« More from News for Nerds - Heat pumps | Main | Summary of the week - 7/10/2021 »

July 09, 2021


Our 230v mains power comes underground from the substation/transformer at the end of the street 50 meters west which serves the whole village. Our TV (50-odd channels) comes via rooftop dish from a satellite; that said, about 60% of the village changed over to glass fibre last year for TV, telephone and internet. We stayed with Cu wire DSL lines underground for Phone and Internet, with a 16 Megabaud bandwidth contract; cheapest option. There is a mast up on the hill for mobile phones. No public WLAN, just mine and four neighbours reachable from my router (mine is encrypted). Water and sewage underground; gas too for those with gas heating (mine's oil, delivered by truck annually.

See, there is your problem, you are looking for residential electrical codes. That does not really return what is outside the building (the incoming lines).

According to a 2018 "Conservation" article (https://theconversation.com/why-doesnt-the-u-s-bury-its-power-lines-104829 ), on average it cost $1 MILLION to bury 1 MILE of electrical. But can be as little as 1/2 that or as much as 3x depending on the location. I imagine retrofitting in populated areas would be on the high side. Also, I would guess any electrical issues that arose in populated areas would entail a high cost for repair as roads/sidewalks may need to be dug up just to find where the issue is (not to mention the disruption to traffic/pedestrians/businesses). With utilities above ground, it is usually pretty easy to figure it out.

There are pros and cons to either method and what would work well in one area might be a nightmare in another.

Stu--Do your meter readers need to come into your house to read the meters or do you have smart meters or something else (no meters?) Some of our neighbors have/have had satellite dishes for their TV reception. As for internet service, we switched to cable on it a mere 10 years ago (seems much more recent than that). Our city's subdivision regulations require that all new residential subdivisions include underground electrical and telephone wiring.

Bogie--You've just cast a vote for the further posting that I was considering. Thanks. BTW: As I recall, when we bought the two lots upon which our house now stands, it cost us a couple of thousand (Year 1999) dollars or so to have the utilities boxes that were located "between" the two lots (smack dab in front of the front door in our plans) relocated to the "outer" side of one of the lots - between our lots and the neighbor's lot. I don't recall the amount of the "special assessments" against these lots (or for the lot on Sunrise Ct or for the lot in Bellevue, Washington, for that matter) to cover such things as the underground utilities.

We have drive by meters. Radio or blue tooth. I don't remember.
For water, gas, electricity. I still read my meters on drive by day so I can check the bills.

Stu - that is dedication, reading your own meter!

I just look at my bill and pay it. I have a really good idea of the range it should be in. Well, until I put in the mini split. I'm awaiting my next bill to see how that affects the usage.

I have a smart meter (put in a couple of years ago) and I have no idea what date they pull the data. I do know however, that my December bills (that come out in January) more accurately reflect my usage. Used to be that those bills would jump massively - which told me the meter reader didn't actually check but that they "estimated" usage. How could I tell, you ask? Because I don't do Christmas so there are no extra lights or usage and the pellet stoves aren't working that hard yet. The January bill would then massively drop to below what my actual usage would have been - that time of year being when both pellet stoves are really cranking because of the below 0*F temps on a regular basis. Then the February bill would normalize to what I would expect.

Stu--Thanks for the info on how things are in your area. In the olden days, I recall our having to let the meter reader come into our basement; but, that may have been only for one meter rather than all of the meters. As an adult, I've never had an indoor meter as far as I recall. For this house, at least some of our meters are smart meters. I don't pay much attention to utilities since, for the past 31 years, HH has been paying the utility bills as the major portion of his contribution to our joint expenses. When we were both active volunteers and subject to our both being out of town for extended periods, HH began having the utility bills paid directly from one of his checking accounts and he has, over the years, lost interest in paying attention to them.

Bogie--At least your bills haven't been like the first electric bill that I received at one of my apartments in Hacienda Heights, California, for $9,000+! Adjustments, now and then, for estimates are expected - at least they are expected around here. Are your pellets a major part of your utility expenditures?

Pellets are a major part of my "utilities". I don't know how much I actually spend since I get a portion from CL sales. But if I were to get 5-6 tons each season (what I usually burn), it would total $1,250 - $1,500 per year. Electric bill goes up of course, but never had it go over an extra $40 (except those Decembers they estimated - LOL)

That is nothing compared to what I was paying to run the propane boiler the first winter I was here. I was paying $1,000/month to heat to 64* - for main floor only since FHW does not run in basement. Granted, propane was high that year at $5.50/gal (and looks to be higher than that this year). The years in between it was running about $3.50/gal. Judging from my tank fill up for the DHW in fall and spring so it still would have cost at least $600/month. Not to mention I like it warmer than 64*.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Support Wikipedia