Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

Hi all,

We are planning to have an 18" wide trench cut across our driveway to provision for new conduit and wiring we will be running for an electrical panel upgrade. We were hoping to continue using the driveway after if possible and I was wondering what the best thing would be to lay over and cover the trench so we can do so. Would thicker plywood be OK? Do I need to get metal plating instead? Ideally we would of course want to just have the trench backfilled and patched back up but I'm pretty sure there's going to have to be at least a few days of lead time for that.
User avatar
CAsage
Posts: 2342
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:25 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by CAsage »

Does your contractor offer any suggestions? I'd just live with it for a few days....
Last edited by CAsage on Tue Jun 21, 2022 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Salvia Clevelandii "Winifred Gilman" my favorite. YMMV; not a professional advisor.
simplextableau
Posts: 153
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:20 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by simplextableau »

https://www.okoffroad.com/stuff-waffleboards.htm

Your local fiberglass grating supplier will be cheaper.
User avatar
celia
Posts: 14672
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:32 am
Location: SoCal

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by celia »

Why aren’t you putting the wiring inside some water-proof pipe that goes UNDER the driveway? I would want to protect the wiring from water and roots.
Californiastate
Posts: 1099
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:52 am

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by Californiastate »

I'd trust plywood across an 18" wide trench for a passenger vehicle. I'd double up some 3/4". Worse case put some dunnage under the plywood where the tires ride. Don't park on it. You can rent a trench plate but it wouldn't be cheap. Either way, test it first.
Last edited by Californiastate on Tue Jun 21, 2022 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
bob60014
Posts: 2439
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:59 pm
Location: The Land Beyond ORD

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by bob60014 »

If it has been backfilled awaiting pavement repair, plywood is usually fine.
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

celia wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 1:52 pm Why aren’t you putting the wiring inside some water-proof pipe that goes UNDER the driveway? I would want to protect the wiring from water and roots.
That's what I meant when I said "conduit" - that's the 3" schedule 80 grey piping that the feeder wires go through until they get to the electrical panel.
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

simplextableau wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 1:48 pm https://www.okoffroad.com/stuff-waffleboards.htm

Your local fiberglass grating supplier will be cheaper.

Oh cool! Those actually look like really handy things to have like if we were to ever drive on the beach.
HomeStretch
Posts: 7969
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by HomeStretch »

While you have the trench open, consider having your contractor add another conduit pipe or two across the driveway and ending just into the lawn (capped at the ends) in case you ever need to run something else under the driveway - for example, irrigation lines, speaker cables, heating cables to melt your driveway snow, outdoor low voltage lighting wires, etc.

Measure and handmark the conduit end locations on your property survey to more easily locate the conduit if needed in the future.
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

HomeStretch wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 2:19 pm While you have the trench open, consider having your contractor add another conduit pipe or two across the driveway and ending just into the lawn (capped at the ends) in case you ever need to run something else under the driveway - for example, irrigation lines, speaker cables, heating cables to melt your driveway snow, outdoor low voltage lighting wires, etc.

Measure and handmark the conduit end locations on your property survey to more easily locate the conduit if needed in the future.
Not sure if this will fly. There needs to be 6" of separation from the electrical conduit if we were to do something like this. The depth of the trench needs to run approx 33-35" or so, so I think if I wanted to do this I'd have to DIY a good portion of it. Our electrician is only laying the conduit and gluing the angles/sweeps/etc - we would have to have the trench inspector come back out to OK everything before we backfill. I think at *that* point I could ask the guys doing the backfill to only fill 6" before I lay more conduit. So I might consider doing something like that then. I just don't know if I need to run anything over to that side. Currently there's irrigation over there already. It's the side/front of the house and there's currently no gate there and it's just a barren space. At most we would be planting in that area I think...maybe build a small storage shed to keep our trash bins? That's about it.
tev9876
Posts: 375
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:12 am

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by tev9876 »

I don't see why this needs to be a long and drawn out project. Just dig the trench, drop in the conduit and back fill immediately. Only reason I could see it can't be driven on within an hour is if they have to wait for a city inspection or something.

Is trenching even necessary? It is possible to tunnel under driveways and even roads without having to break concrete.
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

tev9876 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 2:42 pm I don't see why this needs to be a long and drawn out project. Just dig the trench, drop in the conduit and back fill immediately. Only reason I could see it can't be driven on within an hour is if they have to wait for a city inspection or something.

Is trenching even necessary? It is possible to tunnel under driveways and even roads without having to break concrete.

There are multiple utility lines crossing the front of our yard. Breaking concrete across the driveway is just another factor that is annoying. This is a 60-70ft long trench. I got quotes from several contractors and was going to go with my first two options and both have been flakey with committing to scheduling. Those guys would have included backfilling and patching the concrete. The next person I'm having come out (because the others are unresponsive) will only do removal of concrete and trenching (not sure about backfilling and definitely won't do patching). It's not an inexpensive job - the quotes I received were around $4k (including concrete patch) and this is on the low end. The trench has to be shovel width, 3' deep running nearly the entire 60-70' and needs to be even deeper (5-6' max) at the hand hole. The hardest part of this isn't the electrical work, it's the trenching/demo work. On top of this, there is permitting AND inspection involved from the city and our POCO - they need the trench inspector out to verify the trench is to the proper depth and everything looks right. From 10000' above, it sounds trivial (just dig the trench, lay the pipe and cover it back up) but it's not; especially when you have to coordinate between multiple parties (including the power company, who is way more strict about these kinds of things than other POCOs in the area)

