Converting Overhead Power Lines to Underground Power Lines
Frequently asked questions
- Why do I need to hire an electrician?
- Why is there a charge for this service?
- What is the cost to convert my service from overhead to underground?
- How do I know if my electrical service qualifies as a standard residential service?
- Do I need to hire someone to install the FPL-issued underground conduit?
- Should I contact FPL before covering the trench for the underground conduit?
- If I elect to install the conduit myself, what do I have to do?
- Does FPL deliver the conduit to my property?
- Once I have the conduit installed, how long will it take FPL to convert the service?
- How can I tell if there is an existing underground electrical riser on the pole?
- Why does FPL need to know if there are existing underground risers on the pole?
- Is it possible to bury my cable TV and my telephone cables in the same trench?
- What is an inaccessible location?
- Do mobile homes qualify for a conversion of the service cable from overhead to underground?
- I am thinking of building a pool in the future. How does that affect my request for underground service?
1. Why do I need to hire an electrician?
A certified electrician is needed in order to reconfigure the meter enclosure to receive the power from a pipe entering it from the underground and eliminate the overhead pipe.
2. Why is there a charge for this service?
FPL collects a payment for all underground material provided to you and for the labor associated with removing the overhead cable, supplying the new underground cable, pulling the underground cable through the new conduit, and building the casing on the pole that will house the new cable.
3. What is the cost to convert my service from overhead to underground?
Costs vary. If it is a standard residential service (100 amps - 320 amps) and the pole is located on your property, FPL charges $584.45. This charge is all inclusive in respect to services rendered by FPL. However, you will incur expenses associated with the work performed by the electrician, an electrical permit, and the burying of the FPL-issued conduit. (Note: Since this work may trigger building codes that require an older home’s wiring to be brought up to today’s standards, it’s important to check with the proper authorities before getting started.)
4. How do I know if my electrical service qualifies as a standard residential service?
A standard residential service ranges between 100 amps and 320 amps. Additionally, the future underground service would not exceed one bend in the ground. If you are not sure of the size of your service, check by looking at your FPL meter. If you see AC, ACD, ACP, ACR, 5C, 5CJ or 7C written on the meter, then your service qualifies.
5. Do I need to hire someone to install the FPL-issued underground conduit?
No. The conduit can be installed by anyone, even you, as long as proper FPL specifications are adhered to during the installation.
6. Should I contact FPL before covering the trench for the underground conduit?
Yes. FPL needs to inspect the depth of the trench and pipe in order to assure that it meets National Electrical Code standards.
7. If I elect to install the conduit myself, what do I have to do?
Make sure that the trench route meets FPL specifications. Once this is done, call toll-free Sunshine 811 at 811 two full business days in advance to arrange to have the location of any buried lines marked. By law, anyone excavating must follow this procedure to ensure the safety of people and property.
8. Does FPL deliver the conduit to my property?
No. Once payment has been received by FPL, it is your responsibility to coordinate with the local FPL service center to pick up the material. (Note: Make appropriate transportation arrangements since PVC sections come in 20-foot lengths.)
9. Once I have the conduit installed, how long will it take FPL to convert the service?
Appointments typically take two to three weeks to schedule the work. Once the material has been purchased, installed and inspected by an FPL representative and the governing authority, you can request an appointment. Generally, your electrician will be present; FPL will disconnect the existing overhead service upon our arrival and the electrician will make the necessary changes on your equipment. In the meantime, FPL will remove the overhead service cable, build the housing for the cable on the pole, and pull the cable in the conduit. Once the electrician has completed the work, FPL will reconnect the service that same day.
10. How can I tell if there is an existing underground electrical riser on the pole?
When you look at the pole with your existing overhead service, look at the height of the current pole attachment and see if there are any cables originating from that height descending the pole in either a galvanized pipe or a U-shaped PVC guard. If this condition exists, you will need to count how many of these underground risers exist on the pole, and reflect it on the Overhead to Underground Conversion Sketch Form. If there is more than one pipe on the pole, you will need to contact your FPL representative. See examples below.
11. Why does FPL need to know if there are existing underground risers on the pole?
FPL will not install more than two underground risers on a pole because of potential safety issues with our employees. If there are more than two risers, employees are unable to climb the pole. When this condition exists, FPL will issue, at no additional cost to you, an underground box that needs to be installed at the base of the pole adjacent to the existing riser. FPL will then upgrade the cable in the existing riser to serve two properties instead of one. (Note: When installing the underground box or handhole, as FPL refers to it, you will need to enter the 90-degree bend from the pole into the box, leaving a break in the conduit, and extending the remaining conduit from this point on toward the location of the meter.)
12. Is it possible to bury my cable TV and telephone cables in the same trench?
Yes, you can bury all other utilities in the same trench; however, you will need to contact both your cable and telephone providers independently. FPL is not responsible for their facilities.
13. What is an inaccessible location?
If you are unable to drive up to the pole with your car, then that would constitute an inaccessible location. FPL requires this information so that we can bring the right equipment to perform the work.
14. Do mobile homes qualify for a conversion of the service cable from overhead to underground?
No. Electrical codes do not allow meter cans on mobile homes. For more information, contact your FPL representative.
15. I am thinking of building a pool in the future. How does that affect my request for underground service?
If your proposed underground service route is in the back of your property and it interferes with future plans of adding a pool, then your best bet will be to install the pipe around the proposed pool area and as close to the property lines as possible, being diligent in maintaining appropriate safety clearances from power lines to pools. You will need to discuss these clearances with your FPL representative. Also keep in mind that this might affect the cost of the work.