Before the ground is broken, before you choose a floor plan, before you even talk to a builder, be sure to give your utility companies a call.

They can provide you with information and advice to help you avoid unnecessary expenses and construction delays. And many utilities offer significant cash rebates or other incentives for investing in energy efficiency.

Your building site

If you have a lot in mind, especially in a rural location, your utility can help you determine if the cost of the lot includes electric and natural gas service, and if it's available. If not, you'll be responsible for the cost of extending service to your home site.

If you're considering a new home in a development or subdivision, this usually isn't a concern, but it's a good idea to verify the information the developer provides.

The cost of extending service varies depending on the site's proximity to existing equipment. By contacting your utility before you buy, you'll know if you need to build any additional expenses into your budget or allow extra time for installation.

Groundbreaking date

At least six weeks before you break ground, give your utility company a call to sign up for new service. This ensures that they'll be able to connect you on time.

Utility engineers will need to know your construction start date, your new address, and the telephone numbers of your contractors.You might also check with your builder to see if temporary power is needed during the early phases of construction.

Septic system layout or well location

If you're building in a rural area, this information helps determine where to install service.

Future addition and building plans

If you think you might add a deck or build an addition to your house in the future, let your utility know. They can take these plans into account when we choose the best location for your meter. That way, you won't be faced with the unnecessary expense of moving your meter later on.

Locating meters

If you wish, a utility representative can visit your building site to determine the best and safest way to locate the gas and electric meters. While construction is in progress, make sure your contractors keep the route to this area open - free from scrap piles, dumpsters, large rocks and other materials that might prevent technicians from installing service.

Final excavation

Check with your builder or contractor to find out when final excavation of your lot is scheduled. The trenching path must be within six inches of final grade before gas or electric service can be installed.

Moving date

Let your utility know when you plan to move into your new home, so they can make sure your service is available when you arrive.

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