at the time service is rendered, less a credit representing the cost of a 100 foot low voltage overhead service extension.
- Three-Phase low voltage electric service (under 600 volts) from an overhead or underground service extension is available on an actual cost of installation basis, less a credit representing the cost of a 100 foot single phase low voltage overhead extension.
- High-Voltage electric service is available for large industrial customers, wholesale transactions, or other special applications. High voltage service extensions, where required, will be made available on an actual cost basis.
Note: Relocation of equipment at the customer discretion requires customer to pay the cost of the relocation.
Service Extensions to More Than One Member
The cost of high voltage service extensions which are constructed for and are common to more than a single new applicant or to which additional new applicants are connected following construction, but within a fifteen-year period, shall be prorated among such applicants in accordance with the terms of the Cooperatives filed Line Extension Tariff.
Minimum Size and Maximum Length of Low Voltage Service Extensions
In general low voltage service extensions installed and/or owned by the Cooperative shall be less than 200 feet in length.
For member installed low voltage service extensions, the Cooperative recommends that the total combined length of the service (including that portion on the load side of the meter installed and owned by the member) not exceed 300 feet to avoid excessive service voltage drop and unsatisfactory appliance operation (see Section 4- Characteristics of Service Available).
For member installed single-phase 120/240 volt services, the Cooperative recommends a minimum of 1/0 Al. and 4/0 Al. conductor and 100 and 200 ampere rated services respectively.
Service which exceeds the recommended maximum distance, or which utilizes conductor smaller than the recommended size, may perform poorly and result in voltage levels which are below the minimum acceptable level for most lighting and appliance applications. The most noticeable effect of excessively long or undersized service extensions is fluctuating intensity levels of incandescent lights during appliance operation. The Cooperative will not accept ownership of member installed low voltage service extensions which exceed 200 feet in length, and which do not conform to the standard conductor size and type used by the Cooperative.
Service Extensions Longer Than 200 Feet
In general, where the Cooperative is requested to extend service a distance of more than 200 feet, or accept ownership of a member installed service extension; an extension of the Cooperative’s high voltage system will be required to keep the length of the low voltage service extension to below the 200 foot limit. The Cooperative’s Engineering Department is available to develop construction plans where the extension of the high voltage system is required.
Overhead Service Extensions
Overhead electric service is available from the Cooperative in all areas except those that have been designated for underground service only by zoning regulations, deed restrictions, or other state or local ordinances to which the Cooperative is required to adhere.
Point of Attachment - A low voltage service extension installed by the Cooperative to a building, pole or other supporting structure shall be attached normally at a point at least 16 feet above ground level near the weatherproof service head. The member shall provide and install the service attachment device that has been specified by the Cooperative.
Clearance Above Ground-Low Voltage Extensions - The service attachment device shall be located at a sufficient height above ground level to permit a ground clearance for the service conductors of at least 15 feet. Normally this requires an attachment point to be at least 16 feet above ground level to allow for conductor sag in the service extension or uneven terrain. Where service extensions cross roadways, navigable waterways, or railway tracks, the service extension shall be designed to accommodate a minimum ground clearance as follows:
- Navigable Waterways 18 to 38 feet
- Swimming Pools 25 feet
- Roadways 18 feet
- Roofs of Buildings 8 feet if easily accessible
- Railroad tracks 27 feet
- Farmland, Orchards, etc. 18 feet
Where the building height is too low to permit these clearances, attachment shall be made to a service mast, installed by the member, of suitable height and cantilever strength (see Drawing for mast overhead service).
Clearance Above Ground-High Voltage Extensions - Clearance in excess of that required for low voltage extensions is necessary for high voltage service extensions. The Cooperative’s Engineering Department will review the approved corridor to ensure that proper clearances are achieved.
Member’s Responsibility – Low Voltage Overhead Service Extensions - If the meter is on the member’s building, the member shall furnish and install all equipment below the point of attachment, including weatherproof service head, service entrance cable, meter socket, service ground and all equipment on the load side of the meter. The Cooperative will make the final electrical connection between the service entrance cable and the Cooperative’s service conductors at the point of attachment.
If the meter is located on a service pole supplying a customer owned and installed overhead service the Cooperative will furnish and install the meter and meter socket, conductor, disconnect switch and conduit on the pole. In addition, the Cooperative will attach and connect all service conductors at the top of the pole. The member is responsible to own, install and maintain all equipment beyond the load side point of attachment at the top of the pole.
For services in excess of 400 amperes, the Cooperative will install current transformers at the top of the pole, and furnish and install metering circuits down the pole in lieu of service conductor. No disconnect switch is used on services in excess of 400 amperes.
If the meter is located on a pole supplying a customer installed and owned underground service, the Cooperative will furnish and install all equipment on the pole down to and including the meter socket, meter and disconnect. The Cooperative will pay for the cost of the meter, while meter socket and disconnect will be billed to the member.