Our driveway is probably 25' in width - there's no way they can just bore a hole under that with the way things are setup - we have a concrete path that splits off from the driveway and front door which totally would complicate trying to bore a hole even more). I asked multiple contractors about avoiding breaking concrete - all of them said it's not possible.
suemarkp
Posts: 874
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:18 pm
Location: Somewhere in WA State

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by suemarkp »

When I dug a trench for a drain pipe under our gravel road, I put 1 1/8" plywood over it while cars were passing and I was digging. The trench was only about a foot wide though. Plywood is also stronger as it gets wider, so maybe get a sheet of inch and an eighth and cut some 30" wide x 48" long pieces to cover the trench for vehicles to drive over (run it long wise, so it well overlaps the trench). Drivers can be paranoid about missing the sheets and driving into the trench, so the wider the better (maybe do 36" instead of 30" wide). You could also screw some 18" long 2x4 cleats under the plywood to keep it from moving forwards/backwards from the trench. I also bevel cut the ends at a 45 degree angle for a tire ramp instead of a vertical edge.
Mark | Somewhere in WA State
andypanda
Posts: 1323
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:11 pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by andypanda »

United Rentals rents road plates, but I have no idea about the price per day or week. They deliver.
Normchad
Posts: 4037
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:20 am

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by Normchad »

jplee3 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 2:07 pm
celia wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 1:52 pm Why aren’t you putting the wiring inside some water-proof pipe that goes UNDER the driveway? I would want to protect the wiring from water and roots.
That's what I meant when I said "conduit" - that's the 3" schedule 80 grey piping that the feeder wires go through until they get to the electrical panel.
Are you are you understand what they are going to do?

Around here, they would be done with the job in just a few hours. And usually, they go under the driveways and don’t disturb the top surface.

But for just a 3” pipe, I’m surprised they are digging an 18” trench. Why not use a ditch witch, that will quickly make a perfect 4” wide trench? This is the tool they use to lay sprinkler pipes in yards for example. Leaves very clean ditches……

Regardless of what they actually do, my guess is they will only disturb your driveway for a single day and get their work done.
RedDog
Posts: 229
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 4:36 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by RedDog »

What about temporarily filling the trench with gravel?

I’d be cost effective and eliminate any possibility of a collapse.
razorbacker
Posts: 96
Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:04 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by razorbacker »

Seems like the trenching contractor would be providing a plate.
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

Normchad wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 5:36 pm
jplee3 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 2:07 pm
celia wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 1:52 pm Why aren’t you putting the wiring inside some water-proof pipe that goes UNDER the driveway? I would want to protect the wiring from water and roots.
That's what I meant when I said "conduit" - that's the 3" schedule 80 grey piping that the feeder wires go through until they get to the electrical panel.
Are you are you understand what they are going to do?

Around here, they would be done with the job in just a few hours. And usually, they go under the driveways and don’t disturb the top surface.

But for just a 3” pipe, I’m surprised they are digging an 18” trench. Why not use a ditch witch, that will quickly make a perfect 4” wide trench? This is the tool they use to lay sprinkler pipes in yards for example. Leaves very clean ditches……

Regardless of what they actually do, my guess is they will only disturb your driveway for a single day and get their work done.
I had to meet with a trench inspector to go over the requirements for the trench. This POCO, SDGE, is pretty strict with their trench requirements. I've been getting quotes from mostly hauling/demo companies on cutting the concrete and digging the trench. I consulted and there's just no way they'll be able to bore under and across 20-30' of concrete driveway versus cutting a straight line across it. The other 'competing' POCO, Edison, doesn't make any of their customers go to this trouble and extent. If new conduit and wiring is needed they handle it as well. It's only SDGE that forces their customers to do all the dirty work regardless of how difficult it is... on top of that we pay some of the highest rates in the nation. My intention with all this is eventually to go solar. But first things first, we need to get this trenching taken care of. Even my electrician was saying he hasn't had to deal with something to this extent in 30 years of doing electrical work, including electrical panels. If *he* is saying this is a complex project, then I believe him. I was working with another electrician prior to this and he backed out because of how much red tape SDGE was slapping on this project. All other electricians I got quotes from were making comments about how much of a headache this is going to be and were also bidding high. The current bid I have between everything is going to put the total cost of this project to at least DOUBLE what a normal panel update/installation should cost. So something that would normally cost $3k-4k to do (electric panel update) is costing me $7-8k. This isn't as simple as it should be...

Basically the trench is going to go from the hand hole pictured below roughly to where the current meter location is - it's going to involve a combination of cutting concrete AND digging a trench... all this with all other utility lines cross (telecom, gas, water) and our sewer lateral. So we need to be very careful... not something I'd want to take up trying to DIY at this point:
Image

We are going to have to find a local concrete contractor who can patch the concrete they cut, which could extend things depending on scheduling.
Last edited by jplee3 on Tue Jun 21, 2022 6:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

razorbacker wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 6:12 pm Seems like the trenching contractor would be providing a plate.

I asked about this and it doesn't sound like something they'd normally do without it being requested. It sounds like it could potentially cost a lot more to have them do this...
RedDog wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 6:00 pm What about temporarily filling the trench with gravel?

I’d be cost effective and eliminate any possibility of a collapse.
I like this idea. Maybe I'll just go this route. Or possibly fill with road base? Would that suffice? I wonder if I could just fill with road base and never worry about patching it lol. Ugly but I don't really care if it saves $$$
Normchad
Posts: 4037
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:20 am

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by Normchad »

jplee3 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 6:12 pm
Normchad wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 5:36 pm
jplee3 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 2:07 pm
celia wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 1:52 pm Why aren’t you putting the wiring inside some water-proof pipe that goes UNDER the driveway? I would want to protect the wiring from water and roots.
That's what I meant when I said "conduit" - that's the 3" schedule 80 grey piping that the feeder wires go through until they get to the electrical panel.
Are you are you understand what they are going to do?

