Temp electric

Not every part of a construction project is especially photogenic, but I’d like to cover all of the major steps of owner-building. So for anyone looking for prettier photos, maybe tune in next week. For everyone else: temp electric!

Every construction site needs electricity to run power tools and other equipment, but obviously a structure that hasn’t been built yet doesn’t have outlets to plug into. Some locations allow the use of generators, but generators are noisy, smelly, and expensive to operate. A better (and often necessary) solution is temporary electrical service, always abbreviated to “temp electric.”

Temp electric

Setting up temp electric is a multi-step process. First, the utility company extends electric service either underground or overhead to the project site. Second, a weatherproof portable power panel with a meter, circuits, and receptacles is installed on a sturdy base near the utility-provided power source and grounded with a grounding rod. Third, the portable power panel is inspected and approved by the city. Finally, the utility returns to connect the portable power panel to the grid and viola–power!

Setting up temp electric at my site wasn’t easy. I had to pay the utility to erect a new pole, and my power panel failed two inspections–once after an electrician had neglected to finish repairing it. That was frustrating. But the pole was necessary to bring permanent power to the site anyway, and it was fantastic to get clean, quiet power to the site so the framers could stop using my generator. It felt good to finally make it through this step, and I think it’s the first time in my life I’ve been proud to receive an electric bill.

Photo taken September 4, 2020. Posted September 14, 2020.

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