New & Altered Residential Service Handbook

PUD Service Handbook (PDF)

This handbook serves as a guide for Skamania County Public Utility District's (PUD) service requirements for new or altered electric service. Updates/additions made to this handbook can be made at any time. It is the customer’s responsibility to comply with PUD guidelines in addition to and all federal, state, local codes (including but not limited to National Scenic Area, USDF, BNSF, etc.).

The customer is responsible for contacting the PUD and requesting a Service Request. Please have the following information available:

  • Service address/Parcel number
  • Mailing address
  • Contact number
  • Email address (if available)
  • Site of new structure is cleared and staked on the property

In order to assist in what service size will be needed, please know the following:

  • What type of building will this electrical service serve (home, barn, shop, etc.)?
  • What is the building’s square footage?
  • What type of electrical or gas appliances will be installed (furnace, heat pump, air conditioning, water heater, vehicle charging, etc.)?
  • Any additional large load installations?

The customer will be required to pay an application fee of $100 for residential (per lot) or $300 for commercial. After the fee has been paid, a Skamania County PUD representative will meet with the customer at the project site to go over the project.

Single Family Residential Electric Service

A single-family residence is a structure that is:

  • Located on a lot zoned for residential use.
  • Approved for occupancy as a permanent, single-family residence by the local governing agency or agencies.

A mobile or manufactured home is considered a single-family residence that also includes the following:

  • Is permanently located on a foundation.
  • Has all wheels and axles removed.
  • Meets all other requirements of a manufactured home placement permit as required by the local governing agency or agencies.

An outbuilding is a stand-alone structure that is located on residential property and is not a living space. Typical outbuildings include:

  • Barns (agricultural buildings)
  • Pump houses
  • Garages
  • Shops/storage sheds

All new single-family residences, manufactured homes and outbuildings must meet the specifications in this handbook, Washington Department of Labor and Industries and the National Electric Code (NEC).

Subdivisions/Short Plats

A residential project requiring 2 or more transformers will require the following:

  • All parcels are staked out.
  • All primary electrical equipment (i.e., junction boxes, transformers, etc.) will require a formal Request for Quote that will be submitted from Skamania PUD to its vendors.
  • Once quotes have arrived for the electrical equipment, pre-payment must be made before equipment will be ordered.
  • Customers are not allowed to purchase transformers from other vendors, only the PUD can purchase transformers needed for a project.
  • Project may be subject to an engineering study fee which requires a $500 deposit. Customer is responsible for paying the balance of the engineering study.

Note: Due to supply issues, the PUD is not responsible for changes in cost and delivery time for electrical equipment.

PUD & Customer Responsibilites

Skamania County PUD responsibilities:

  • Complete a site visit and follow-up with a fee estimate.
  • Determine if any easements/Right of Way (ROW) permits are required.
  • Supply and install the primary and secondary electrical facilities (including conduit and wire) and meter.
  • Certify that the customer supplied meter base and trench meet PUD specifications prior to service being connected.
  • Create monthly billing account. After the meter has been set, customer will be charged a minimum monthly fee regardless of usage.
  • Once the line extension is energized, Skamania PUD takes over ownership and is responsible for repairing and maintaining the electric facilities up to the service entrance equipment.

Customer responsibilities:

  • Obtaining necessary permits and land use approval (if applicable). Meters attached to a structure will require proof of a building permit prior to energizing service.
  • Contact telephone, gas, water and cable TV companies to coordinate installation of utilities for a shared trench.
  • Call 811 (Call Before You Dig) at least 2 days prior to any digging to have all underground utilities located.
  • Obtain an Electrical Permit through the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries and an electrical inspection approval.
  • Pre-pay all line extension fees.
  • Provide, install and maintain the meter base. This includes the PVC conduit and a 36-inch radius sweep that will be pointed in the direction of the trench.
  • Keeping the meter base accessible to PUD personnel.
  • Provide all trenching and backfill per PUD standard drawing.
  • Maintaining electrical equipment safety clearances all electrical equipment.
Electrical System Types

Skamania County PUD’s electrical system consists of both overhead and underground facilities.

  • If the power system is overhead, a series of poles will be visible.
  • If the power system is underground, facilities like pad-mount transformer below will be visible.

Existing utility poles without transformers may also be a source that requires the installation of an overhead transformer. Costs for additional facilities will be added to the customer’s fee estimate.

