There’s no getting around it, there are a lot of steps to adding new electric or natural gas service. But you can avoid needless delay, costs and frustration with careful planning. This page outlines some of the most common pitfalls in the service connection process, and how to avoid them.
Research Your Property Rights
Property rights delay installation of new energy service more often than any other factor. Property rights include easements, right of ways and permits.
One of the best ways to help your service installation move forward is for you to contact your neighbors early in the process to obtain required easements. Your Project Coordinator can give you suggestions on how to go about contacting your neighbors. It is well worth your effort, to help avoid potential delays of weeks or months.
If you haven’t purchased property yet, we recommend you investigate needed permits, easements and Right of Way documents before you purchase.
Do You need to Install Conduit?
When to Install Conduit
Installing conduit could save you money and help avoid possible installation delays. We cannot trench or bore on a site without valid Miss Dig staking. But if you or you contractor install conduit per code, it can speed up installation and nearly eliminate need for Consumers Energy crews to have valid Miss Dig staking.
While we don’t know what your contractor would charge to install conduit, it may reduce your installation cost to have it installed prior to the installation of your energy service. For instance, if we need to install your service in the winter the cost-per-foot increases $3 a foot. If you or your contractor install conduit ahead of time it can save you this cost.
Conduit Best Practices
When installing conduit, it shouldn’t be too large or too small. Bigger is not always better. Use the green button to the left to download guidelines for proper sizing and installation of conduit.
Electric secondary lines must be at a depth between 30 inches and 48 inches to final grade. Gas conduit must be a minimum of 24 inches below grade but no deeper (without permission) than 48 inches.
When using PVC pipe, make sure it is the proper type for your installation:
Electric: Gray colored electric grade conduit
Natural Gas: White or Gray conduit is acceptable for natural gas conduit
Avoid bends if at all possible
If a bend is necessary, you must follow bend radius instructions
For instance, if using a 1 inch ID conduit for a 5/8 inch natural gas line, bends must have a minimum radius of 36 inches.
We recommend that you fill in the hole once conduit is installed. Our crews will dig up the ends of the conduit during installation.
Run nylon string out of both ends of the conduit to mark its location
Bury conduit with string exposed
How to Prepare for Installation
Be aware of the planned path for underground service and keep it clear (unless conduit is installed). Plan on how our trucks will access your property from the energy mains to your site. Make it easy for our crew to access the building site; keeping those routes clear as well.
Our installation team will call MISS DIG 811 to mark your site. However, if you notice missing stakes, damaged stakes or underground lines that haven’t been properly marked, please notify your Project Coordinator, who will call for a re-stake.
You need to have your meter inspected and properly marked with an inspection sticker or we won’t be able to connect to it. Your Project Coordinator can tell you how to get this done.
Maximum depth allowed is 48” for electric service. If trench depth is 44” but there are 6” of topsoil yet to be delivered, this would put depth to final grade at 50”, which be a code violation.
Mark Your Property for Safe and Timely Installation
All facilities must be marked or staked.
If any staking is destroyed or missing; crews will not be able to conduct work.
Another common issue, materials along a marked, proposed trench. This is more common in lake front neighborhoods or anywhere where smaller lots are common, which is one reason owner installed conduit is encouraged.
Gas or electric lines to pool heaters
Water lines to pools or pool filters
Utility lines to outdoor kitchens
Power lines for outdoor pumps or wells
Power lines to landscaping features
Avoiding Issues With Cost Estimates and Payments
In many cases we will provide you with an initial cost estimate for installing your natural gas or electric service. This initial estimate is usually based only on the distance from the main gas or electric lines. Your initial estimate does not include permit fees, boring fees, tree trimming, longer routes or the installation a larger service to accommodate larger loads. PLEASE NOTE: These factors can more than triple the initial estimate.
When you ask us to install new energy service for you, we set up a separate construction account for those cost, a different account than your regular monthly energy bill. Your Project Coordinator will give you instructions on how to make sure your payment goes to your construction account. It is important that you follow those instructions, because if you mistakenly pay your construction fee to your monthly energy account it can delay your installation by weeks.