Around here, they would be done with the job in just a few hours. And usually, they go under the driveways and don’t disturb the top surface.

But for just a 3” pipe, I’m surprised they are digging an 18” trench. Why not use a ditch witch, that will quickly make a perfect 4” wide trench? This is the tool they use to lay sprinkler pipes in yards for example. Leaves very clean ditches……

Regardless of what they actually do, my guess is they will only disturb your driveway for a single day and get their work done.
I had to meet with a trench inspector to go over the requirements for the trench. This POCO, SDGE, is pretty strict with their trench requirements. I've been getting quotes from mostly hauling/demo companies on cutting the concrete and digging the trench. I consulted and there's just no way they'll be able to bore under and across 20-30' of concrete driveway versus cutting a straight line across it. The other 'competing' POCO, Edison, doesn't make any of their customers go to this trouble and extent. If new conduit and wiring is needed they handle it as well. It's only SDGE that forces their customers to do all the dirty work regardless of how difficult it is... on top of that we pay some of the highest rates in the nation. My intention with all this is eventually to go solar. But first things first, we need to get this trenching taken care of. Even my electrician was saying he hasn't had to deal with something to this extent in 30 years of doing electrical work, including electrical panels. If *he* is saying this is a complex project, then I believe him. I was working with another electrician prior to this and he backed out because of how much red tape SDGE was slapping on this project. All other electricians I got quotes from were making comments about how much of a headache this is going to be and were also bidding high. The current bid I have between everything is going to put the total cost of this project to at least DOUBLE what a normal panel update/installation should cost. So something that would normally cost $3k-4k to do (electric panel update) is costing me $7-8k. This isn't as simple as it should be...

Basically the trench is going to go from the hand hole pictured below roughly to where the current meter location is - it's going to involve a combination of cutting concrete AND digging a trench... all this with all other utility lines cross (telecom, gas, water) and our sewer lateral. So we need to be very careful... not something I'd want to take up trying to DIY at this point:
Image

We are going to have to find a local concrete contractor who can patch the concrete they cut, which could extend things depending on scheduling.
Wow! That sounds absolutely horrible (and expensive). I feel for you.

I know codes and standards vary by location, but holy cow, that’s extreme.
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

Normchad wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 7:01 pm
jplee3 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 6:12 pm
Normchad wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 5:36 pm
jplee3 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 2:07 pm
celia wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 1:52 pm Why aren’t you putting the wiring inside some water-proof pipe that goes UNDER the driveway? I would want to protect the wiring from water and roots.
That's what I meant when I said "conduit" - that's the 3" schedule 80 grey piping that the feeder wires go through until they get to the electrical panel.
Are you are you understand what they are going to do?

Around here, they would be done with the job in just a few hours. And usually, they go under the driveways and don’t disturb the top surface.

But for just a 3” pipe, I’m surprised they are digging an 18” trench. Why not use a ditch witch, that will quickly make a perfect 4” wide trench? This is the tool they use to lay sprinkler pipes in yards for example. Leaves very clean ditches……

Regardless of what they actually do, my guess is they will only disturb your driveway for a single day and get their work done.
I had to meet with a trench inspector to go over the requirements for the trench. This POCO, SDGE, is pretty strict with their trench requirements. I've been getting quotes from mostly hauling/demo companies on cutting the concrete and digging the trench. I consulted and there's just no way they'll be able to bore under and across 20-30' of concrete driveway versus cutting a straight line across it. The other 'competing' POCO, Edison, doesn't make any of their customers go to this trouble and extent. If new conduit and wiring is needed they handle it as well. It's only SDGE that forces their customers to do all the dirty work regardless of how difficult it is... on top of that we pay some of the highest rates in the nation. My intention with all this is eventually to go solar. But first things first, we need to get this trenching taken care of. Even my electrician was saying he hasn't had to deal with something to this extent in 30 years of doing electrical work, including electrical panels. If *he* is saying this is a complex project, then I believe him. I was working with another electrician prior to this and he backed out because of how much red tape SDGE was slapping on this project. All other electricians I got quotes from were making comments about how much of a headache this is going to be and were also bidding high. The current bid I have between everything is going to put the total cost of this project to at least DOUBLE what a normal panel update/installation should cost. So something that would normally cost $3k-4k to do (electric panel update) is costing me $7-8k. This isn't as simple as it should be...

Basically the trench is going to go from the hand hole pictured below roughly to where the current meter location is - it's going to involve a combination of cutting concrete AND digging a trench... all this with all other utility lines cross (telecom, gas, water) and our sewer lateral. So we need to be very careful... not something I'd want to take up trying to DIY at this point:
Image

We are going to have to find a local concrete contractor who can patch the concrete they cut, which could extend things depending on scheduling.
Wow! That sounds absolutely horrible (and expensive). I feel for you.

I know codes and standards vary by location, but holy cow, that’s extreme.
Honestly, this is probably one of the most extreme instances of red tape around an electrical panel that probably anyone will have heard of. I could be wrong but it's really bad. We've come to learn that the homes in this neighborhood are "high maintenance" as well. The only consolation is that we don't have an HOA (or fees) to deal with, but all the high maintenance/expense repairs and upkeep probably make up for it over time.