Underground Service Extensions
Underground service is available in all areas at all voltage levels, and can be provided directly from either an existing Cooperative overhead or underground system.
Care of Installation - To avoid the inconvenience of a premature failure of an underground service extension, care should be exercised during the excavation for and installation of an underground service. To facilitate replacement upon failure as well as to protect the electric cable, the Cooperative requires the use of rigid 2 ½” PVC electrical conduit be used with all primary installed underground service extensions and recommends the use of conduit in all member installed secondary underground extensions. Material used to backfill the trench must be free of sharp objects or stones larger than 1 inch in size.
Clearance to Other Utilities - In general, the Cooperative recommends a separation of at least 12 inches between the conduit system containing the electric service and conduits containing other services such as telephone or cable television or other utilities such as water lines. Where conduit systems are encased in concrete, such clearance may be reduced to not less than 3 inches.
Depth of Burial - Conduit for a low voltage electric service extension (600 volts and under) must be installed at a depth of at least 24 inches below finished grade. Conduit for high voltage electric service extensions (over 600 volts) must be at least 36 inches below finished grade. Where road or driveway crossings are encountered, the depth of burial must be a minimum of 36 inches regardless of the voltage level.
In cases where bedrock or other natural obstructions are encountered at depths above the minimum burial depths, a suitably designed concrete encasement may be used as an alternative to blasting or other costly excavation techniques. The Cooperative’s Engineering Department will assist members in devising solutions to unusual siting problems. (see Appendix A- Primary Underground Service Requirements item #4 and Appendix A- Diagram of Concrete Encasement).
Topography - In situations where vaults are at an elevation higher than the riser pole an additional vault will be required at the pole to prevent water from entering the riser conduit and freezing.
Loop Feeds - Where a primary underground serves multiple accounts a loop feed from a second source may be required.
Location of Underground Lines - The Cooperative recommends to the extent possible, underground lines be installed along the shoulders of driveways or roadways or in other areas accessible to mechanized maintenance equipment. Where this is not feasible off-road corridors containing underground lines should be kept clear of ornamental shrubs, trees, structures, or other obstructions to facilitate excavation in the event of failure.
Care must be taken to avoid "S" bends and excessively sharp curves in selecting a route for underground electric lines. Where excessive distances curves or “S” bends are unavoidable, intermediate cable pulling vaults may be necessary. The Cooperative’s Engineering Department will work with members to choose a route and design a system that will offer ease of installation and maintenance, at the lowest possible cost.
Member’s Responsibility - If the meter is located on the member’s building, the member is responsible for the installation of secondary conductors, conduit, excavation and backfilling of the trench in accordance with the Cooperative’s specifications. The member must perform backfilling in two installations to permit the installation of conduit at the prescribed depth, and warning tape furnished by the Cooperative at a level approximately 8 inches below the surface.
If the meter is located on a post or pedestal (in the case of member installed service extension) the Cooperative will furnish and install at the member’s expense in accordance with the Cooperative’s filed tariff all equipment associated with the metering location except the support pedestal, stub pole or other suitable device to which the meter socket is fastened. The stub pole, post, conduit, pedestal, conductor, meter socket, disconnect and grounds furnished by the member shall be approved by the Cooperative’s Engineering Department. Wooden posts used for this purpose shall be pressure treated to resist decay, at least 6 inches in diameter, ten feet in length, and set four feet into the ground.
The Member is responsible for all excavation and backfilling required on both sides of the metering equipment. The member shall provide an adequate length of service conductor at the meter location to permit the Cooperative to make all connections to the meter socket. The Cooperative will install slip joint and final length of conduit to encapsulate the member’s service conductors from the meter socket to the customer’s conduit or burial trench.
The member shall own and assume maintenance responsibility for all equipment that he or she is required to install.
On primary extensions, the member shall provide trenches, conduit, vaults, excavation and backfilling where required.
A pull rope with a minimum of 500 lbs. of continuous pull strength shall be provided by the member with any installation that required the Cooperative to install underground wire.
Before the Cooperative can install and maintain service extensions across private property or accept ownership responsibility of customer installed service extensions, an easement permitting the perpetual access, erection and maintenance of equipment must be granted to the Cooperative by the landowner (s). In general, easements for overhead service extensions must provide 50 feet wide corridors, 25’ on either side of center line. A 20 foot easement is required for underground service extensions, 10’ on either side of center line. This means no obstructions of any kind will be allowed in the Right-of-Way.
Member’s Responsibility - Unless otherwise agreed to by the Cooperative, a member requesting a service extension shall be responsible for obtaining the necessary easements for the Cooperative. Standard easement forms are available from the Cooperative’s Engineering Department.
The member is also responsible for the right-of-way clearing in accordance with the Cooperative’s specifications (see Drawing #R1 & R1-I). Right-of-ways must be completely cleared before construction of the line extension will commence.