Electric service connected to a home in a 3rd World Country?

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Asia-Off-Grid, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Not exactly an off-grid topic. Sorry. I wasn't sure where else to place it. (If it needs to be moved, my apologies ahead of time.)

    Anyway, my girlfriend's farm, here in provincial Cambodia, is currently run from 100% solar power. It has been run continuously off solar for the past few years, mostly to make life a bit better for her aging parents. I hated to see them run around in the dark, when I first began dating their daughter.

    In the past couple of months, while we have been away, the local utility sank some poles in the ground along the farm road and have started running power to the small homes in that area. Most are poor farmers who could not afford the exorbitant costs to run service to their homes, anyway. (Over $100 USD for their cheapest package, just to connect the service to a house.) But, for those who can, it is still ridiculously limited. But, we talked it over and made a decision. We figured we would jump in and have service connected - purely as a second source of power - mains as backup power. Almost humorous, here.

    While going through this process, it caused me to start thinking of the service I had connected when I upgraded my last home in the US. It was a small home that I upgraded to 200A service.

    Anyone know the minimum sized service drop for residential service, nowadays, back in the Good Ol' US of A?

    Anyway, here, you pay by what size service you want, just on a much different scale. While all service voltage here is 230 volts, 50 hz, they don't start out quite as high with the ampere ratings.

    In the area of the farm, you have a choice of 10amp, 20amp, or 30amp service. That's it. No more.

    My g/f wanted us to stick with 20 ampere service, until I started adding up some typical appliances and electrical requirements they have. Now, she is on board with the "big daddy package" of 30 amperes.

    1 - One HP Air-Con = 745 watts
    1 - Water Kettle = 1850 watts
    1 - Rice Cooker = 400 watts
    1 - Desktop Computer & Network = 180 watts
    1 - Low Wattage Instant Water Heater (shower) = 3,500 watts (A high output water heater would run about 6,000 watts.)

    Personally, I think we will stick with solar for our primary power source, water pumping and heating, anyway. It may not be as cheap, even when only paying $.25c / kWh. But, I know how it works and have the parts and know how to repair it if / when it stops functioning. Besides, mains power isn't particularly clean or very reliable, here in SE Asia.

    If you are willing to share, and if you had a limited (maximum) choice of 6,900 watts available to you, what would you choose to run? Would that be enough to keep you comfortable in your current lifestyle? Or, if it is more than you personally use / need, how much is your typical power use? Here at our apartment in town, we typically use between 5 kWh to 8 kWh per day. 8 kWh is the maximum typically used, daily. But, our rate is higher here in the city. Per kWh cost is about $.38c US.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    6900 would serve me well. I run in the high 400 kWh per month, which is quite low compared to the average. My backup gennie is (IIRC) 5600 watt and I've yet to hear it strain, barely perceptible increase in tone when the well pump kicks on. Current billing rate is 16.2 cents per, including all sorts of fees and taxes on the base rate of 7.55 cents per (you can see the more than double---.)

    It's worth noting and the mention that I'm served with 240V and am billed on that, not the amps that 110v would draw. I have a 400 amp service, but sure don't need it, the previous owner had a slew of power tools in a wood shop. I think that the code standard service these days is 200 amp, but cannot be sure about that.
    Seepalaces, BTPost and Asia-Off-Grid like this.
  3. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    My house had a 60 amp service when I bought it, but the mortgage requirements required a minimum of 100 amps. (The seller had tried to pull a fast one, and got caught just before the closing date, so had to pay for the upgrade to current 100 amp standards.) Turned out, I knew the electrician personally, and there was about $100.00 diffrence in parts for a 200 amp service and panel (which allowed for a lot more breaker room.) So I paid the diffrence, and had him install the 200 amp version. Much easier to add circuits, or make changes with a larger panel, and I can give some larger items thier own breakers.
    Edit: it also allowed for a dedicated outlet in every room just for computers to plug into.
    Asia-Off-Grid and Seepalaces like this.
  4. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Standard in the US is probably 200, although you probably could do 150 (why would you want to), mine is 200 and the guy that re-wired my folks home after he bought it put in a 300 Amp service, and I'm sure he exceeded the 200' distance to the xformer that is required my my power company.

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  5. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    It depends on the age of the home. A lot of older homes have 100 amp and newer ones have 200 amp service. I believe older means 1960s and 1970s. The house I built in 1981 had 200 amp.
    Asia-Off-Grid and Seepalaces like this.
  6. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    My place in rural Idaho was built in 2009 and I have 200 amp.

    In Central Asia my home had a 50 amp service (the standard like Cambodia was 20 or 30 amp) which I got fed up with and grease a few palms to get it upgraded to 100 amp which was out of the standard but was done by those that could afford it and then had to grease a few more to run boiler off the electric. Everything was single-phase there as I imagine it is in Cambodia which took a bit of getting use to but had its advantages. I think you did right connecting the farm to the electrically company as an alternate source and also going to the max 30 amp. It's what I would have done. My mother-in-law house...Whew! There was an accident waiting to happen had 2 ea. 10 amp mains which I swear dated back to WW2. Scared me so bad that I tore it completely out and rewired the entire house.