None of this would have been a problem if our insurance company didn't threaten to drop us for having a Zinsco panel. I guess we could have gone with another insurance provider but after doing some minor electrical work here and stumbling across phantom power in one wall outlet, I decided not to mess around and get our panel replaced with a competent electrician. And at this point, we're going to have to go through the trouble of doing a panel update, we might as well go 'all out' - oh, the other problem here is that the current closet where our existing panel resides isn't up to code because A) it shares the same enclosed space as the gas meter, so they need to be separated and B) the closet itself isn't up to dimensional code to house a panel, so if we want to change the panel at all we have to either make physical changes to the closet or relocate the panel. It's literally a pile of red tape.
User avatar
celia
Posts: 14672
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:32 am
Location: SoCal

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by celia »

Have you asked the electrician if there is another possible solution, such as moving the panel to the other side of the garage or moving the hand hole thing to the other side of the driveway? How does the wiring run as it is now?

It will also be "ugly" if you have to cut the walkway with the steps in it.
User avatar
galawdawg
Posts: 4000
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by galawdawg »

jplee3 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:57 pm And at this point, we're going to have to go through the trouble of doing a panel update, we might as well go 'all out' - oh, the other problem here is that the current closet where our existing panel resides isn't up to code because A) it shares the same enclosed space as the gas meter, so they need to be separated and B) the closet itself isn't up to dimensional code to house a panel, so if we want to change the panel at all we have to either make physical changes to the closet or relocate the panel. It's literally a pile of red tape.
Does this mean that you are not required to replace the underground service lateral? If you aren't required to replace the underground service lateral, do you need to upgrade your service, such as going from 100 amp to 200 amp? Otherwise, why would you want to replace the service lateral? Replacement of a panel box and its components does not generally require replacement of a service main unless you are upgrading service or there is a fault in the service main itself.

If for some reason you do need to replace the underground service lateral, have you confirmed that SDGE does not permit core boring for that installation/application?
bradinsky
Posts: 1031
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:32 am
Location: Ohio

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by bradinsky »

OP,
As asked above, why do you need to replace underground wiring. Unless you are increasing the service amperage, changing the panel out isn’t a huge or horribly expensive undertaking. A real, licensed electrician should be able to change the panel for you in a days time max.
tev9876
Posts: 375
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:12 am

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by tev9876 »

I'm also unclear on why you would need to upgrade your feeder line, even if you are planning on going solar. Have you also looked at how much it will cost to replace your landscaping after they dig up most of your front yard and potentially damage trees?

Looks like there are also retrofit kits available for Zinsco panels: https://www.baypower.com/blog/replacing ... -breakers/

By keeping the existing metal box and replacing the breakers and other guts of it you may be able to remain grandfathered to the old code requirements for enclosure space while also making insurance companies happy. It is not like every house in the country has to be retrofitted every time the NEC is updated.
tev9876
Posts: 375
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:12 am

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by tev9876 »

One other thought... Your initial electrician backed out because of the complexity. Your current electrician says he has never had to deal with anything like this. How confident is he that $7-8K will really be the final cost? Is it guaranteed? Seems like a huge gamble that could turn into a huge money pit, destroy your landscaping and driveway, potentially leave you without electric service for days, etc. - all for the unclear benefit of a new underground electrical feed.
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

galawdawg wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 5:00 am
jplee3 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:57 pm And at this point, we're going to have to go through the trouble of doing a panel update, we might as well go 'all out' - oh, the other problem here is that the current closet where our existing panel resides isn't up to code because A) it shares the same enclosed space as the gas meter, so they need to be separated and B) the closet itself isn't up to dimensional code to house a panel, so if we want to change the panel at all we have to either make physical changes to the closet or relocate the panel. It's literally a pile of red tape.
Does this mean that you are not required to replace the underground service lateral? If you aren't required to replace the underground service lateral, do you need to upgrade your service, such as going from 100 amp to 200 amp? Otherwise, why would you want to replace the service lateral? Replacement of a panel box and its components does not generally require replacement of a service main unless you are upgrading service or there is a fault in the service main itself.

If for some reason you do need to replace the underground service lateral, have you confirmed that SDGE does not permit core boring for that installation/application?
tev9876 wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:00 am One other thought... Your initial electrician backed out because of the complexity. Your current electrician says he has never had to deal with anything like this. How confident is he that $7-8K will really be the final cost? Is it guaranteed? Seems like a huge gamble that could turn into a huge money pit, destroy your landscaping and driveway, potentially leave you without electric service for days, etc. - all for the unclear benefit of a new underground electrical feed.
'
tev9876 wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:54 am I'm also unclear on why you would need to upgrade your feeder line, even if you are planning on going solar. Have you also looked at how much it will cost to replace your landscaping after they dig up most of your front yard and potentially damage trees?

Looks like there are also retrofit kits available for Zinsco panels: https://www.baypower.com/blog/replacing ... -breakers/

By keeping the existing metal box and replacing the breakers and other guts of it you may be able to remain grandfathered to the old code requirements for enclosure space while also making insurance companies happy. It is not like every house in the country has to be retrofitted every time the NEC is updated.
bradinsky wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 7:21 am OP,
As asked above, why do you need to replace underground wiring. Unless you are increasing the service amperage, changing the panel out isn’t a huge or horribly expensive undertaking. A real, licensed electrician should be able to change the panel for you in a days time max.
So the trenching is going to be hard to avoid IF we are replacing the panel regardless of whether it's a service amp increase or not.
Otherwise, if we wanted to change the panel out and leave it in the closet, we would *still* need to bring the closet to code and make physical changes and relocate the gas meter... either way it's going to cost and arm and a leg. So if I have to choose between the two, I'd rather trench, relocate to a new location and do the upgrade vs paying a ton of $$ to physically modify the closet only to swap the panel out for another 100-125a panel. This is also to 'futureproof' the home especially in the case that we get EVs and or start converting more of our appliances to electric from gas. In order to upgrade from 100a to 200a we NEED a new service lateral - they checked the sizing of the current feeder and it's not the right size to support 200a.