Overhead facilities and pad-mount transformer diagram

After the initial request for service has been processed, a representative from the PUD will advise the customer of the source for the new electric service. This source facility will be either a pole-mounted transformer or a pad-mounted transformer.

Meter Base Location

The location of the meter base must meet the following requirements:

  • Located on the outside of a permanent fixed structure.
  • Located on private property owned by the customer, outside of public right-of-way and any neighboring utility easements.
  • Not allowed in areas subject to being enclosed or fenced in (patios, decks, porches, breezeways).
  • On the front ⅓ of your home closest to normal public access.
  • In an area that will allow for unrestricted access by District personnel for reading, testing and disconnecting in emergency situations.
  • In an area not subject to damage from vehicles.
  • Must be located between 5 feet and 6 feet above finish grade with a ringed meter base cover (ringless will not be accepted).
  • Be at least 36 inches from any gas meter.
  • Clear working space of 3 feet deep in front of the meter is to be maintained and kept clear of obstructions including landscaping, desks, air conditioners, etc.
  • 20 inch minimum horizontal and vertical clearance must be maintained between the center of any meter and any obstruction.
  • Structures over the top of underground conduit and wire will not be allowed.

Preferred meter base locations


The customer is responsible for all digging/backfilling the electric service trench. The following requirements are needed prior to the PUD energizing service:

  • Customer is responsible to dig up to the PUD source (i.e. pole, transformer, pedestal, junction box, etc).
  • Trencher/ditch witch is not acceptable
  • Any trenching done within public right-of-way or on property not owned by the customer, only a PUD approved licensed and bonded contractor, hired by the customer, may perform work within the public right-of-way or on neighboring property and must adhere to the standards of the local jurisdiction.
  • Trench must be 36 inches to 48 inches (3 feet to 4 feet) deep, measured from the surface to the top of the conduit, by 1 foot wide (minimum). Any turns/bends in the trench will require a 2-foot width.
  • Trench shall be as straight as possible.
  • Trench shall be free of trash and be thoroughly compacted throughout.
  • Native backfill containing large rocks, paving materials, cinders, large or sharply angular substance, or corrosive material shall not be placed back into the trench.
  • Contact Skamania PUD once the trench is open. Trenching should only be done after the electrical inspection has taken place and the meter base, riser conduit and the 36-inch radius sweep have been installed.
  • Schedule the trenching so the trench is open for the shortest time to avoid creating a public hazard and minimize the possibility of the trench collapsing


Conduit SizeAverage Diameter SizeMinimum Depth (from surface to bottom of conduit)
2.5 inch Conduit2.875 inches (2⅞ inches)36 inches + 2⅞ inches= 38⅞ inches
3 inch Conduit3.5 inches (3½ inches)36 inches + 3½ inches= 39½ inches
4 inch Conduit4.5 inches (4½ inches)36 inches + 4½ inches = 40½ inches

Note: Customer-owned electric services on the customer (load) side of the meter fall under the jurisdiction of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. It is the customer’s responsibility to adhere to each governing body’s specifications in regards to trenching, conduit, wire, etc.

Identifying Underground Utilities

State law requires that the customer call the underground utilities locating service at least 2 full business days (48 hours) before trenching or excavating to install new underground electric service. Customers can call the “Call Before You Dig” number, 811 which notifies all affected utilities in that area. The customer is responsible for marking in white paint the proposed excavation route prior to calling in for locates. See the table below for color code markings of each utility.

  • Underground electric distribution and service lines owned and maintained by Skamania PUD will be located, this service is free of charge.
  • The customer is responsible for facilitating locates of customer-owned underground electric lines installed behind the meter.

Color red - underground electric service; color yellow - underground gas,oil, and steam service; color orange - telephone, cablet tv underground service; color blue - underground water service; color purple - underground reclaimed water; color green - underground sewer service; color pink - temporary survey marks; color white - proposed excavation

Joint Use Facilities

Joint use describes a group of utilities that share pole space or trenches in an effort to keep installation and maintenance costs lower for the customer.

  • Customer may place telephone or cable television facilities in a joint trench with electric service conductors, providing the installation meets the requirements of Skamania County PUD.
  • Septic/Sewer lines and drainage fields are not allowed in a joint trench.

