Overhead and underground residential connections
New connections and modifications to existing overhead and underground connections must meet our requirements to ensure safety. Prior to construction, please review the overhead and underground service reference guides which outline our requirements in order to avoid delays and call back charges associated with non-conforming installations.
Questions can be directed to our Electric Service Coordination Centre team Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 1 877 520 1355.
If crews can't proceed with the request because the installation does not meet BC Hydro requirements, service will be rejected and call back charges will be applied.
The point of attachment must be within 7 metres above the ground.
The clearance of supply conductors at any point above the ground must be to the follow specifications:
Across highways, freeways and expressways: 7.1 m
- Across streets, lanes, alleys and pipeline right-of-way: 5.5 m
- Across driveways to commercial and industrial premises: 5.5 m
- Across driveways to residential garages: 4.5 m
- Across ground normally accessible to pedestrians only: 3.5 m
Adequate clearance for safe use of a ladder by our installers (1 m from wall for every 4 m in height) must be available to meet BC Hydro and WorkSafe BC regulations.
Learn more about ladder safety requirements.
The location of the service entrance (wire holder) must not create an aerial trespass and shall be:
- In direct line of sight with BC Hydro's service pole
- On the wall of the building facing the power supply; or
- No further than 1 m (3 ft) back, on the side of the building closest to BC Hydro's source or stub off
If a roof mast is required to meet the minimum vertical clearance above grade, it must be located within 45 centimetres (18 in) from the edge of the roof within reach of the installer's ladder. Rain gutters must be reinforced to be capable of holding the weight of an installer on a ladder without damaging the gutter.
We recommend that ducts for the utility supply service conductors are installed outside of the building wall or the ducts must be encased in concrete. This is in accordance with the BC Electrical Code administered by BC Safety Authority or the local safety inspection branch.
Customer-owned poles with utility services in the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island must be accessible by a bucket truck with a relatively even and drivable surface, and be within 3 meters of a lane or roadway.
Mid-span taps are normally not allowed. If you can't meet the requirements of the preferred service location, please contact us at 1 877 520 1355 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. PST.
The maximum service length from a BC Hydro pole to the customer's point of attachment is 30 metres (100 feet). If the service length exceeds 30 metres, an intermediate pole may be required.
- Residential meters must be accessible to BC Hydro representatives at all times
- Meters must not be installed inside carports, garages or breezeways, or in any part of a structure that may potentially be enclosed or within 1 metre of a natural gas relief discharge device or vent, or 3 within metres of a propane gasrelief discharge device or vent
- Meters must be installed between 1.5 and 1.8 metres (5 and 6 feet) above finished grade
- The meter base is not more than 1 metre (3 feet) from the corner of the building closest to BC Hydro's source
- If the site has more than one meter base, the meters are clearly marked (i.e. House and Suite, A and B)
If crews need a ladder to reach the service entrance:
- The ladder ratio (4 metres high to 1 metre across) is met when the ladder is up against the building, without creating an aerial trespass over a neighbour's property
- The roof mast is located within 45 centimetres (18 inches) from the edge of the roof within reach of the installer's ladder
- Stairs do not interfere with ladder use
- Service connections to private property poles or garages may help alleviate problems resulting from clearances and other BC Hydro, WorkSafe BC and Electrical Code requirements.
- Trees must be cleared to 3 metres on each side of any secondary conductor.
- Mid span-taps are not typically allowed.
For additional information please review the following standards and BC Hydro’s revenue metering guide:
- BC Hydro Engineering Standard ES43 B1-11 Clearances Above Ground for Low Voltage Services [PDF, 4.3 MB]
- BC Hydro Engineering Standard ES43 N2 Service Connections [PDF, 2.4 MB]
- Secondary Voltage Revenue Metering – 750 V and less [PDF, 2.9 MB]
How to reach us
If you cannot meet the overhead connection requirements, please contact BC Hydro's Electric Service Coordination Centre at 1 877 520 1355 Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
BC Hydro prefers installation of the service duct and meter base on the outside of the building wall. After the service has been connected, a removable and non-combustible aesthetic covering can be installed over the duct and meter base.
For 120/240V services up to 600A, BC Hydro will accept installation of the service duct and meter base inside the building wall if our requirements are met, specifically:
- there is a minimum of 50 mm concrete surrounding the duct and
- there is a 25 mm access cavity around the meter base.
