Service replacement cost

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Rich B, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    New Jersey
    My electric service cable was severed probably by a truck. I came home from work to find this and no one reported it or stopped. The pole is across the street... a 2 lane road and the wires were laying in the street and still live from the transformer on the pole down to the broken cables in the road....

    I called the police....and a local electrical business that I picked mostly by name and advertising locally.

    They sent a tech within an hour or two.....he took a look.

    The power company showed up about the same time....

    They went ahead and butt spliced the ripped cable and had me back on line in a few hours at most...

    My service is a 200 amp that feeds two meters as it is a 2 family home

    The service and meter pans were 32 years old and I was thinking this was a good opportunity to replace that equipment. I had a probelm at one meter connection not long ago and was lucky to avoid a major problem then thanks to a friend who repaired it....he was a union electrician and jobsite foreman.

    I was given some prices for various materials to replace the servcie. I chose plastic conduit with aluminum cables. New dual meter panel. All new and up to code ground rods and connections to the water piping system. No new panels or breakers.......One man did the job in one day....I stopped by and helped him as he was struggling to get the wires fed up thru the conduit. The new stuff had to jog offset a few feet to allow the head to rise higher than the cable anchor and form a proper drip leg area.......I was happy with the work but felt the price was rediculously high at $3800

    I felt pressed to do it when I signed the agreement. The power was still down and I did not think the power company would do what they did.

    I was hoping my homeowners insurance would help and it appears they will.....


    BUT $3800 !!!! for a Service mast in PVC with 200 amp aluminuum cabling and it's maybe 20 feet......1 dual meter pan and 2 ground rods with proper connections and clamps to meet code....

    A Permit was listed on the bill for $150 .....I decided not to pay in full untill I had a copy of the Permit application and inspection was completed and the service install was approved an stickered....No doubt this will happen as this is a well known local electricial company.....and the work looks fine.....

    I feel this price was more than a little bit high and they took advantage of someone that felt they were in a bind.........but really was not as it turned out......I could have simply re anchored the original SE cable.....

    I will never call them again and the company I work for is one they MIGHT need one day as we are in a field directly related.......

    Opinions ????
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  2. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    In the North East, which I like to think is one of the most expensive parts of the country to get things done as well as being much nicer than the West Coast, I recently paid $2150 for a service upgrade. This included a new meter box, a new service entrance cable, one ground rod, permit fees and a new 200 amp panel (I supplied the breakers). A higher quote was $3000 (for which that company would have supplied the breakers). I did not get PVC conduit which I guess would be more.

    So it looks like you may have paid top dollar, considering you did not get a panel replaced, but you did get two ground rods and a double meter.

    The work was also done in a hurry. You've got to expect to pay more with emergencies.

    Accessibility is important too. Mine was all open since I have an unfinished basement.

    Bottom line: it's probably at the high end if you had got quotes, but nothing unfair.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  3. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Yes I am in the Northeast.......and we are used to being rammed from every direction......

    A similar thing happened in 1978.....In the winter, an ice storm took down the service but that time it was impossible to reconnect.

    I found an electrician and he built a temporary service and got us powered back up

    He replaced everything from the pole down a few days later......New 200 amp SE cable into dual meter pan.....100 amp breaker outside in a Weatherproof box to meet code for one side.....2 new 100 amp panels with breakers inside......all new aluminum SE cable

    Cost back then was around $1000 for the entire job if I recall right......it lasted 32 years except for a bad clip in one meter pan that started arcing a few years ago.......me and my friend fixed it...pulled the meter drilled and tapped a new hole for a bigger screw and it was good ever since....


    I do everything myself that I can and I could have gotten this done as well as I work with 3 people that hold electrical licenses.....

    Time and the ability to get it done quickly was definately the only reason I allowed myself to pay such a high price.....and the fact that it was something on my to do list anyway.......
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  4. enosez

    enosez Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    If you felt the price was too high, you had the option to keep shopping.

    YOU choose to accept this electrical proposal! and the company doing the work as you stated has done everything that was agreed upon.

    Buyers remorse is a little late now. The time to haggle price is before the work is done not after.

    Would it be alright if the company came to you and said we were thinking about the job we are doing for you and becasue of the increase in insurance premiums, we feel that an additional $200 for this job is in order.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,636
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    When someone gives you a price to do the job, as opposed to time and material, he has to anticipate EVERY possible glitch and charge as if it WILL occur. In addition, some companies WILL add a premium if they think the customer is in a bind and cannot take the time to get additional estimates. (In fact, some companies will CREATE the "emergency" and then capitalize on the fact that they are "on site" to take care of it immediately.) Once you sign the contract and the work is done, it makes no difference if he took 2 hours, or 2 weeks to do it, you are still liable for the price quoted. NO FAIR signing a contract and then deciding that the job was too easy and you should only have to pay for the actual time spent. Would you have been okay with him charging EXTRA if something had gone wrong and his price turned out to be too low for him to make a profit? You helping him so he did not have to pay a helper was a bonus, but doesn't count.
  6. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Be glad I wasn't the one doing the job. I think the price is way to damn low
  7. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I work my ass off for people almost everyday.....today was no different......I don't charge a premium to my customers because they are in a bind......I charge them the same as if they were not. I help them when they are in a bind. I servcie and repair equipment that people use to make a living with......Without their .....GENERATORS many of them are not able to do their work and earn a living........I fix electrical equipment....generators...welders......backup generators.....