Whenever an existing Skamania PUD power pole is replaced or an overhead service is converted to underground and the pole has joint users attached, the pole will be abandoned to the remaining joint user on that pole. The PUD has no authority to remove or relocate other utilities on the pole. It is the customer’s responsibility to contact all joint use utilities for conversion of their services and to coordinate the removal of pole(s) prior to the beginning of the project.

Equipment Clearances

Underground electrical facilities must be readily accessible by the utility during construction and for future operation and maintenance. To ensure readily accessible equipment the utilities requires:

  • Minimum of 10 feet of clear, level, working space is required on all 4 sides of a pad-mounted transformer. This allows utility personnel enough room to perform transformer switching (rerouting of high voltage power) and maintenance.
  • No structure can be within 10 feet of any PUD equipment.
  • Landscaping, fences and other obstructions must not encroach on these clearances. The table and illustrations below provide additional safety clearances that might be installed near pad-mounted equipment.

Combustible walls or roof10 feet
Non-combustible walls or roof10 feet
Fire sprinkler valves, standpipes and fire hydrants6 feet
Doors, windows, vents, fire escapes and other building openings10 feet
The water’s edge of a swimming pool or any body of water25 feet
Facilities used to store hazardous liquids or gases (e.g. fuel storage tank or fueling points)10 feet
Sewer Line (in parallel) or Drainage Field (for PUD equipment and underground lines)15 feet
Gas service meters15 feet

Transformer residential equipment clearance

Construction Fees

During the scheduled site visit, a Skamania County PUD representative will determine the required equipment and length of wire needed to complete the line extension of which a fee estimate will be created. After the fee estimate has been generated, the customer agrees to the following:

  • The price quoted is an estimate, any changes to the design might incur additional material/labor charges, of which will have to be paid in full prior to energizing service.
  • The estimate is valid for 60 days of the date of the fee estimate.
  • After payment has been made, the customer has up to 1 year for the PUD to perform the services itemized and for the price quoted.
  • If services are not performed within 1 year from the date of the fee estimate, the PUD shall return the funds paid by the customer.
  • If services have been partially performed and no additional work has been performed in over a year, the PUD shall return the unperformed portion of the estimate.
  • If payment has not been made within 60 days, the PUD shall not be bound by the price quoted and the customer shall be required to obtain a new estimate of costs to perform the line extension.
Easements & Permits

Skamania PUD will determine if an easement or right-of-way permit is required to install the line extension. The following is required prior to energizing service:

  • All required easements and road permits must be executed and on file with Skamania PUD prior to construction.
  • Customer is responsible to obtain the appropriate building permits and if applicable National Scenic Area land use permits.
  • Customer must obtain the necessary signatures on easement forms prepared by the District and will return the easement documents back to the District (original documents only, no copies).
  • Easements may be required from owner(s) of all properties that District facilities will cross, in addition to the property being served.
  • Customer shall secure all necessary easements at the customer’s expense.
  • The District will apply for the right-of-way permit on the customer’s behalf and the customer is responsible for all fees associated with this permit.
  • No work in the right-of-way shall be performed until this permit has been secured.

Prior to energizing service, the newly installed customer equipment requires an electrical inspection from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries. It is the customer’s responsibility to request the inspection and pay the appropriate fees.

  • Electrical installations must be applied for and inspected by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Electrical Inspector
  • Meeting all the requirements for temporary and permanent service equipment in compliance with the NEC (National Electric Code), WAC (Washington Administrative Code) and any other federal, state and local codes and ordinances that apply to the project.
  • After customer equipment has an approved electrical inspection, it is the customer’s responsibility to notify Skamania PUD when the trench will be open for Skamania PUD to inspect the trench.
  • To get more information on electrical inspections call (360) 896-2350 or visit the Electrical Permits and Inspections page.
Tree Clearing
  • The customer shall remove all trees and brush from the power line easement, which will be maintained by the District in the future (for overhead facilities only).
  • District personnel will approve the clearing before the job is released for construction.
  • When clearing is needed in a public right-of-way, the District’s tree clearing personnel will do the clearing at the customer’s expense.
Altered Services

If there is an existing service where the power must be removed, relocated or upgraded, the customer has to call in for a Service Request and pay the necessary application fee and schedule a site visit. Customer is responsible for the same items outlined in this handbook.

Temporary Service

Skamania County PUD has two temporary services available, overhead and underground. During the site visit the Skamania PUD Representative will advise which route to take.

