Temporary Electric Service Installed - Glad to See the Generator(s) Go!

January 19, 2011 - Since the job began, we have been working with a portable diesel generator. It is loud and stinky and we were limited to where we could work by the length of the extension cord on 220V welder.  On some days we also used a gas generator which made things twice as loud and stinky.  These generators will only let you use120V or 220V, but not both at the same time. We typically used the generator for the 220V, and ran extension cords from the epic studio for the 120V hand tools. This set up often resulted in tripped breakers, and inconsistent power.  Today all that changed...

In December I called the local electric company (Centerpoint) to request temporary power to the building.  Temporary power requires the owner to install a "T-Pole" (temporary pole) no more than 70' from where the service enters the property. T-poles run about $450, and consist of a 16' long pole with a breaker box and meter can attached to it. I tried to buy some used ones on Craigslist, but had no luck.  I was able to borrow one from Darrell Bean, the owner of Fireworks Superstore.  Darrell has a number of fireworks stands, and he had a T-pole he was no longer using in Baytown, TX.  We made the 60 mile (one way) drive, pulled it out of the ground (using a truck jack and chain), and set it up on our property.

After we got an ESI number from Centerpoint for service, we had to call an energy retailer. We have been using Glacial Energy, and had them establish a new account for the building.  Centerpoint is allowed 3 days to install the can (i.e. meter) after they are contacted by the energy retailer (I mention this only to let you know to start the process of establishing temporary power early, because it does not happen quickly).

While Centerpoint will get power to your T-pole, it is the owner's responsibility to get power from the pole to the job site. Tony Ensign, our electrician made a shopping list of electrical components and we headed over to Home Depot.  We decided to make a long extension cord of #6 wire, which is about 3/4" thick and weighs a ton. At the end of the extension cord is a junction box with all kinds of outlets on it, so we now have one central place to plug our wires into.  A 100' roll cost just under $300, but we will recoup most of these costs by selling it when we have permanent power established to the building. In our next post we will add some photos and details of the electrical set up.


Category: Container Building,