    Congrats on getting extra power to the farm. You're g/f parents must be delighted!
    Seepalaces likes this.
  7. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Service main here is related to square feet of a home, farm/ranch is what you need and can pay for.

    We get one pole free and have to pay for more. We purchase our meter loop and main breaker or it can be tied to your monthly bill.

    My main is 200 but this place is so efficient that I could skate by on 30 amps.

    Main thing is the 200 amp service means the Co-Op drops the larger cable size and that of course means less resistance.

    Weather Events
    Storms gone for the moment had a F1 tornado strike a mile away. Straight line winds of 90mph, but no damage for now.

    Three more days of disturbed weather, thunderstorms predicted.
    Ganado, Asia-Off-Grid and Seepalaces like this.
  8. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    As the transformer is at the end of our driveway and underground from there. The house was upgraded to 200 amp.

    My meters (old Fluke and Sinometer MS8268) both read 123V and 246V.
    Asia-Off-Grid and Seepalaces like this.
  9. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    I still remember when I installed the solar. At the time, I installed CFLs, later changing them out for LEDs. Anyway, when the solar was first connected, her papa stood there - seemed like for 20 minutes, just flipping the light switch on and off. That was the first time he had ever lived in a home with any sort of power. He didn't care that it was low voltage lighting, only that it was in his little home.

    Some things are just priceless.

    We paid for the poles yesterday, actually. 1 @ $20 USD and 2 @ $15 USD. Unfortunately, you pay for everything here, down to the last cable wrap. With all the costs associated with connecting mains power here, I cannot believe how many can even afford it.

    After going there yesterday, we read that we are only limited by the size of our wallets.

  10. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    That is SEA for ya.
    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  11. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    It seems SEA hasn't changed much.
    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  12. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    You Play and you Pay.
  13. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Nope. For the monies shown above, you get nothing but the right to say you are entitled to have electric service at the address specified in the application form.

    EVERYTHING you will need from the power company's pole will have to be purchased, that is - in addition to the fees I listed above, including all breakers, all wire, all power points (sockets), all switches, and all power poles to carry the twisted wire to the residence, including the power meter.

    Here is a photo of the pole, where the power company will connect our service.

    There is a meter inside each of those boxes. But, we are still required to buy another one that will attach to the farm house. (God only knows why. And, I am not brave enough to ask such a question.)
  14. Tikka

    Tikka Monkey+++

    @Cruisin Sloth
    Welcome to SE Asia where as @Asia-Off-Grid mentioned it is not wise to ask questions.

    We added power at our campsite. Before Georgia Power would do the install we had to have a power pole, panel, and meter box. After we paid to have a 20-25' pole installed; they ran the power underground. Go figure...

    As in winter we didn't use any power we paid $10 to use zero power.
    Asia-Off-Grid likes this.
  15. Asia-Off-Grid

    Asia-Off-Grid RIP 11-8-2018

    Where I am from in the US, the power company covered everything up to the weather head on the home. We were responsible for everything from the weather head, into the home.
  16. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Power co is responsible as you note. Meaning, if you want a new service you pay for it, they (or a qualified contractor) install and are responsible to maintain it but at your expense from the pole to the peckerhead. Maybe you can get a deal, depending on the distance from an existing wire to the house, but not normally. I got a freebie when I upgraded from a 60 amp aerial service to a 200 amp underground service because the powco was trying to increase the base load on the plants in the area. If you live more than a pole space from the existing wire, you won't get a break, and you must use a qualified contractor for the installation.

    In other words, consumer pays, but it isn't cumshaw.
    Cruisin Sloth and Asia-Off-Grid like this.
  17. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Maybe not 3 phase.

    New installs here have the high voltage as two wires on the out side of the cross bar and a ground in the middle. Giving you only single phase. Except here the ground wire is about a foot higher and is thus at the peak for lightening protection. Off course home power 120 is not truly single phase. You will usually only find 120 single phase in the Navy for there each leg is 60 volts to ground and 120 across the hots.

    Once did a refit on an old Spanish plate and rivet tramp streamer (really a diesel) Main Switch Board switches were reverse of now. Large Manual pull bars were "UP is OFF" , "Down is ON" a real killer for those who did not check for power and assumed the Festoon lighting was all from shore power.

    Then of course this was a 220Vdc ship. The 220Vdc was a single feed to any switch and the hull was the ground.

    Nice to know how to Read Spanish Marine schematics.

    The CIA later used that ship for OPS, you might have seen its likeness in a movie. Out side it was all steel plates, rivets and peeling paint.
    Inside its systems was like a Caddy. Pipe fitters spent weeks replacing all bilge piping.

    A small crew of professional X-Mil electrical types spent weeks on the Electrical System.

    I got the honor of replacing the Mast Head Light with the newest dual filament running light housing and lamp. No one else wanted to climb that high, maybe it wasn't and honor after all.

    I often wonder what the "BREAKERS" did with all that US Tax Money or if it was scuttled in deep water.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  18. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Puh-LEEZE, let's not get into the differences between delta and wye wiring. I have this nasty suspicion that those three conductors are for a three phase arrangement that we will never use here.
    BTPost and HK_User like this.
  19. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Ah well, some folks do not believe ,X, Y or Z systems. Others do not believe in using schematics, of course most of them Die early!
    BTPost and ghrit like this.
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