Friday, May 21, 2021

Cost to upgrade underground electrical to 200A service

I was badly misled by online information on this one.  I don't know if that's because a lot of people have overhead service or not, but whatever.

Per Enmax, in the Calgary (non-downtown) area, the cost to update underground service to 200A is about as follows:

•  Transformer on your property:  $4,000 to $8,000

•  Transformer is 1 lot away:  $8,000 to $15,000

•  Transformer is 2 lots away:  $20,000 to $40,000

•  More than 2 lots away, or 2 lots away and across the road: $50,000 to $80,000

Most of this is the cost of underground horizontal drilling and Hydrovac, which obviously increase (steeply) by distance.  Given this I expect the costs would be similar throughout Western Canada.

About the only "good" news is that because they drill, there is no surface disturbance to roads or neighboring property.  But that's not any kind of consolation given the massive cost.

This is for a single detached home in the 'burbs.  Heavily urbanized or rural areas will probably be different.

Note this is just to install a new underground conduit.  Actually pulling a 200A (#1 aluminum) line, hooking it up, permits, new electrical panel or subpanel, etc. are all additional.

As a homeowner, they were not able to tell me the actual size of the existing line - not because they didn't want to, but they (seemingly) just didn't have the information.  But an electrician offered to find out, and it seems that when such requests are made from electricians, Enmax will go out and look at the transformer to see what size is currently installed at no cost.  I don't know how long that takes.

Regardless, if I can't stick with my existing service, any financial rationale for buying EVs just went out the window.  Even with fuel savings, there is no way an upgrade could possibly pay for itself in my lifetime.  

Still, as this article points out, all is not necessarily lost even if  you are stuck with 100A service.  240V 20A is usually enough to replenish daily driving needs overnight.