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Electric Lines

Power lines The barn is located in the best possible spot, except for one tiny detail:  the utility lines go right through the center of where the barn needs to go.  This isn't a surprise, I considered putting the barn somewhere else but in the end decided that moving the utility lines was the best option.

When first planning the barn I called Helco (local Hawaii electric company) to investigate possible options.  As it turns out, our currently electrical service is only 100 amp service.  Helco will pay to upgrade us to 200 amp service for free.  The only catch is that they won't pay for any additional poles, meters or electrical work.  They pay only for the shortest and cheapest route to the house.  Of course the shortest route to the house takes the lines directly through the center of our front yard and only leaves the minimum clearance over the driveway.  We decided that was not an acceptable option.

Helco will still upgrade our service but we'll have to pay an electrician to wire up a new meter and panel.  In many states it's possible to file as owner/builder then do most of the wiring yourself.  Hawaii requires a licensed electrician to do all the work.  To make matters worse, there aren't enough good electricians for all the work there currently is on the island.  Finding someone to do the work at a reasonable price won't be easy.

The power lines will be buried from the barn to the house.  So before bringing in an electrician I have to dig a large trench.  Before digging the trench, I have to clear some brush.  In the middle of the brush were several trees that needed to be removed.  The tricky part was removing trees without removing the power lines too.  The power lines will have to come down but I prefer to let Helco do that in a more organized fashion.

Power lines With a little planning, some careful cutting, and the help from a heavy duty strap, the trees came down right where they were supposed to.  Cutting down the tree is just the first step.  Afterwards there is still a lot of work in chopping the tree into pieces small enough that my tractor could hall them to the back field where we could dump them out of the way.  I finished all that but now there are several large stumps right on top of where the trench needs to go.  I'm sure chopping and digging them out will provide many more hours of entertainment.  So be careful if you're planning a visit any time soon, I may hand you a saw, pick axe and shovel.

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