Regarding core boring, the main issue isn't whether or not SDGE permits it more than any of the trenching contractors indicating if it's even possible. As mentioned before, every contractor I've had out to look at trenching so far as said boring a hole across 15-20' of concrete is not going to be viable. I think I may be having a few more contractors out to give quotes so I can ask again. It doesn't sound like something that's possible though.

In terms of pricing and guarantee, I think this is rare - most contractors are going to use change orders as needed. I don't think they can necessarily "lock in" pricing for something considered dynamic. Anyway, my electrician gave me a quote for his labor for laying the conduit and relocating. It seems relatively straightforward as far as the materials and especially after he met with the trench inspector on the pre-meet. They seemed to hash out the details of what materials would be needed for the connections. At this point, it seems like it's a matter of whether the trenching quote is going to be a static quote or if it would be dynamic. The trenching seems pretty straightforward especially after digalert is contacted. The only complexity I see might be them drilling through the stucco/cement wall to get the line under/through it to the other side where the panel will be located.

As far as replacing the components inside Zinsco panels, it's a bit of an iffy proposition. Some people (including few electricians) seem to think it will work while others say that this is still inherently dangerous. I asked about this on various forums and the consensus seems to be that it's not a good idea. Connecticut Electric is the company that manufactures these Zinsco retrofits. The breakers aren't as much of a problem as the buss bar is. Most electricians out there don't really want to mess with altering/gutting an electrical panel due to liability. A couple electricians have already told me that even if they were to do something like this, which they don't recommend, I'd have to sign a waiver and opt out of any kind of warranty, etc. Bottom line is that I'm not sure if updating the breakers would *actually* bring the box "up to code"

For the landscaping, we were already planning on removing the sod from the lawn, so I'm not super concerned about that. We did tree removal as well to get rid of a big ficus tree and also carrotwood tree that used to be in the front that we don't want to see. So from the picture that I posted, pretty much everything there except the palm trees and grass were removed not long after moving in. We go rid of the ficus mostly because of the invasive root system. At that point, I figured just to clear almost everything out for a blank slate. Our plan for landscaping is to replace the lawn with native plants anyway, so tearing that up isn't a big deal to me. We get paid $4/sq ft to remove existing turf to replace with drought-tolerant plants (we are 'rebated' up to a max $4/sq ft so it's actually based on how much we actually do up...)
Mike Scott
Posts: 2544
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:45 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by Mike Scott »

You just need to find the right contractor for horizontal boring. It sounds like you are getting quotes from people who just don't want to do it or do not have the equipment.
User avatar
galawdawg
Posts: 4000
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by galawdawg »

Considering the cost and the work that would be involved in upgrading your panel to 200 amp "just in case" you decide to convert from gas to electric or "future-proof" your home (and since you are considering solar), I would look more into a retrofit kit option, such as the one made by Eaton. If your insurance carrier (and local authorities/power company if applicable) approves that solution as sufficient to eliminate the risk of the Zinsco panel, it will cost a fraction of the work you are contemplating. And if all you are replacing are the interior parts of the box, there should be no code issues with the location of the box due to grandfathering exemptions.

But if you do go forward with this upgrade and trenching project, then you should speak with your contractor and the local authorities concerning the requirements for protection of the trench. While being able to drive over it instead of parking your cars on the street or elsewhere, there are safety issues surrounding trenching that may be governed by local ordinances and OSHA. You don't want a neighborhood child to fall into the trench and potentially suffer a serious injury for which you, as the property owner, would almost certainly be held liable.

Good luck!
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

Mike Scott wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 10:14 am You just need to find the right contractor for horizontal boring. It sounds like you are getting quotes from people who just don't want to do it or do not have the equipment.
Now that there's more discussion on this, I'm actually not sure if it would be viable or not... this isn't something discussed with the trench inspector so I may give them a call just to see. What kinds of contractors usually specialize in boring/horizontal boring? Concrete/masonry?
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

galawdawg wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 10:25 am Considering the cost and the work that would be involved in upgrading your panel to 200 amp "just in case" you decide to convert from gas to electric or "future-proof" your home (and since you are considering solar), I would look more into a retrofit kit option, such as the one made by Eaton. If your insurance carrier (and local authorities/power company if applicable) approves that solution as sufficient to eliminate the risk of the Zinsco panel, it will cost a fraction of the work you are contemplating. And if all you are replacing are the interior parts of the box, there should be no code issues with the location of the box due to grandfathering exemptions.

But if you do go forward with this upgrade and trenching project, then you should speak with your contractor and the local authorities concerning the requirements for protection of the trench. While being able to drive over it instead of parking your cars on the street or elsewhere, there are safety issues surrounding trenching that may be governed by local ordinances and OSHA. You don't want a neighborhood child to fall into the trench and potentially suffer a serious injury for which you, as the property owner, would almost certainly be held liable.

Good luck!
I'm asking my electrician about this now - as far as whether it brings this panel up to code, I'm not sure... SDGE seems iffy even with these kinds of panel updates so I almost feel like they'll try to find something to complain about. I don't know if the Eaton retrofits fit on Zinscos - the only retrofit I've seen out there for Zinsco panels is Connecticut Electric, to which one person on DIYChatroom or doityourself Network responded that these are cheap breakers with poor warranties... perhaps the Eatons are better? I don't know but the consensus there was that the risk isn't necessarily alleviated. I've also heard that the bus bar is the main issue - if you replace that you resolve the issues. All of this is hearsay though. I don't know what the actual resolution would be for "fixing" a Zinsco box outside of replacing it.
As far as my electrician, I don't think he's going to be super happy if I decide to go this route because he ended up buying a panel AND the conduit for the project. At the same time, I figure he'll just have those materials on hand to use for another customer.

For the trenching, it would be entirely on our property. Once it goes outside the bounds of our property and onto the sidewalk for instance, we would then have to involve the city. But whatever trenching is done, as long as it's done on our own property, is our responsibility. I suppose we might have wanted to consider umbrella insurance? But our goal to is to backfill ASAP once the trench inspector signs off on things.
User avatar
galawdawg
Posts: 4000
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by galawdawg »

One more thought...if local code permits, could you have the trenching done from the handhole along the right side yard (in blue), have the meter and main disconnect installed on the right side of the house and then have them run the feeder from the main disconnect through first floor ceiling to the panel location on the opposite side of your house?

Image

As far as horizontal boring (also called trenchless installation), they can bore and install conduit for thousands of feet. Your driveway and walkway shouldn't be an issue. Here is some information from Nevada Energy...https://www.nvenergy.com/publish/conten ... STR12U.pdf
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

galawdawg wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 10:45 am One more thought...if local code permits, could you have the trenching done from the handhole along the right side yard (in blue), have the meter and main disconnect installed on the right side of the house and then have them run the feeder from the main disconnect through first floor ceiling to the panel location on the opposite side of your house?

Image

As far as horizontal boring (also called trenchless installation), they can bore and install conduit for thousands of feet. Your driveway and walkway shouldn't be an issue. Here is some information from Nevada Energy...https://www.nvenergy.com/publish/conten ... STR12U.pdf
We went through this whole thing with the planner and electrician as well. I think our electrician was saying that even if we located the panel elsewhere, we would still have to run conduit along outside parts of the home and to the closet on the other side. They were indicating that this would still be quite costly and it would look ugly. I'm not sure about running a feeder through our house (drilling holes etc) but I suppose that could be an option. Aside from that, finding a proper location for that meter (whether on a pedestal or on the outer wall) was challenging... especially when it came down to height clearances and also finding a discrete location where it wouldn't stand out and be ugly. But even if we wanted to make a change the problem now is that since we have already established the panel location, we would have to go back to the planner and request the change and this would delay things even more as we'd get pushed to the back of the queue for review with the planner (and it would cost us money as a change order). As I alluded to, SDGE is the absolute *worst* when it comes to these projects.
Last edited by jplee3 on Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
galawdawg
Posts: 4000
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:59 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by galawdawg »

Gotcha...sounds like you are pretty far along in the process. Perhaps the boring will be an option for your project. If not, I'll give you some legal advice...gratis. Be sure that trench is fully covered and/or protected when work is not actually in progress; an eighteen inch wide nearly three foot deep trench, particularly across concrete, could result in serious injury if a fall were to occur!

As far as driving over it, I'd use two (2) sheets of 3/4 inch plywood screwed and glued together across the entire width of the driveway. Better to err on the side of "too much" than "not enough." And you don't want to just reinforce a section and then "miss" it while driving across the trench! :shock:
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

galawdawg wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:13 am Gotcha...sounds like you are pretty far along in the process. Perhaps the boring will be an option for your project. If not, I'll give you some legal advice...gratis. Be sure that trench is fully covered and/or protected when work is not actually in progress; an eighteen inch wide nearly three foot deep trench, particularly across concrete, could result in serious injury if a fall were to occur!

As far as driving over it, I'd use two (2) sheets of 3/4 inch plywood screwed and glued together across the entire width of the driveway. Better to err on the side of "too much" than "not enough." And you don't want to just reinforce a section and then "miss" it while driving across the trench! :shock:

Yea we are. I'm not sure about the boring part - it almost seems like that would end up costing just as much if not more with all the equipment that would need to be involved (I was just looking at some pictures online etc). I'll call around anyway to find out but it just seems like a lot.

Maybe we'll just have the concrete cut, backfill and then lay a brick ribbon or something across if we don't want to mess with a concrete patch.
Diluted Waters
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2020 7:35 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by Diluted Waters »

Horizontal boring looks like it could be a viable solution with advantages over cut and cover. You should seek a contractor who does this. It’s done all the time in urban areas where trenching is impractical. It was done here at a nearby neighbor’s house who put in solar and didn’t want to trench his asphalt driveway to reach the load panel from the array.

https://www.familyhandyman.com/list/bas ... al-boring/
Californiastate
Posts: 1099
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2021 11:52 am

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by Californiastate »

I wouldn't try to bore it. It's a small job that would be crossing all of your utilities. Cut and cover seems like a no brainer as originally planned. The majority of the work is the excavation and concrete removal. The utilities should locate their services for you before excavation. They'll be able to use a small excavator for the easy parts and shovel work near utilities. You will have a mountain of dirt to contend and/or off haul. You'll also have a mountain of utility spec'd back fill to stage. They might need to stage it on your driveway.
Therefore the premise of this thread is mute. You won't be parking in the garage or driveway during the process.
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

Diluted Waters wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:26 am Horizontal boring looks like it could be a viable solution with advantages over cut and cover. You need to find a contractor who does this. It’s done all the time in urban areas where trenching is impractical.

https://www.familyhandyman.com/list/bas ... al-boring/
I just called a local place and they quoted me a very rough ballpark of $3200-3500 which is actually even less than having to trench/backfill/patch from some of the quotes I've gotten. The big plus is that they would be able to almost completely avoid trenching (with the exception of digging a couple of access point holes to help with pulling the conduit and other stuff through, etc)
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

Californiastate wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:53 am I wouldn't try to bore it. It's a small job that would be crossing all of your utilities. Cut and cover seems like a no brainer as originally planned. The majority of the work is the excavation and concrete removal. The utilities should locate their services for you before excavation. They'll be able to use a small excavator for the easy parts and shovel work near utilities. You will have a mountain of dirt to contend and/or off haul. You'll also have a mountain of utility spec'd back fill to stage. They might need to stage it on your driveway.
Therefore the premise of this thread is mute. You won't be parking in the garage or driveway during the process.

The guy I spoke with from the boring company said it's definitely possible but that yes we will want to double-check with our electrician, the trench inspector/POCO, AND make sure we can get our sewer lateral marked off (or at least know the depth and general route). He wasn't too concerned with the utilities but reiterated checking with the trench inspector on all this. He said they've done a number of very similar jobs for SDGE in the past too so are familiar with how they worked... half-jokingly he asked if I was one of those guys who bought a Tesla before figuring all this stuff out beforehand lol.
fogalog
Posts: 271
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2015 11:31 am

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by fogalog »

jplee3 wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:25 am
galawdawg wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:13 am Gotcha...sounds like you are pretty far along in the process. Perhaps the boring will be an option for your project. If not, I'll give you some legal advice...gratis. Be sure that trench is fully covered and/or protected when work is not actually in progress; an eighteen inch wide nearly three foot deep trench, particularly across concrete, could result in serious injury if a fall were to occur!

As far as driving over it, I'd use two (2) sheets of 3/4 inch plywood screwed and glued together across the entire width of the driveway. Better to err on the side of "too much" than "not enough." And you don't want to just reinforce a section and then "miss" it while driving across the trench! :shock:

Yea we are. I'm not sure about the boring part - it almost seems like that would end up costing just as much if not more with all the equipment that would need to be involved (I was just looking at some pictures online etc). I'll call around anyway to find out but it just seems like a lot.

Maybe we'll just have the concrete cut, backfill and then lay a brick ribbon or something across if we don't want to mess with a concrete patch.
I suspect the reason you have to trench versus boring is... code. The trench itself needs to be inspected while still open, with the conduit installed correctly at the bottom of the trench. I did something similar (Bay Area), including open-trench inspections.

If you're really going to saw-cut the concrete only "shovel wide", then a metal road plate is probably overkill, particularly if you're driving across versus along the cut (if that makes sense).
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

fogalog wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 1:16 pm
jplee3 wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:25 am
galawdawg wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:13 am Gotcha...sounds like you are pretty far along in the process. Perhaps the boring will be an option for your project. If not, I'll give you some legal advice...gratis. Be sure that trench is fully covered and/or protected when work is not actually in progress; an eighteen inch wide nearly three foot deep trench, particularly across concrete, could result in serious injury if a fall were to occur!

As far as driving over it, I'd use two (2) sheets of 3/4 inch plywood screwed and glued together across the entire width of the driveway. Better to err on the side of "too much" than "not enough." And you don't want to just reinforce a section and then "miss" it while driving across the trench! :shock:

Yea we are. I'm not sure about the boring part - it almost seems like that would end up costing just as much if not more with all the equipment that would need to be involved (I was just looking at some pictures online etc). I'll call around anyway to find out but it just seems like a lot.

Maybe we'll just have the concrete cut, backfill and then lay a brick ribbon or something across if we don't want to mess with a concrete patch.
I suspect the reason you have to trench versus boring is... code. The trench itself needs to be inspected while still open, with the conduit installed correctly at the bottom of the trench. I did something similar (Bay Area), including open-trench inspections.

If you're really going to saw-cut the concrete only "shovel wide", then a metal road plate is probably overkill, particularly if you're driving across versus along the cut (if that makes sense).

That makes sense. One boring company I called said to call and make sure SDGE will allow it. The first boring/drilling company I called though the guy said he's done a number of these (including across the driveway) boring jobs specifically for new EV owners so it sounded like clockwork to him, AND he said he's done a number of them for SDGE customers. So that does give me some hope. I just need to hear back from SDGE on the matter (they can take forever to hear back from).

In any case, I'm in the process of collecting more bids and quotes from concrete/masonry contractors and demo/hauling places. It's hard finding a single contractor who will do all of it together (including backfilling and patching).
User avatar
snackdog
Posts: 1556
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:57 am

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by snackdog »

I didn’t th8nk anyone trenched anymore. Boring is fairly routine for electrical. They can bore as deep as needed to avoid hazards.
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

snackdog wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 3:49 pm I didn’t th8nk anyone trenched anymore. Boring is fairly routine for electrical. They can bore as deep as needed to avoid hazards.
The contractor who just came out said she could ask/inquire about boring but hasn't heard of this being as commonplace as trenching at least where I'm (SoCal). Seems the tide might be slowly shifting here though. As far as depth, I don't know if they're allowed to bore deeper than what the trench inspector specified (approx 3') but I'm trying to find out from the POCO exactly what's permissible. They may come back and tell me that I can't bore at all...you just never know with these guys. I swear they don't even have to try to make it harder than it ought to be.
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