    I am a professional. I have certifications in my field. We have a large shop and high insurance premiums....We service units as large as 1 MEGA WATT......We work on an endless array of equipment.....and switchgear....LIVE !!!! You think I don't know about electrcity........your dead wrong....

    I answered an emergency call a few days ago. A senior assisted living center down the street from my house had a no start conditon with their EMERGENCY GENERATOR............I got in MY own truck......rode down to them and diagnosed their problem......drove to my shop to get what was needed and got them back up to a normal condition.....Sure they got billed and it would have been a considerable charge.....I was there within a half hour of their problem and had them back up to normal in a couple hours tops......

    I never said I wasn't paying the bill for the service...I never said I didn't APPROVE the charges and sign the contract. I simply asked if it seemed high. I also said I felt they were taking advantage of the situation...I also stated that I helped the young man as he struggled to do the job. I stopped by at lunch time as I work 10 minutes away....He was struggling with feeding his wires thru the conduit....We worked together and got it done....This proves my point it was a 2 man job and the owner sent one man.....he was a capable young man and it was not his lack of ability. He needed help. I am a workman myself and know there are lots of times help is needed. The mast was 15-18 feet high and you can't push and pull at the same time!!!!

    It pisses me off that the owner of the company did not send a helper for even a part of the job as it was definately a 2 man job for part of the work.....

    It pisses me off that the owner does not have the time to show up on the job to see whats happening and he is 5 minutes away.......

    I was an electrician right out of high school.......I know what it takes to do the job and there is very little that would be unusual here......It would not be a stretch to say I could have gotten the job done myself with some help from my LICENSED co-worker friends but I chose to pay a professional and paid HIS asking fee....His tech wrote up the estimate for pricing....He had no negotiating authority....he was just the man sent to the job....I don't haggle.....I either agree or send him away....I agreed and signed the contract....I will pay it in full when the inspection is completed......they are responsible for their work passing inspection and pulling a permit.....When it's done...I will pay the remaining balance. I paid them $3000 up front.....and stipulated the inspection needed to be done and approved befor I'd pay the balance to assure it was done and I did not have to chase them for this......If your a professional you stand behind your work and are confident it will be approved.....

    JWelectric.......If your price would have been higher and you feel I SHOULD have been charged even higher for the servcie....you must be a real fine individual to deal with.

    I would not call you to plug in an extension cord.....
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2010
  8. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    New Jersey

    HJ your assessment is reasonable and logical. I have no problem with your explanation. I was HAPPY to find someone to help and resolve the problem but as you stated they added a premium for the situation.....

    In the past it was unusual to me for the electric company to just hook up a severed servcie and that is what really drove me to sign the contract. I did not think I would be able to be reconnected without new equipment and the Tech leaned me in that same driection. That is what led me to sign the contract without hesitation.........

    In the end it all worked out.....There are obvioulsy an endless supply of electricians who could have accomplished this servcie. I chose one from the phone book.......could have been higher...could have been lower I would guess.......


    Caveat Emptor..........
  9. Bobelectric

    Bobelectric Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    38
    Location:
    Eighty Four,Pa. 15330
    You sounnd like a Cry Baby who couldn't skim the homeowners insuraance. Give me a break!
  10. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I am getting paid from my homeowners insurance.....

    Not crying just stating how I felt about the event.....

    And I learned another good lesson.....


    Don't make a post like this on this forum......My bad.....Stupid me....again....
  11. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Alright, I'll chime in.
    YES, you should expect to pay a premium for emergency work. There is no question to this.
    YES, I think $3800 is way over priced to change the outside HALF of a double 100A service. Even in an emergency situation. Even in NY/NJ metro.
    A full two-100A panel 200A service maybe, but not just the outside portion IMO.

    Rich, you need to read this stuff as advice and opinion. Nothing more. Do not take offense to it. You say you are in a trade and work in the field? I can only assume you have a thicker skin than this.
    Take this as a learning experience. You now know to screen your contractors a little better. Get prices in advance and weigh the options. I think in this recent situation you simply did not have many other options and someone seized the opportunity.


    BTW, nice stock elim ride. Is it yours?
    I have a '70 Nova footbrake car that I unfortunately haven't raced in over 5 years. :(
  12. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    283
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Thanks for the reply Petey and I totally agree with you.

    I no longer have that Firebird.......To difficult to keep up with the time and expense of running NHRA's Stock elimintor.
    I built the engine and tuned it and ran as quick as 10.55 with a F.I. LT-1
    I sold it and have a dragster......7.80's usually.....bracket racing and I also run some S/C events when I can...
    I have had 2 Nova racecars over the years......a '68 back in 1970 and it was the national record holder in H/S 350/Muncie 4 speed
    I also had a '69 back in the '90 s for a couple years......G/SA and H/SA .....350 'glide

    Your signature says NY State...........I have run Lebanon Valley a few times and many years ago raced at Cayuga a couple times as well.
  13. Fubar411

    Fubar411 New Member

    Messages:
    141
    Location:
    St Louis, MO
    I'll chime in. I recently (4ys ago) had a panel, meter base, and mast replaced for $1500 using Cutler Hammer, which is good stuff. I believe you overpaid, but as has been mentioned, you had the option to shop around. Thankfully, insurance is picking up on some of that.

    My only regret is not getting a meter base that has a built in shut-off. That would be a definite nice to have.
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