A problem with undeveloped land is making it livable. With that said, how much does it cost to have electricity turned on on developed land?
Buying land is just the first step. Turning it into something livable is a whole other ballgame. If you’re looking to purchase raw land and then build a home on it, you need to have electricity running through your home. This makes up a significant part of the development costs.
The cost to have electricity turned on underdeveloped land depends on the location of the land. Even though there is no fixed amount, you can expect to spend somewhat in the region of $40,000. The exact number is based on where the location and whether there are public utility connections nearby.
Think about it this way – for each foot of line extension from a power company for a line of power to your land, you will have to pay extra. Sometimes, cables may be passed underground, which can be more expensive. Power line extension can cost approximately $25 to $50 per foot.
Based on our experience with helping people build homes on undeveloped land, we have an idea of the overall cost of turning the lights on. You should note, though, that this is not a one-size-fits-all estimate and should be treated like more of a ballpark figure.
Table of Contents
Figure Out if Your Piece of Land has Utilities
You need to begin with a street address. This will allow you to search online or make some calls to the relevant authorities to find out whether the vacant land has utilities. This is one of the most important steps, as your diligence will help you determine how much you have to pay.
Keep in mind that when buying rural vacant land, don’t expect your chances of public utilities to be as high as if you were buying land in a residential area. Moreover, if you cannot figure out an address, all you have to do is use the GIS maps of the country.
This will help you learn the name of the road your land is located in, along with the nearby addresses and intersections.
After you have secured the parcel number of the assessor, the property address, and the GPS coordinates, you need to start figuring out if there are any public utilities available on the land.
For sewer and water, call the Building Department or the county’s Planning and Zoning Department. This will help you figure out which area is cared for by the public system. If you are looking for power, all you have to do is search the county name “power” on Google Maps.
Once you have found the company’s name, call them and figure out if there are power lines in front of your land. If you find out that services are not provided to your property, ask them what company is responsible for serving the area.
If you can’t find any answers, give the county Planning and Zoning department a call.
Beware of the Term “Nearby”
When looking for undeveloped, vacant land, you might be told that there are utilities nearby. However, be careful because this aspect determines the cost to have electricity turned on undeveloped land.
The term “nearby” is relative and can be seen as vague as it does not really tell you where the utility lines are located. They could be across the street or miles away from your land. Hence, to determine the cost of electricity, you need to know where utilities are located.
Your Location Matters
You need to understand how much the utilities used on the land will cost you when it comes to investing. You can expect to pay between $10,000 to $30,000, based on where your piece of undeveloped land is and how far it is from public utility connections.
Moreover, it also depends on the city you are from as some power companies and cities have a higher price for the services they provide.
This means that if you want to determine the cost of electricity turned on undeveloped land, you should be able to get a fair estimate from a local contractor or from local services.
How to Look for an Estimate Price of Power
To figure out where the closest power lines are located, all you need to do is get in touch with the local utility company. We would recommend against depending on the property seller or the agent as, even though they might have some knowledge, their answers will not be exact.
The general rule is that utility companies charge customers for each foot that needs to be extended towards their property. For example, in Valencia County, the Tierra Grande subdivision quotes a price of $20,000 for each ½ mile.
Hence you must know exactly how far you are from the power lines. The cost of having power lines beside your property is higher than having them a few miles away.
If you are looking to pay lower costs to have electricity turned on undeveloped land, you need to ensure that the power lines are not too far from your land.
It will also be helpful to know if the lines are on private or public property. If they are on private property, you will have to get official permission from the property owners.
Why You Must Find Out Who Your Electric Company Is
Before you buy undeveloped land, you must figure out who your electric company is. This might take a lot of research about your property. Now, you might have to witness electric companies fighting over who you emailed first and who would like to serve you.
To understand who your electric company really is, talk to the landowners and ask them about the general area you are buying in. Hopefully, the owners will be able to guide you to neighbors you can check with.
If this does not work, start searching for utility poles that are close to your property. You may be able to find these on road intersections along with a card that has the name of the electric company on it. You can also find the information you need on a website called In My Area.
The most important thing to do is to get in touch with the electric company you think is the candidate. Ask them about your undeveloped land and check if they serve it. If they do not, ask their advice for which company might be able to do so.
