Underground Service Upgrades


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Underground Service Upgrades

Hello Edmonton and welcome to a great electrical read about Underground Service Upgrades!

Today we want to help educate about underground service upgrades and why they need to be done the correct way. With underground electrical service upgrades there are a few key factors to consider when coming up with the right plan to have the job done right. Any service upgrade is of substantial cost and also a great benefit to benefit to any homeowner, or landowner.

Keep it at 100 amps

Underground service upgrades more often than not are going to stay at 100 Amps. Service upgrades staying at 100 Amps are often required by either insurance companies or homeowners who may have found out that a panel in their home is not CSA approved or code compliant with today’s electrical standards.

Let’s Begin!

Whether your motivation to upgrade your service is due to insurance, safety, or a renovation requiring more power you can be assured that it is the right call. When performed correctly these upgrades improve safety, and will help in the case of selling a property should you ever choose to.

Keep Your Home Safe

Common reasons for an underground service upgrade to stay at a 100 Amps would be in the case of a Bulldog Pushmatic panel, a Federal panel, a Commander Sylvania panel or a Westinghouse Panel. These panels are all known in the residential electrical industry to be problematic and should be taken out of service.

Federal Panels are a very well known fire hazard but at the end of the day any one of these panelboards in a home are reason enough to make it safe with a service upgrade done by your Edmonton electrician. Having these done right the first time can save a lot of headache and money.

Improve The Breakers.

Often these breakers can fail without any warning, and typically  they will fail when overloaded with high draw loads. We get to see this most frequently during Holiday and Christmas seasons, heat waves with air conditioning, or when someone adds a new high draw appliance to a circuit.

Worth The Price Tag

As unfortunate as it is, there is a large reason why many people put off this installation, usually being the hefty price tag that comes with it. All scenarios are a little bit different, but by no means is it an inexpensive renovation.

Keep Things Up To Code!

When upgrading an underground service to bring a system up to current electrical codes and make a building safe there are alot of electrical parts and equipment that are involved. In addition to the over 50 electrical items that are needed, an electrical permit needs to be in place, an inspection needs to be booked, and the utility authority needs to be involved as well.

Stay Away From D.I.Y.

Truth be told, electrical work is not rocket science, HOWEVER, service upgrades are certainly not a “do it yourself” task. Unless you are okay with being without power for weeks or more and failing multiple inspections we would highly recommend not doing this project yourself. A professional electrical contractor is the only smart way to go about tackling a project like this. 

The materials alone are a big reason why an experienced electrical contractor should be tasked for such a project undertaking. Not any electrician or electrical contractor should be tasked with a job this size with so many specifications to be followed by the utility company and by the canadian electrical code.

 Experience Pays Off

The more experience with these jobs the better, as the rules to follow on these electrical projects change very frequently. Your utility provider will have a connection guide that they want to be followed for safety and compliance, and in addition to this the Canadian Electrical Code, or CEC changes every 3 years to adapt to new safety regulations.

200 Amp Underground Service Upgrades? No Problem!

The biggest factor to consider with a 200 amp underground service upgrade is what your local utility authority having jurisdiction is going to do in the case of upgrading your incoming primary electrical service. Oftentimes the utility company transformer will need to be upgraded to a larger transformer capable of more electrical load.

New Cabling Will Be Necessary

More often than not that cabling running underground will require to be upgraded to a larger cable to support the higher demand that comes with a 200 amp service. Existing cabling for a 100A service will be rated for about 100A. If your ampacity is remaining at 100A, then nothing needs to be changed here provided the cabling is still in good working order and the length is sufficient.

If you are upgrading to 200A however a new cable will need to be run to the meter location. This new cable has various ratings to follow for underground burial and service usage. Typically this cable will be drilled underground or a new trench will be dug to the appropriate depth. There are many factors to consider when burying a service cable for an underground electrical service upgrade.

Double Check Your Jurisdiction

When upgrading a 200 amp service that is fed underground the first step is to reach out to your local authority having jurisdiction. In the case of Edmonton the local authority having jurisdiction is Epcor. In local surrounding rural areas such as Saint Albert, Sherwood park, and other Alberta counties  the electrical authority having jurisdiction would typically be Fortis. You can check the utility tag on your electrical meter outside to see who your provider in that area would be.

These “authorities having jurisdiction” as our electrical code puts it are the powers that be when it comes to upgrading the electrical infrastructure in an area. Whenever a homeowner or business wants to upgrade their main electrical primary incoming service many conditions must be met and these conditions are enforced by both the utility company, and the safety codes inspectors for the area.

 Some Due Diligence Required

Between the inspections, and the utility companies, there are alot of factors to consider, before even looking at the moving parts needed to put in place for an underground service upgrade. Once Epcor or Fortis agrees that the service ampacity can be increased then at this time the construction can begin!

The First Steps Of Any Underground Service Upgrade

The first step to any electrical service upgrade is going to be the planning stage. This is where the utility disconnection will be booked, and the prep work will be set in place and the appropriate materials will be ordered. The homeowner would typically arrange this to be done with Epcor or Fortis, and would also arrange this to be done with the electrical contractor.

Once the plan is in place between The homeowner and the utility company, and between the homeowner and the electrical contractor then deposits can be paid and materials can be ordered.


Typically for underground service upgrades staying at 100A a single full day of work can be enough to complete the job. If the panel needs to be relocated to comply with new electrical codes then there will likely be a day of prep needed.

 Prep Work Is Needed Before-hand

When underground service upgrades exceed 100A then multiple days of prep work are typically needed to bring over a new line for the utility company as well as for the electrical contractor.

Full Day Of Shutdown May Be Needed

When the preparation days are complete then the day of shutdown and transfer over can occur. It is at this time that the power to the home will be de-energized for the duration of the day.

The inspector at this time will show up and either approve or disapprove the electrical work done and notify the electrical utility to reconnect the power. After that the utility provider will come and reconnect the power to the home.

Once power is restored there are often electrical issues with the branch circuits inside the home. Previously these electrical issues were likely not caught by an old panelboard system due to age and ineffectiveness. Like anything, man made panels and breakers will fail over time. As more appliances and devices are added to homes over the years the likelihood of overloaded circuits will increase as well.


Once those additional items and branch circuits are made safe, power to the home is fully restored and everything can be cleaned up.

No Small Project

This project undertaking is no small task, and anyone looking to do underground service upgrades is strongly encouraged to give us a call at Hauer Power Electrical. We are your Edmonton Electrician and we aim to please. 

Call The Professionals

If you or someone you know would like an estimate to make their home safe and upgrade their electrical service please start by giving us a call at 780-935-0622, by sending our office an email at info@hauerpower.ca, or by filling out this form.

We would be thrilled to provide you with an underground service upgrade and have your electrical system safely brought up to current electrical standards.