Overhead Temporary Service

  • Provide the meter base, PVC conduit, support, conductor (up to the weather head/service mast) and paneling based on the size of service needed.
  • Install temporary service pole within 30 feet of the transformer pole and no closer than 10 feet.
  • Have meter base inspected and approved by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Permit and inspection sticker must be displayed.
  • Service drop conductor must maintain a minimum height of 12 feet over open space and 18 feet over driveways.
  • Consult and electrician or Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Electrical Inspector for current NEC guidelines for service entrance, meter base and grounding codes.
  • Once permanent service has been inspected, the PUD will de-energize the temporary service and remove the meter.

Overhead temporary service diagram

Underground Temporary Service

  • Provide the meter base, PVC conduit, support, conductor and paneling based on the size of service needed (if temporary service is not located near a transformer, the PUD will provide and install the conductor at customer’s expense).
  • Locate temporary service adjacent to but no closer than 3 feet from a Skamania County PUD pedestal or transformer with a minimum of at least 8 feet of extra conductor (measured at the transformer) for termination.
  • Have meter base inspected and approved by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Permit and inspection sticker must be displayed.
  • Consult and electrician or Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Electrical Inspector for current NEC guidelines for service entrance, meter base and grounding codes.
  • Once permanent service has been inspected, the PUD will de-energize the temporary service, abandon the underground conductor and remove the meter.

Underground Temporary Service

Underground Services

To ensure power reliability, all new underground service entrances must be within 200 feet of a transformer. If service entrance equipment is greater than 200 feet, the PUD will have to install a transformer at customer’s expense. The most common service entrance equipment are surface mounted and stand alone.

Surface Mounted Equipment

  • Service entrance equipment can only be surface-mounted, flush mounted equipment (where the conduit is in the foundation) is not acceptable.
  • Service equipment maintenance remains the customer’s responsibility.
  • Meter base, PVC and 90º sweep must be secured to a structure prior to service being energized

Stand Alone Meter Post

Services to homes where the meter is on a post are customer-owned and maintained from the service disconnect to the structure. When installing an underground service not attached to a structure, refer to the following general specification and contact the local governing body for additional NEC requirements.

  • Meter base and PVC conduit shall be securely attached and mounted on a unistrut with steel structure that is encased in concrete, wooden meter post will not be accepted.
  • Have a 4-wire feed behind the meter that supplies the structure.
  • The service main must be located within 30 feet of the manufactured home but not attached to the structure (only factory-installed meter bases can be attached to manufactured homes).

Stand alone meter post diagram

See table below for size of conduit required for the PVC and 90º sweep on the Line Side of the service entrance.

Service SizeMinimum Service Entrance Conduit Requirement
100 amps or less2 ½ inch, gray, schedule 40, PVC
101 to 200 amps3 inch, gray, schedule 40, PVC
201 to 400 amps3 inch, gray, schedule 40, PVC
Over 400 ampsPUD personnel will give guidance about conduit size for service entrance

Note: Exposed conduit from final grade to the bottom of the meter base is referred to as the service entrance conduit.

Other Types of Service Configurations

The following meter base configurations are no longer acceptable, no new customer equipment (i.e. meter base, riser, etc.) can be attached to a PUD pole. Any service requests that include modifying/altering customer equipment will result in customers requiring to install a stand alone meter base.

Meter Bases

Skamania PUD metering equipment standards for single-family residential structures are based upon the single-phase service ratings. All residential meter bases that are installed shall meet the following general requirements:

  • Rated for exterior use and rain tight.
  • Underwriters Laboratories (UL) rated.
  • Have unused openings in the enclosure tightly sealed from the inside of the base.
  • Installed level, plumb, and fastened securely to a rigid structure.
  • Secondary Surge Arrestor Meter Sockets will not be accepted.
  • Meter Mounted Transfer Switches will not be accepted.

Note: Specific metering requirement for 200 amp and 400 amp services are listed below. It is the customer’s responsibility to install the appropriate meter base. The PUD cannot give guidance, any questions about the meter base need to be address by an electrician or the Washington Department of Labor and Industries.

200 - Amp Service

The 120/240-volt 200-amp service is the most common residential service installed by Skamania County PUD. Typically, the size of service is installed to home with a living area of less than 2,400 square-feet. Depending upon the type of appliances, heating and cooling system or other equipment (hot tub, jetted tub, car charger, etc.) being installed, a larger service may be necessary. It is the customer’s responsibility to determine and notify Skamania County PUD of the electrical requirements based on connected load.

