Buying electricity from a neighbor....issues?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Schrammdriller, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. Schrammdriller

    Schrammdriller Pumps and well contractor for 25 years

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Angels camp, California
    Running power lines in rural California has become very expensive. Utilities want totally clear space of 80' in width, bare of growth. This is almost impossible in some heavily forested and steep areas. Then the cost of the install is outrageous. My neighbor has an old service from the days when such was free, and is willing to allow me to put a private meter on his pole and take 100 amps worth of juice from his meter.

    It is about 200 feet to my land, which we want underground, then over 2,000 feet to a home site.

    My use would put us into "over baseline" so the cost per KW would be high, and the question of future "disputes" could be solved with a good contract...
    [one would hope]

    Would a step up transformer to make the 2200 foot run [maybe as much as 3000'] be something to consider? Cost to operate? Legalities?

    Bite the bullet and hand the utility a hundred grand?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,809
    Location:
    New England
    Have you considered going off-grid entirely? The costs of photo-voltaics is coming down. Are you high enough where you could augment it with a windmill? You can get those starting at around $10K and up depending on size and power output. You could do a whole bunch for way less than $100K, and maintenance on the systems is likely to be considerably less than the cost to buy the stuff from the utility over the years of life of any system.
  3. Nate R

    Nate R New Member

    Messages:
    472
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Jeez, thats $$$ :eek:

    You should be able to do an off grid system for less than 1/2 that w/o even trying.
  4. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Total system design:
    Conservation - minimize demand. A/C is probably biggest demand.
    Solar and wind -
    Generator, diesel or propane to supplement solar and wind systems
    Battery storage and inverter

    Consider a small (2 to 5 kW) diesel generator with 1800 RPM water cooled engine so you can heat with the waste heat from engine, and also an exhaust heat exchanger.

    Can you get POCO electricity at boundary of your property and then run the 2000 ft to your residence on your own terms? You might run a low current (240 Volt #12 wire) to charge the batteries of your storage system, instead of the generator.
  5. Schrammdriller

    Schrammdriller Pumps and well contractor for 25 years

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Angels camp, California
    I can get the POCO power to my property line out of the neighbors box pretty quick and cheap. Then its 2 to 3000 feet to a point of use. So thats a big hit on wire for that run if underground. What would you guys run on a private overhead line, 100 amps, 3000' long with 240 volts?

    The generator using the heat and KW output of the engine is a great system, but still something to avoid if I can make the run with power at say 12 to 18 cents per KWH....

    Solar yes, for 50 grand, but thats the question - better to spend 20 grand on the wire run and not have any maintenance with 18 cent KW POCO power?

    Thanks for your opinions and thoughts
  6. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I would look at getting a private contractor to run overhead or underground wire at high voltage, and then get your own transformer at your site. You would need a 25 kVA transformer and only two wires from the POCO to the transformer. The POCO could meter it at the transformer or at the pole where it enters your property.

    http://www.distributiontransformer.com/

    It looks like $2000 to $3000 for a transformer. For 7200 Volt primary you would need less than 5 Amps so it would be minimum size wire and the greatest cost would be installation. If it is not so rocky that it requires blasting then it might be best to run it underground.
  7. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,713
    Location:
    Central Florida
    The IR drop over that distance with a 100A load is ginormous. There's an on-line calculator that only goes up to 250MCM wire, and using that it shows an 18% drop, so you need bigger yet. I can't even guess the cost of this stuff, and it weighs about .8 pounds per foot as well.

    As usual, Bob is right on target -- you need your very own high voltage line with your very own transformer at the least, but I'd be looking at solar. I like the idea of just running battery-charging current in from the POCO, but at 2000' you'd only be able to push 1A through 12AWG wire with a 3.3% drop. It's time for some serious design work.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2008
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,253
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    power

    Would your utility really even consider giving you a 7200 volt feed and metering it? Logic says, "not really". Most customers have enough problems working with 240 volts and not getting killed.
  9. Schrammdriller

    Schrammdriller Pumps and well contractor for 25 years

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Angels camp, California
    The utility would not be involved. I am coming out of a neighbors meter box.

    So here is the vision - 300 feet to cross the property line, with say # 2 copper. Feed a dry transformer that steps voltage up to 600 volts. Overhead or underground 2000 feet to home site. Step down transformer to 240.

    100 amps is just a discussion point. It would be rare indeed for use to exceed 50 amps at any given moment. One could design the electrical distribution within the house to preclude the use of large power users at the same time. So perhaps we are designing toward a load more like 30 amps.

    I have a poor wire size calculator, but it seems aluminum around 00 or 1 size would be adequate [?]
  10. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    MN, USA
    600Volts is dangerous in that any arcs will NOT self extinguish. :eek:

    -
    As for legal issues.
    It would be the same as a building owner getting a main meter and then doing there own sub-metering.

    This is fine as long as the meter, and wiring is UL approved and installed per code.

    -
    As for technical issues.

    A 2200 foot run would be very expensive at 600 volts.
    The result would also have power sags and power losses.

    If your neighbor has 7.2KV then it might be cheaper to pay the utility to run an underground 7.2KV line using an easement from your neighbor.

    -
    Option 3
    Generator or use a hybrid car as a generator.
Similar Threads: Buying electricity
Forum Title Date
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Keep Buying DIY Books Jan 9, 2010
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Help buying a generator for power outages Apr 18, 2009
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Question about feeding electricity to house Nov 20, 2013
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Make metal glow with electricity Feb 26, 2013
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Electricity connection to Kohler K-1733 steam generator Sep 18, 2011

Share This Page