Overhead and underground connections

New connections and modifications to existing overhead and underground connections must meet our requirements to ensure safety. Please reference these guidelines before changes are made to avoid delays and call back charges.

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.

Illustration of an overhead electrical connection

Service height

  • 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

  1. Across streets, lanes, alleys and pipeline right-of-way: 5.5 m
  2. Across driveways to commercial and industrial premises: 5.5 m
  3. Across driveways to residential garages: 4.5 m
  4. 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.

Service location

The location of the service entrance (wire holder) must not create an aerial trespass and shall be:

  1. In direct line of sight with BC Hydro's service pole
  2. On the wall of the building facing the power supply; or
  3. 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.

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.

Service length

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.

Meters

  • 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)

Safety and ladder use

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

Other

  • 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.

Reference guide

For complete details and requirements please refer to our overhead residential services customer reference guide [PDF, 102 KB].

Contact 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.

Illustration of an underground electrical connection

Installation

You are responsible for the supply and installation of conduit which meets the requirements of the Canadian Electrical Code and BC Hydro's standards as follows:

  1. The duct must be gray, 75 millimetres (3 inches) in diameter, rigid DB2 PVC.
  2. The duct must have a minimum of 900 millimetre (3 feet) of cover.
  3. Duct to be installed between 150 mm (6 inches) pit run base and 300 millimetre (12 inches) of pit run cover as per BC Hydro ES-54 Standards.
  4. 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.
  5. The minimum radius of any conduit bend must be 900 mm (3 feet).
  6. All underground service conduits must be drained at the building entrance as per the Canadian Electrical Code.
  7. A 3 millimetre 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 in accordance with BC Hydro Distribution Standards. To mitigate conflict with the BC Electrical Code, BC Hydro has harmonized its requirements, specifying a 50 mm (2 inches) minimum concrete encasement inside the building for 120/240V services up to 600A.

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.

Service location

The location of the service entrance must be:

  1. In direct line of sight with BC Hydro's service duct stub off, and
  2. On the wall of the building facing the power supply; or
  3. No further than 1 metre back from that wall facing BC Hydro's power supply.

Service length

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, an extension fee will apply.

Meters

  • Residential meters must be accessible to BC Hydro representatives at all times.
  • 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).

Reference guide

For complete details and requirements please refer to our underground residential services customer reference guide [PDF, 102 KB].

Contact 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.

BC Hydro crews will remove the service and the meter upon customer request at a vacant premise. Only the registered owner or authorized business partner can request the removal of service. 

Contact our Electrical Services Coordination Centre at 1 877 520 1355 to request a meter removal.

If you will be working within 3 metres of power lines, contact us to request same day disconnection and reconnection. Contact our Electrical Services Coordination Centre at 1 877 520 1355.

 

Concrete encasement of service ducts in customer-owned buildings

Information bulletin: Concrete encasement of customer service ducts inside customer-owned buildings [PDF, 1.6 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.