In addition to the meter base requirements mentioned earlier, meter bases for 200amp underground services shall:

  • Be rated for 120/240 volts and 200 amps.
  • Contain 4 meter jaws and a connection point for the neutral conductor.
  • Accept 3 inch, PVC, conduit.
  • Have lugs (electrical connectors) that are marked to accept 4/0 aluminum conductors.

Note: Do not route service conductor through the center knockout located on the bottom of the meter base.
200-amp services underground diagram

400 - Amp Service

The meter base required for a 120/240-volt 400-amp service is called a class 320meter base. It is larger than the 200-amp meter base, but it is still a self-contained metering system. It can be installed on residences where the continuous current rating is 320 amp or less. In addition to the meter base requirements mentioned earlier, meter bases for Class 320 for 400-amp services require:

  • Rating for 120/240 volts and 320 amps continuous current.
  • 4-meter jaws and 1 connection point for the neutral conductor.
  • A Class 320 manual block bypass.
  • Lever bypass devices are not allowed.

Note: Do not route service conductor through the center knockout located on the bottom of the meter base. Any structure needing more than 320 amps of continuous current, a CT metered service will be required.

Residential Current Transformer (CT) Metering

Services greater than 400 amp (320 amps continuous current) require CT metering. This type of metering system requires prior approval from a Skamania County PUD Representative and requires an additional construction charge. This service requires a different meter base and equipment. All underground CT metering equipment will be installed by Skamania County PUD and be located at the transformer.

Grounding & Bonding Requirements

Grounding and bonding is critical for safety and electrical reliability. The customer is responsible to ensure that the electrical wiring and service equipment is grounded and bonded in accordance with the NEC and the local governing office.
4oo - amp Skamania PUD service line and customer wire diagram

  • Approval — Acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction.
  • Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) — Identifying number assigned by the county assessor’s office to each taxable building lot in the county. Also referred to as the tax ID number.
  • Backfill — Native soil or soil brought in from another area, free from sharp objects, rocks, scrap building material, and corrosive material.
  • Call Before You Dig — Call 811 or (800) 424-5555 for the national one call underground utility locating service.
  • Clearance — A set distance between two objects.
  • Conduit — A listed or approved wireway with a smooth interior surface. Conduit may vary in size or schedule (wall thickness), depending on its usage, in accordance with codes and Lewis County PUD’ specifications.
  • Current transformers (CT) — A device used to measure the current flow of larger services (401 amps or greater) in conjunction with a low voltage meter.
  • Joint use — A group of utilities that share space on a utility pole or trench.
  • Meter jaw — A spring-loaded receptacle installed inside a meter base, interfacing the terminals of the meter to the source and load conductors of the service.
  • Meter post — A freestanding structure that supports the metering equipment owned and maintained by the customer.
  • Meter base — The mounting device consisting of meter jaws, connectors, and enclosure for accommodating socket-type meters.
  • Metering equipment — Any equipment associated with measuring electrical energy.
  • Neutral — The grounded conductor in a single-phase, 3-wire, or 3phase, 4-wire system. The service conductor that is at zero potential to ground.
  • Secondary voltage — The lower voltage, after transformation, used to supply the customer with electrical energy. Normally less than 600 volts.
  • Self-contained — In reference to meter bases: a device designed and rated to continuously carry the entire capacity of the service entrance equipment through the meter.
  • Service entrance equipment — Service conduit, conductors, service mast, meter base, enclosures and service disconnect.
  • Service mast — The conduit attached to the top of the meter base used to intercept and support the overhead service drop.
  • Skamania County PUD representative — The designated representative responsible for design and coordination of new or upgraded services to utility customers.
  • Source — Skamania County PUD’ equipment (transformer, pedestal, pole) that supplies the customer’s electric service.
  • Subdivision/Short Plat — A residential parcel that has been divided 2 or more building lots.
  • Temporary service — An electrical service providing power to a customer on a temporary basis.
  • Transformer — Equipment used to reduce (step down) primary voltage to the secondary voltage required to supply the customer.
  • Underwriters Laboratories (UL) — A nationally recognized test laboratory that lists materials it has tested and accepted.