New Shop building! #5: ARRR! ARRRGH! MORE POWER! (apologies to Tim the toolman Taylor)

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Blog entry by JoeinGa posted 07-02-2014 07:29 PM 3246 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Ramping up the efforts. (more pic's again) Part 5 of New Shop building! series Part 6: They cheaped out on wiring connectors! »

Woo Hoo! I’m finally getting power to the shop.

Georgia Power finally got back with me and they’re telling me it will be OVER $3000 (out of MY pocket) for them to get power to my shop. And that’s doing it with overhead wires.

They want to drop TWO power poles in my yard, one in a direct-line-of-sight to the back corner of the yard, and the other pole will be put right beside my building. The trucks will no doubt do a bunch of damage to my lawn which will be MY responsibility to fix, Plus they will need to butcher my two HUGH pecan trees to run the wires thru them. (Cant have wires touching the trees so they want to “trim” them back 20’ from the wire run on all sides) The wires would run pretty much right thru the center of both trees. He’s also telling me if they do underground, it’ll ”Add CONSIDERABLY to my cost”. I didn’t even bother to ask him to define how much “considerably more” is in actual dollars.

I asked about the possibility of me doing some of the work to save a few bucks (like digging the trench and maybe seeing if I could get the wire cheaper at a local electrical distributor), and he said ”No, if we do the job, we need to do it ALL. Our lawyers wont let the homeowner do part of the job because if something goes wrong, Ga Power would be responsible and blah, blah, blah.”

When I told him I wanted to call a local electrician for a quote, he tried to tell me an electrician would be more expensive than Ga Power, because ”Ga Power is a big conglomerate and we have the means and equipment to do jobs like this blah, blah, blah …” I tell him I’ll call him back when I save some more money up.

So I check with the folks at our church and they give me the number of a local guy who has done work on the church, plus he’s done jobs for several of the folks and they all speak very highly of him. So I make an appointment and when he drives up I swear it was Grizzly Adams (from that old TV show) getting out of the truck!

This guy is a BIG friendly teddy bear of a man. I’m 6’2”, 230lbs, and he made me feel small standing next to him. When he shook my hand I thought I was grabbing a catcher’s mitt!

Amyhoooo, I give him the pencil drawing I did that shows the layout and measurements and we go into the shop so he can see the breaker panel. I ask him to give me 2 quotes. Quote 1. He supplies and does EVERYTHING and the only thing I do is write a check. and Quote 2. I buy the wire and conduit, I dig the trench and lay the wire and he just comes back and hooks up both ends.

2 days later he calls me and says ”Hey Joe, How bout this. You just dig the trench, and I do EVERYTHING ELSE for $1250. That’s $1250 TOTAL price. Tax, tags, title, out the door total including the wire, the conduit and all needed supplies. All you have to do is dig the trench and I can give you the number of a guy who has a trencher he rents at a fair price so you wont have to shovel-dig it.”

Now, as a side note, I DID tell him I had GA Power out but I did NOT tell him anything about their price or what they wanted to do.

So I said ”Give me a minute to think about this.” I waited like TWO SECONDS and said ”How soon can you do it?” Unfortunately the holidays have him backed up just a bit but he says he can be here first of next week.

So this morning I called the guy about the trencher and He says ”$75 for 1/2 day or $130 for a full day”
“Can I come get it now? Yep, ok I’m on my way” Less than 1.5 hours later I have it dug and ready.




This is where the wire will go up into the shop. You can see the white conduit junction box hanging down from the building. The breaker box inside is directly above this about 3’ up.


Back in 10aSEE I used to work for the “big orange box” in the Tool Rental Dept. We rented everything from small electric tools like drills, to concrete saws, to stump grinders, plus bobcats and back hoes. So when I called this guy about renting a trencher, I told him I knew what I was getting into and he had o problem renting it to me. THIS baby made short work of that trench. I have all of about TWO FEET of shovel work at each end and I’m ready for the electrician.


-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

13 comments so far

View tyvekboy's profile


1917 posts in 3465 days

#1 posted 07-02-2014 07:57 PM

How far down did you dig the trench? I hope about a foot down …. donʻt know how deep it supposed to be but when they ran a new power cable to my house (under ground like yours) I swear it was at least a foot down. Be sure you take pictures of where it is or make you a map of the location of the cable. Donʻt want to be digging in the yard and hit it. Of course if your going to be doing some serious digging, you can get MISS-DIG to come out and mark where it is.

So how is Georgia Power going to connect it up? Are they going to plant a pole and run power to the pole down to a meter box? Then your electrician is going to run the power from that meter box to your shop? Did GP sprinkle holy water on this plan?