For full requirements and information on service ducts installed within the building wall, see the following standard and info bulletin:
Note: Drawing is for reference only. Please refer to Distribution Standard ES54 S1-01 [PDF, 1.5 MB] for detailed requirements.
You are responsible for the supply and installation of the customer service conduit and grounding which meet the requirements of the BC Electrical Code, BC Hydro's standards and any applicable bulletins issued by Technical Safety BC. A summary of BC Hydro’s installation requirements are provided below:
- All materials from the stub-off on private property shall be supplied and installed by the customer.
- The minimum depth of burial for all ducts shall be 900 mm below the finished grade.
- The customer service conduit or duct must be gray, 75 mm (3 inches) in diameter, rigid DB2 PVC.
- The duct is to be installed between 150 mm (6 inches) pit run base and 300 mm (12 inches) of pit run cover as per BC Hydro ES-54 Standards.
- If the total number of bends installed between BC Hydro's duct stub off point and the meter base exceeds a composite angle of 135 degrees, a pull box may be required.
- The minimum radius of any conduit bend must be 900 mm (3 feet).
- All underground service conduits must be drained at the building entrance as per the BC Electrical Code.
- A 3 mm minimum (#8) polypropylene pull string must be installed in the service conduit, tied securely at the meter based enclosure and to the string in the BC Hydro stub-off. To avoid delays and return trip charges, please ensure the pull string is not glued or jammed between the duct joints.
- The duct trench must be in a direct line of sight and as near as possible, from the meter base to the BC Hydro duct stub-off and must be graded to the depth of that stub off point.
- BC Hydro prefers that ducts are installed outside of the finished building wall. For 120/240V services up to 600A, ducts installed within the building wall must be encircled by at least 50 mm of concrete.
Call before you dig
To avoid serious danger to workers, it's important to know what services are buried in or near your work site. BC One Call provides information about the underground services on your work site and where it's safe to dig. Visit the BC One Call website for more information or call 1 800 474 6886.
The location of the service entrance must be:
- In direct line of sight with BC Hydro's service duct stub off, and
- On the wall of the building facing the power supply; or
- No further than 1 metre back from that wall facing BC Hydro's power supply.
The total allowable cable length, from the property line to the meter base, is 30 metres (100 feet). If the cable length exceeds 30 metres and is approved by BC Hydro, additional charges will apply.
- Residential meters must be accessible to BC Hydro representatives at all times. A 25 mm access cavity is required around the meter base if it is installed within the building wall.
- Meters can't be installed inside carports, garages or breezeways, or any part of the structure that may potentially be enclosed or within 1 metre of a natural gas relief discharge device or vent, or within 3 metres of a propane gas relief discharge device or vent.
- Meters must be installed between 1.5 and 1.8 metres (5 and 6 feet) above finished grade.
- The meter base is not more than 1 metre (3 feet) from the corner of the building closest to BC Hydro's source.
- If the site has more than one meter base, the meters are clearly marked (i.e. House and Suite, A and B).
For full requirements and information on service ducts installed within the building wall, see the following standards and info bulletin:
- ES54 S1-01 Secondary Single Phase Services - 120-240V up to 600A [PDF, 1.5 MB]
- Information Bulletin – Update on concrete encasement of service ducts within building walls and meter socket requirements R1 [PDF, 2.8 MB]
How to reach us
If you cannot meet the underground connection requirements, please contact BC Hydro's Electric Service Coordination Centre at 1 877 520 1355 Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
If you will be working within 3 metres of power lines, contact us to request for a short term disconnection and reconnection. Typically, disconnection and reconnection for non-electrical work is completed within same business day. Contact our Electrical Services Coordination Centre at 1 877 520 1355 to discuss your request and scheduling availability.
Concrete encasement of service ducts in customer-owned buildings
Information bulletin: Concrete encasement of customer service ducts inside customer-owned buildings [PDF, 1.8 MB] covers the details for connection of underground residential services, and clarifies the BC Hydro and B.C. Safety Authority requirements for concrete encasements of service ducts and the location of large 400 amp and 600 amp 120/240 volt electrical services.
BC Hydro transformer installation on private property
Equipment advisory: BC Hydro pad-mounted transformer installation on private property (EA2015-001 R1) [PDF, 10.6 MB] contains further clarification regarding the effective date for new standards and additional drawings for assisting BC Hydro customers in complying with the new construction standards. Also, a customer needs to submit a certified "Grounding Report" instead of a "letter of assurance", whereas a contractor needs to submit a signed copy of the "Installer's Declaration" for civil work on private property.