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Service poles and electricity pits. What’s the difference and why does it matter?

Something most people take for granted is how their home is supplied with electricity. In housing estates up to around 20-30 years old, electricity is often supplied underground and each house is connected through a ‘pit’ at the front of the property. These ‘pits’ are usually located in the footpath at every second boundary and supplies up to two houses however this may vary slightly depending on your state and electricity distributor.

In older areas, services such as internet, phone and electricity is supplied by service poles long each street. Over the years the rules about how a dwelling can be supplied by a overhead connection have changed considerably.

For most people these changes have little or no impact of your current situation. They are important however if you decide to knock down and re-build or if you plan on doing some major renovations.

At Luke Davis Electrical Services we have almost completed an extensive renovation project in Belmont. The extensive renovations meant removing the existing overhead connection, which under today’s rules, would not pass. This meant it could not go back in the same location as it was too low over a driveway and crossed the neighbouring property boundary by almost 4m, way over the current 2m rule.

There were two options available to the client. Pay somewhere between $6000 to $8500 to have Powercor install a ‘pit’ at the front of the property, which we’d then have to install the new consumer mains underground from the house to the pit, or attempt to connect to the service pole on the opposite side of the street at a cost of around $600. As you can imagine, it was a simple financial decision and on paper looked possible, but in practice could be a different story. Fortunately we were able to meet all of the distributor rules, albeit just, and thankfully Powercor were able to make the overhead connection without a problem but if we weren’t able to meet these current rules, the clients would have been forced to install a pit at considerable cost.

Fortunately these clients were aware of the implications of disconnecting the original overhead connection due to the renovations, and potential costs from the very beginning, and were prepared for the worst, but many others don’t realise this and get caught out financially.

So if you’re thinking of building, renovating or extending in an area where service poles supply electricity, contact us to discuss your options, any potential implications and costs to supply power during construction and once construction is complete.


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