Been enjoying the blog on your shop.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2459 days

#2 posted 07-02-2014 09:23 PM

Trench is ABOUT 18” deep. The DitchWitch is SUPPOSED to be 24” but the whole bar measured just a tad over that. And there’s no way the whole bar can go underground. The electrician said long as long it’s OVER 12 or 14 inches deep, I’m good.

And Ga Power wont even be coming back to my house. The Electrician is gonna hook directly into my house power. He’s drilling thru the wall and wiring right into my existing breaker box. This house is over 60 years old and everyone says it would have had those “screw in” type fuses when newly built. But we’ve been told by several neighbors that there was a fire quite a few years back and the electrical was all updated to regular circuit breakers then. It had to have been more than 20 years ago, because that’s how long my father-in-law lived here.

I actually live in an area where there’s no inspections required. But this guy IS a licensed electrician, so we’re doing it all to code. He says there’s plenty of power in my house to also carry the load of the shop. It’s not like I’ll be using everything all at once. Plus I’m gonna shut off the power to that 3ton HVAC unit in the shop. I’ll use fans and open windows in the summer, and I have a 220volt garage heater I bought back in 10aSEE that I’ll use in the winter.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View patron's profile


13649 posts in 3793 days

#3 posted 07-02-2014 09:24 PM

now you are talking joe
won’t be long now

had the same problem here in new mexico – twice

once to my previous home and shop
and when i moved here

they waited till they had done their estimate
then told me i had to dig the trench 4’ deep (got a backhoe)
they came and looked – said i needed to lay in conduit
(i had put some 4” under road coming in already
to use road again)
they came back and said i needed to put a rope in it
so they could pull the cable
(i thought they used a ball and string with a vacuum)
borrowed a long snake from a friend

i bought the cable from a different power company

they did their thing – put in a ground box by the house site $2,500
to the meter box i had to hire a contractor for
to a back board i made for that – $750

all together took a full month and a half
the ‘contractor’ was just an electrician it turned out
the inspector had never heard of him

i explained the problem to him on the phone
then called him a week later
turns out he had put his sticker inside the power box
behind the breaker cover where i couldn’t see it
i had to call the power guys back
for final hook-up (he didn’t notify them)

i cut all my 4×4 post for the house (29) with a hand saw
before i was able to use the power
why these people don’t just have a paper on their counter
with all the options for this
is beyond me

it’s all part of the run-around i guess
keeps the ‘mystery’ in their court

and as much of the money as they can get

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View johnstoneb's profile


3123 posts in 2624 days

#4 posted 07-02-2014 09:24 PM

Tyvekboy. 36” is what Idaho power requires. They come out and check it before it is covered. They don’t want anybody getting into it doing yardwork with a shovel.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2459 days

#5 posted 07-02-2014 09:33 PM

That’s interesting Bruce. I’m not too sure I could actually DIG 3 feet down with a shovel. Unless it was something BIG … like a grave :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Tim's profile


3827 posts in 2413 days

#6 posted 07-02-2014 11:36 PM

Very cool you’ll have power Joe. I had to dig some trenches for drainage and when I got sick of doing it with the pick axe I rented a trencher like that. I’ve never been in construction or anything so driving that home was kind of like really, you’re going to let me play with this huge dirt chainsaw? I can’t remember if it had a 36” or 48” bar on it, but it really went a ways down. It was a lot of fun.

View Buckethead's profile


3195 posts in 2320 days

#7 posted 07-02-2014 11:42 PM

Way to go, Joe!

And you stuck it to da man. Added bonus!

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View S4S's profile


2118 posts in 3133 days

#8 posted 07-03-2014 12:03 AM

How’s the….......uh….....guest room situation ?

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 2069 days

#9 posted 07-03-2014 12:11 AM

Looks like your church electrician thought outside the box, IMO there was some divine providence involved.
Under this scenario you are your side of the meter so they have no concern for what you do.
Alex’s suggestion on documentation is well founded as this line would not be marked by the utility location companies.
I’m glad you got a break.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3142 days

#10 posted 07-03-2014 12:36 AM

Congrats on getting over that hurdle without breaking the bank. You soil looks really sandy and it doesn’t look like you dug up too many huge pecan roots.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2642 days

#11 posted 07-03-2014 12:41 AM

glad to hear its coming along.great save on a lot of money.never hurts to check around.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View NormG's profile


6439 posts in 3455 days

#12 posted 07-04-2014 05:33 AM


-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 2001 days

#13 posted 07-07-2014 12:40 AM

I’ve been following this and thought it was an awesome idea for a shop. I had to do the same thing when I ran power to my shop. I rented the trencher, had to go down 36” though. My cousin was the electrician, so that helped a bit. I had to hand dig, in the trench, around the main septic line, under the septic laterals, under the propane line and dig the last foot or so to the building and pole. A lot of work, but saved some money. You’re almost there, you must be pretty excited.

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