How Much Does it Cost to Bury Power Lines?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 9, 2018

When power lines are buried, electrical power is transmitted using underground cables instead of the wires you’re used to seeing above ground.

Otherwise known as undergrounding, this type of power transmission is ideal for densely populated regions, considering that it saves space and is aesthetically better than overhead cables.

P1040032 by deanoakley, on Flickr
P1040032” (CC BY 2.0) by deanoakley

How much does it cost to bury residential power lines?

On average, the cost to bury your power lines will depend on the power company you’re working with, your geography, the complexity of the install and where you live.  According to our research, most power companies will charge a one-time administration fee and a certain price per foot, which will either be paid to a general contractor or the power company.  On top of this, you may need a new power meter, depending on your situation.

Aside from the miscellaneous fees, which we will get into later, be prepared to spend $4 to $7 per foot to have an electric company or qualified contractor perform the job.  This fee may or may not include the conduit, which most of the time, you may be responsible for.  From most of the quotes we looked, the average home, less than 250 feet from the road, paid a grand total of $2,500 to $5,500 to have their power lines buried.

We gathered a few quotes depending on a few situations and included our findings inside our table below.

Distance from electrical facility to where your meter is connected (in feet)Ballpark estimate
50- $4,000 (not connected to a transformer
- $1,000 to $2,500 (connected to a transformer)
100- $5,000 (not connected to a transformer
- $1,000 to $2,500 (connected to a transformer)
200- $6,500
300- $8,000
400- $9,000

NOTE:  These ballpark estimates wouldn’t include the trenching, conduit or vaults.

All jobs can be very unique, and for this reason, it’s important to get as many quotes as you can from local, reputable contractors.  This is where HomeAdvisor.com comes in.  This free, no obligation service lets you describe your job, and with this information, contractors will contact you via email with a ballpark estimate.  It’s a great way to potentially see what your job may cost.

For example, on this anandtech.com forum thread, a member claimed they were quoted $6.50 per foot, plus a $350 fee and $600 new meter fee.

On another forum thread at GarageJournal.com, a forum member claimed he paid $2,000 to bury 430 feet of electrical wire.

Someone on DoItYourself.com said they had paid $600 to go 250 feet underground when he hired his power company, but he was responsible for running the conduit.

Burying power lines for a city is a whole another story.  According to this CNN article, it can cost upwards of $1 million per mile, but the geography or population density can halve this cost or even triple it.

The Columbus Dispatch said homeowners should be prepared to spend about $1,500 to $3,000 for the electricians’ expenses and another $400 to $500 for the power company’s fee.

What are the extra costs?

If the electrical company requires you purchase the conduit, this could add another $2 to $7 per 10 feet in materials.

If you needed a new meter, which is often the case in some circumstances, then this could be an additional $400 to $600.

Aside from your meter, you may have to upgrade your panel, often from a 100 amp to a 200 amp, according to most who have buried their power lines.  Ths upgrade, on average, can cost more than $1,500 if you were to hire an electrician.

An administration or setup fee can range anywhere from $200 to $500 if you were to use your electric company.

A permit often has to be pulled and depending on the billing policy, this can be yet another cost to budget for.

While digging the trench, if any obstructions are observed, while at the job, additional charges may apply.

Tips to know

To bury your lines, it will often involve the electrician, your power company, a city inspector and the local cable companies to mark their underground lines.  Usually, you will either start with the power company to help them point you in the right direction or a local electrician can help as well.

Always talk with your electricity company before hiring a contractor to see what your limitations are.  Some electrical companies will force you to work with them while others may refer you to a third party electrician.  Your results will greatly vary depending on the state/city you live in, but don’t be surprised if your electrical company quotes an astronomical rate.


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