How Much Will It Cost to Have Electricity Turned on Undeveloped Land?
To find out the cost to have electricity turned on undeveloped land, you need to be aware of who you are dealing with. Even though the cost will depend on several factors, the main thing you need to figure out is the policy of the electric company.
Here are some things to know:
- The distance from your land location to the closest pole. The more the distance, the more trenching and wirework will be involved, which will drive up costs.
- Whether a new transformer needs to be involved. A transformer is the big device on the pole responsible for converting voltage from a bigger transmission line to the right voltage so that it can power devices in your home.
- The number of poles that will need to be set, along with the wire that will need to be run. You should also find out how long the trench that needs to be dug will be.
- The vegetation that will have to be cleared.
- Where the power to the undeveloped piece of land will come from – will it come from underground wires or from overhead ones?
You might even find that the electric company is willing to provide some wire and trenching. However, if more of these are needed, you will have to pay the additional costs. The policies depend on the electrical company that is allocated to provide electricity to your land.
Installing a brand-new electric service can be anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.
Running a New Electric Service – How Does it Work
When you are trying to get electricity installed on your land, you will have to do more than just write a check. The further in the country you are, you will find that logistical issues become more complicated, and the electric company’s bureaucracy has weirder rules.
Usually, the electric company will send an engineer who can view your property and determine how new power lines need to be run.
The engineer will also make a note of the route the electric lines will take, as well as any additional requirements needed to clear out trees and other obstacles necessary for the electric line to be in place.
Then, you will have to sign a “contract for service” as a promise that you will buy electricity from the electric company.
Usually, electric companies require clients to put in the slab and foundation before electricity is installed in the area. Even though you might not like this, electric companies have been lied to a number of times before by people who say that they will use the land and pay for electricity each month.
When wires are installed, and the company pays for whatever else is needed, they find that the person never intended to buy any electricity, let alone build on the land.
What to be Aware of When Dealing with the Electric Company
Here is what you need to do when in touch with the electric company looking to bring electricity to a piece of undeveloped land:
Get Phone Numbers and Names
Once you have met the engineer dealing with your case, remember to get their phone number and name.
Ask the engineer to make notes on what is being spoken about, what the company’s responsibilities are, and what you, as a client, are required to do.
We recommend this because there are loads of times when clients follow through on what they have been told to do by the engineer. However, they are later told that they made mistakes. This causes the client’s money and time to go to waste.
It is not uncommon for electric companies to hire contractors from the outside to do the clearing for new electric lines. However, miscommunication between the two is guaranteed. If you want to help, all you have to do is communicate between them and ensure that they are kept in the loop.
Moreover, you can follow up with the contractor and electric company on a daily basis so that nothing goes wrong.
Ask for a Record
When the electric company needs to get an electric meter installed, they will have to inform the county or city so that an inspection of the temporary pole and wiring can take place.
When this happens, the company will receive a record of the successful inspection, which will allow the electric company to set the meter.
When following up with the company, you must keep asking them if they have received the inspection results.
You should be aware that electric companies can lie and say that they have not received the results. This process will require you to be patient and keep following up so that there is no miscommunication in the future.
One Last Thing - Remember to be Patient
Now that you have a rough idea of the cost to have electricity turned on undeveloped land, you must remember that this process can take more time than you expect. It may even take more time than you have been promised, so it is best if you do not stick to the exact timeline.
As a fair estimate, keep in mind that it could take months for the electricity and other utilities to be installed on your land.
The process of getting permits can get frustrating. In fact, it could take weeks and months and several attempts to follow up with each required department. We understand that you might want to make plans based on the timeline, but keep in mind that delays occur.
In the meantime, you can also figure out multiple approaches that can be taken to ensure a smooth timeline.
For example, if underground lines have to be run instead of overhead lines, keep in mind that this will take longer and cost more, which means that it could take months for the power to reach your land. Hence, make your future plans accordingly.
If you want the lines to run overhead, you may also have to ask your neighbors if you can put power poles on their property to help electricity reach you faster. This agreement could take another couple of weeks.
Whatever the case, it is important to be realistic about the time and cost to have electricity on undeveloped land. Don’t pay too much attention to your personal timeline, and instead, prepare yourself to be flexible enough to deal with the changes coming your way.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling