Cortez-based Empire Electric Association recently revealed its new construction estimator tool to help streamline estimates as demand for new services in the area expands. This tool promises to improve work processes and lower operation costs that will be passed down to its consumers with faster service and more affordable rates.
EEA completed 216 new services in 2022, almost double the 10-year average of 114, and an increase of 73% from the latest three-year average. The demand for new services as well as normal maintenance and upgrade activity to maintain reliability has increased its engineering department’s workload.
In the past, EEA provided one free estimate for a member looking to add a new electric service. This was done by an engineering technician and typically involved travel to the site. In many cases, after receiving the estimate, the member did not proceed with the project. Resources spent estimating projects never built and the increasing demand for new services made the process a great candidate for improvement.
At the end of March 2023, EEA launched a new construction estimator tool. This tool allows members or their electricians to easily get a quote for providing service at a new location. The estimator tool is for single-phase services that will not need more than 75 kilovolt amperes (kVA) of capacity. Three-phase services or services requiring greater than 75 kVA of capacity are urged to still contact the EEA engineering department for an estimate.
The required input for the online tool is:
• The type of service the project will originate from: overhead, underground, or overhead to underground.
• The distance in feet from the existing EEA distribution system to the proposed meter location.
• The service capacity required in kVA. Capacity is dictated by electrical and building codes and the number and type of electric equipment or appliances at the new service.
Once these three values are entered, the tool will provide a cost estimate to build the new service. If the input values are correct, this will be the price the member will pay. If the estimate meets the member’s budget and they want to proceed, they will provide EEA with a load data sheet outlining the electric equipment and appliances that will be at the new service, a site plan showing site details and the proposed meter location, and an engineering deposit of $500 for residential services and $600 for commercial.
When EEA receives the required documentation and deposit, an engineering technician will meet with the member or their representative at the site to verify the plans and model input. Any necessary changes to the model input will be made at that time, and the formal project cost will be presented. If the member wishes to proceed at that time, they will pay the formal estimate minus the engineering deposit, and the service will be designed and then placed on the construction schedule. If the member does not wish to proceed, they will be refunded the deposit less costs incurred by EEA in providing the formal estimate.
The new construction estimator tool gives members an estimate to provide electric service to a property and allows them to evaluate different scenarios quickly and easily. It will also allow EEA to design and build services when members are ready to proceed, and at the same time reduce EEA costs to help keep all members’ rates affordable.
For more information, visit eea.coop/residential-and-commercial-new-construction-estimator-tool.