The Little Cabin Has Power!

The Little Cabin Has Power!

A team showed up from Sumter Utilities to pull power to the cabin.  Now Mom can move in as soon as she is ready. Want to see how they get electricity from the road to the power meter?

They are here to give us power!

Although people had been here to mark everything underground, no one had marked the main underground power. They called and got started while they waited.

Line Installers or Linemen

The forecast was thunderstorms, but they would do what they could until the rain started.

Spool of Medium Voltage Primary Underground Cable

They unloaded a spool of cable while another guy started digging close to the cabin.

Trench for power cable

The equipment is a Caterpillar Mini Excavator with Trenching Bucket. The bucket is narrow and can reach to dig a deep trench 12″ wide.

Skid Steer Trencher

The trench had some water in it, but it didn’t cave in. There is a lot of clay in the soil.


They hit some terracotta. We found other old terracotta pipes earlier. He dug around to be sure it wasn’t something important, like a sewer pipe leading somewhere. It wasn’t. There was more already broken terracotta in the dirt next to it, so it wasn’t broken by the trencher and not a problem.


The other lineman went to the truck and got some pipe.

I thought maybe they were going to run the cable through pipe like the water lines, but no. The conduit will just run from the trench up the wall to the box.

The cable they use has gel around it, so it is self-healing. It doesn’t need to be inside anything more.

Lifting the cable to pull some off.

Once 20 or so feet of trench was dug, they put the cable in it.

Dragging cable from the spool to the box

He dragged the cable off the spool and then flipped it into the trench. I lifted it to help and was surprised how heavy it is.

Trimming the cable to length

He pulled the cable through the pipe he had already bent to shape.

Cable inside PVC Conduit into Box

He opened some knockouts on the bottom of the power box and fitted the pipe through with the cable.

Grease Gun
PVC Conduit
ILSCO Utilco DE-OX Oxide Inhibitor
For all aluminum and/or copper terminations

I wondered about the grease gun. It’s just for the machine. The bottle at the bottom of the photo is ILSCO Utilco DE-OX Oxide Inhibitor.

ILSCO Utilco DE-OX Oxide Inhibitor is the goo you see where the wire is connected in.

See that white stuff where the wire goes into the meter is the ILSCO Utilco DE-OX Oxide Inhibitor. It prevents wire corrosion where they scraped off the surface of the wire to connect it.

Before crossing the waterway, they covered up the trench on that side.

The rain held off. Just a little sprinkling every now and then.

To cross the waterway, he extended the arm and leaned on the bucket.

The crew that came out first said they might have to bore under the waterway. These guys said it wouldn’t be a problem. We were really interested to see how the trench would cross the waterway.

First he lifted the spool of cable over the waterway.

Then he just drove across.

It was a little under-exciting. He just reached out with the scoop, rested on it to stabilize, and drove over the ditch.

While balanced straddling the waterway, he dug the trench up to it.

With the cat tracks straddling the waterway, he spun around and finished the trench across the berm and up to the edge of the water .

He dug a very deep trench to pass under the waterway. The dam (on the left in the photo) kept back the water as he worked.

He wobbled and inched across using the scraper blade to balance until he was on the berm on the other side.

He created a dam above where he will trench under the waterway.

Then he dumped some dirt out of the trench upstream to create a dam while he worked.

The he dug a very deep trench next to the dam way below the level of the waterway.

He dug really deep to go under the waterway. This part is probably 5-feet down.

They dug the trench the rest of the way to the transformer box.

The rest of the trench went pretty quickly. They stayed close to the property line. Nobody came out to tell them where any other cables are, so they dug carefully with shovels as they got closer to the transformer.

Cutting off the power cable to connect in the transformer box

Once they got to the transformer box, they cut off the three pieces of cable to connect them.

Insulating gloves and sleeves with shoulder straps and buttons

What do you think of all of the safety equipment? These are insulated gloves and sleeves with shoulder straps to keep them up.

Connecting the three cables

This is some serious hot wire!

Metering the cables before attaching them to the cabin box

Next he metered to confirm that the wire read as they should.

The meter cover

He lined up some pins on the meter and smacked it into place with his hand.

Everything is finished. Time to lock it up.

The meter is on and everything is finished.

We have light!

And we have lights!

Mom’s Cabin with Lights On

Isn’t it pretty?!?