Converting to underground service is ideal for customers who want overhead clearance for a pool, deck or patio. The process of converting your service consists of installing your new underground service and then removing your existing overhead service. The following information will provide you with the basic steps involved with this process.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Installing Underground Electric Service
- Your Request
- Our Consultation
- Your Service Options
- Your Electrician's Role
- Installing a Trench (Optional)
- Your Municipal Inspection
- Our Inspection
- Converting Your Overhead Service to Underground
Call us at 800.338.0178 to request that your overhead service be converted to underground. Please have the following information available:
- Your full name
- Telephone number (daytime)
- Service address/major cross streets
- Account number found on your DTE Energy bill (Optional)
Once we have the information in Step 1, one of our representatives will contact you within five working days to determine your needs.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are considering future exterior modifications that could affect your service, such as a swimming pool, landscaping, deck or patio, please mention these plans to our representative. Considering your future plans now may save you money later.
Your Service Options
Our representative will contact you after your site has been inspected to determine the nearest available power source, trench route, meter location options, and related costs. Ask our representative how you can reduce costs by installing your own trench (See Step 5).
You are responsible for contacting and coordinating other utilities such as your telephone and/or cable TV suppliers.
Your Electrician's Role
Your licensed electrician or electrical contractor installs the new underground service meter box and service entrance cable. Our representative will explain the required specifications about your installation.
- You are responsible for providing a Detroit Edison-approved meter box. Detroit Edison installs, owns and maintains the electric meter.
- These installations may require an electrical permit before work can begin. Contact your local municipality about the necessary permits and inspections.
Customer-Installed Trench Can Save You Money (Optional)
During the consultation process, our representative will discuss how you can reduce costs by digging your own trench.
If you decide to dig your own trench, your Detroit Edison installation costs will be reduced but you will add more steps to the overall installation process. Our representative will provide guidelines for digging your trench and help you determine the appropriate route.
Before you dig, call MISS DIG
Before you begin digging, you will need the location of existing underground utilities identified. The specialized central clearinghouse for this is referred to as MISS DIG.
MISS DIG processes requests to locate and stake most underground public utilities. When you call MISS DIG at 800.482.7171, have the following information available:
- Address of your installation
- Major cross streets
- What part of the site needs to be checked (front, rear, sides, all)
MISS DIG will send out a request to participating utilities (gas, electric, and telephone, etc.) to stake their underground equipment buried on your property (see note). Michigan law allows three business days for the utilities working with MISS DIG to determine if their utilities are on your site. After the utility representative stakes the underground utilities or determines that the site is clear, the trench can be dug along the route determined by you and our representative.
PLEASE NOTE: The MISS DIG program does not stake customer-owned underground facilities, such as wells, septic tanks, sump pump leads, sprinklers, private electric or telephone wires, and underground tanks. You or your contractor will need to locate, stake and/or uncover these facilities before you or Detroit Edison start digging.
Your Municipal Inspection
Most municipalities require inspections of electrical installations. Check with your municipality for guidelines. If an inspection is required, your contractor or electrician may make those arrangements with the municipal inspector. The inspector will verify that the installation meets the National Electrical Code (NEC) and the municipality’s local ordinance standards.
When your municipality has approved your meter box installation, we will inspect the installation to make sure Detroit Edison standards are met for your service and safety.
Converting Your Overhead Service to Underground
After your installation passes the required inspections and payment has been received, we will proceed with converting your overhead service to underground within 15 working days, unless delayed by poor weather conditions, storms or power outages. When installations are delayed we make every attempt to resume our installation schedule within two weeks after power restoration efforts have been completed.
The conversion or actual construction phase of your electric service will be completed in two stages.
First Stage: -- an underground crew will:
- dig a trench using approved construction equipment, (optional, see Step 5)
- install the underground electric cable in the trench, make the connections in your meter and at the power source, and
- backfill and mound the soil over the trench.
Second Stage -- an overhead crew will:
- remove the overhead service lines, and
- connect (energize) the underground cable at the pole.
PLEASE NOTE: You or your contractor are responsible for:
- Further site restoration, such as compacting the soil, covering the soil with sod or other landscaping,
- Removing the overhead attachment point, overhead service entrance cable and overhead meter box from the house; and
- Contacting and coordinating other utilities such as your telephone and/or cable TV suppliers.
Appropriate clearances are important for providing safe working conditions when our field personnel are maintaining the electrical equipment on your property. The area around your meter box must be clear of permanent structures, such as shrubs, trees and also central air-conditioning units. Transformers or other electrical sources that connect and regulate your underground electrical service must also be clear of obstructions for periodic maintenance. When selecting a planting location also avoid planting too close to other underground utilities such as gas, water and sewer lines.
If you have any nearby pole-to-pole overhead lines, remember trees branch outward as well as upward, and need adequate space to grow. By finding the right spot to plant your tree now, you can avoid interference with overhead electric power lines in the future. Tree limbs, which can knock down or come in contact with power lines, are the most common cause of power outages. We recommend you contact your local nursery when selecting a tree for planting near pole-to-pole power lines. Detroit Edison will maintain necessary clearances for overhead pole-to-pole power lines.
When you’re making your landscape plans, ask our representatives for the necessary clearances for planting near or around electrical equipment. Read more information for planting near electrical equipment.
For your safety, remember, before you dig call MISS DIG at 800.482.7171.