Obtaining permits from the City of Austin:
We can apply for our stand-alone electrical permits through the city’s website. If we are replacing the meter can on your project, we will need an ESPA form from Austin Energy first. We apply for this through an email service they have. Once we have a stamped form, we can fill out the permit application online and attach the ESPA if applicable to the job. The city will review the application and approve the permit if everything is in order. They will email us the approval, and we can then pay for the permit online. On average, this process takes 1-3 business days depending on the city’s workload and whether or not we need that ESPA form. The permit becomes immediately active once we pay for it.
Spot locations after a permit is active:
Once a permit has become active for a service rebuild with meter can replacement, Austin Energy automatically sends one of their spotters out to locate where they want the service located on the structure. This spot check happens the day after the permit fee is paid. They will need access to where the service is to look at it. If they are locked out, or an animal is loose to block their attempt, they will charge a $250 return trip fee to the permit for the spot. We will let you know when the permit has become active and we can send them an email if they need to call someone for access. They will leave a yellow tag on the wall where they want it with any notes that they may have. Our quotes come standard assuming we will be putting the service back in its existing location. Overhead services will have a point of attachment at 12’6” off the ground unless otherwise noted. If the spot tag is in a different place from the original service or has notes telling us to do something different from the quote, we may have to alter the quote.
Unoccupied Structure outage:
After we have obtained the permit from the City of Austin for the work to be done, we call Austin Energy’s dispatch and request an outage from them. This work can be scheduled as soon as the permit is active, but we need to coordinate with our schedule to make sure we can get there soon after the power is disconnected. Once it is on their books, they have 1-3 business days to disconnect the service. They don’t call when they do this, just leave a tag by the meter and disconnect the house. Once it is disconnected, we can perform our work.
We don’t necessarily mean that we will be out the next day after they disconnect the house. We schedule our work to happen on the 4th day after the initiated outage request. This way, we know the power will be off. We’ll perform our install and call for an inspection the next day. Once the inspection has passed, Austin Energy has 1-3 days to restore power to the house. They won’t turn any breakers on, but they will reconnect and reinstall the meter.
We schedule a short visit shortly after the power is restored to return to review the work and label the panel. Occasionally, time may be extended to troubleshoot issues that may arise due to having arc-fault breakers installed.
This whole scenario will leave the house without power for a week to a week and a half. This option is the only one for unoccupied structures.
Occupied structure outage - Service in the same location:
After we have obtained the permit from the City of Austin for the work to be done, we call Austin Energy’s dispatch and set up an appointment with them for an outage. Depending upon their schedule, the wait could be as much as 3-4 weeks. In this situation, the only times they do this is 8 or 9 AM on normal business days. This scheduling is to give us enough time to rebuild the service in one day. We shoot for the 8 AM slot unless it is a very simple service.
We will meet them there for the disconnect on the scheduled day and proceed to replace the service. Once we have our grounding in place, the panel and meter installed, and the main breaker terminated, we can call for our temporary inspection. This inspection will release the service to Austin Energy to return that same day and hook the power back up. We will continue to finish off any other work associated with the service such as terminating branch circuit breakers and labeling the panel. We will still need to call for a final inspection either the next day or any business day later up to six months out. The permit will expire after six months, incurring reactivation fees.
This option does not leave the structure without power overnight. Usually, power is restored to the service between 1-3 PM and the rest of the house between 2-5 PM. Variations in the time that power is restored can occur depending upon various items like Austin Energy’s return and the number of breakers to be terminated. However, the structure will have power restored that same day.
If we call for an occupied outage, but the structure is really unoccupied, Austin Energy will fine us $250 and won’t turn the service back on that day. It will fall back to 1-3 days after the inspector has released the service for them to hook it back up.
Occupied structure outage - Service in a different location:
After we have obtained the permit from the City of Austin for the work to be done, we can schedule to build the new service in its new location as long as it doesn’t require us to move any portion of the existing service. With this option, the power remains on during this first trip. Once the grounding, meter, and panel are in place, we can call for a temporary inspection the next day. After this inspection passes, we call Austin Energy’s dispatch and set up an appointment for a cutover.
This option typically takes about a week to get on their schedule. During business days an appointment is expected for 10 or 11 AM. We typically get there first thing the day of the cutover to start preparing the service wires to move to the new service. This option will usually mean you’ll most likely be shut down soon after we get there. When Austin Energy arrives, they just transfer power from the old meter to the new one. We’ll continue to transfer the circuits from the old location to the new one and restore power that same day.
The power will only be out during the day of the cutover and times will vary based on the service size. It will not go overnight without power. We will have to get a final inspection after we are complete. This inspection can happen as soon as the next day or any business day later up to six months out. The permit will expire after six months, incurring reactivation fees.
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