Thanks for those of you who pushed the boring option. One of the places I got in touch with seems competent with this, has worked directly with the POCO in the past and has done a number of very similar jobs as mine. I just spoke with the trench inspector and he confirmed that they have worked with this company and that we should be good to go with this route if we want. It does seem the least disruptive - they will have to dig up some potholes to for utility checking and still need to trench around the handhole as well as where our electric box is going but we will be avoiding the headache of having to cut concrete and dig a trench all across the front of our lot. Even if it comes out to be around the same price as trenching, I think we'll still opt to bore just because of the safety/liability and aesthetic factors.
twh
Posts: 655
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2020 3:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by twh »

I'm not in your area, but the POCO decided to bury lines down my street. They bored almost exclusively up and down the street, including to the house. Now, they did hit my neighbor's sewer pipe and that had to be dug down to and repaired.
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

twh wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 5:34 pm I'm not in your area, but the POCO decided to bury lines down my street. They bored almost exclusively up and down the street, including to the house. Now, they did hit my neighbor's sewer pipe and that had to be dug down to and repaired.
Yea, that's the concern. Thankfully this should only traverse within the bounds of our lot/property line so hopefully no other utilities will be passing through. The biggest concern is probably going to be the sewer lateral, which we'll have to figure out what to do about as far as marking...unless the boring company can just take a close guesstimate and dig a pothole just to see if they can locate it. I have a general idea of where it's at though...
twh
Posts: 655
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2020 3:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by twh »

jplee3 wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 5:47 pm
twh wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 5:34 pm I'm not in your area, but the POCO decided to bury lines down my street. They bored almost exclusively up and down the street, including to the house. Now, they did hit my neighbor's sewer pipe and that had to be dug down to and repaired.
Yea, that's the concern. Thankfully this should only traverse within the bounds of our lot/property line so hopefully no other utilities will be passing through. The biggest concern is probably going to be the sewer lateral, which we'll have to figure out what to do about as far as marking...unless the boring company can just take a close guesstimate and dig a pothole just to see if they can locate it. I have a general idea of where it's at though...
I'm sure they are obligated to call miss-utility before doing anything. If you can find and mark the sewer pipe that would be very good.
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

Ugh, so I had the boring company GM job walk today and he ballparked an insane number - he said we're looking at $15k-17k to do everything (but this includes some amount of trenching/excavation/'potholing as well as concrete cuts. The scope of work for the boring only is probably between $3k-4k. He did say he was aiming high on the ballpark because he'd rather overshoot than undershoot which makes sense. We can still have someone else do the potholing/excavation and concrete cut though. But in either case, it's probably going to cost a lot more than what was anticipated and more than the $4k we were quoted for trenching/cutting concrete.
suemarkp
Posts: 874
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:18 pm
Location: Somewhere in WA State

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by suemarkp »

PVC conduit needs a pretty straight hole as it isn't very flexible. Dropping it into a trench should be much easier than pushing it through a bored hole. And the trench inspector should be happy, as he can easily measure depth. SDGE wants an approved back fill around the conduit. Can't guarantee what's around it through a bored hole.

Polyethylene conduit may be better for a bored hole situation, but SDGE is fussy about that type conduit -- must be black with 3 red stripes on it. SDGE has more 500 to 1000 page requirement/installation documents on its website than I have ever seen at any other utility.

I'd stick with your trench plan and just put this electrical service to bed so you don't have to deal with SDGE again. Same with replacing the entire panel and not replacing just the zinsco guts. All of these solutions have technical details that matter and no one can see exactly what you've got or what issues you will end up with on a particular solution. This just undermines the electrician you've hired who probably doesn't want to fall into analysis paralysis and already went through some of those in his head to propose a solution for you.
Mark | Somewhere in WA State
Topic Author
jplee3
Posts: 697
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Plates to cover trench across driveway?

Post by jplee3 »

suemarkp wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 1:16 pm PVC conduit needs a pretty straight hole as it isn't very flexible. Dropping it into a trench should be much easier than pushing it through a bored hole. And the trench inspector should be happy, as he can easily measure depth. SDGE wants an approved back fill around the conduit. Can't guarantee what's around it through a bored hole.

Polyethylene conduit may be better for a bored hole situation, but SDGE is fussy about that type conduit -- must be black with 3 red stripes on it. SDGE has more 500 to 1000 page requirement/installation documents on its website than I have ever seen at any other utility.

I'd stick with your trench plan and just put this electrical service to bed so you don't have to deal with SDGE again. Same with replacing the entire panel and not replacing just the zinsco guts. All of these solutions have technical details that matter and no one can see exactly what you've got or what issues you will end up with on a particular solution. This just undermines the electrician you've hired who probably doesn't want to fall into analysis paralysis and already went through some of those in his head to propose a solution for you.
Yea, it seems like involving the boring company may just complicate and drag things out. I'm still waiting on bids from the other companies. I feel like over half the time I've had someone come out to look at the site for trenching or not, they end up dragging their feet on the quote/bid likely because they thought about it more and realized this trenching situation is going to be a huge PITA to work through.


LOL speak of the devil... just got this back from a hauling company who I thought was going to be on top of things:

"Spoke to the owner regarding the scope of work discussed this week. Due to the proximity to city items, light pole, hydrant, neighbors cable lines, without a GC in charge of a project like this. We unfortunately are going to have to pass due to all of the utilities that will have to be taken care of in-order to complete the project as indicated at job walk"

She does bring up a good point regarding the neighbor's utilities - they have their gas, telecom and electric (the hand hole provisions hers and I think possibly one more neighbors but not sure) all right there so I'm sure they didn't want to get involved based on that additional possible liability.
Post Reply