Article - Answers to Your Burning Questions Regarding Temporary Power Most people do not think too much about temporary power. After all, there is usually an outlet nearby to plug into. We take it for granted. But what happens when you are constructing a building? How do you get the power your tools need and required lighting to perform your tasks? Running a long extension cord is not going to cut it. This situation calls for temporary power. Setting up temporary power can be a little confusing. So to help clear things up, we will ask an expert some questions. Cheryl Burns runs A-CO Temporary Power, Inc. in North Hollywood, California. They have been in business for over 20 years, and she has the experience and knowledge needed to deal with these matters. Read on to find answers to your burning questions regarding temporary power. Q: Who needs temporary power? CB: Most of our customers are involved in construction, so construction tends to be what we see most. It is also common for temporary power to be used in special events, such as concerts and fairs. When natural disasters occur, normal power may not be available, so temporary power becomes a must. Some may be surprised to know that even movie studios use temporary power. Q: What is the most popular item rented regarding temporary power? CB: That would definitely be temporary power poles for construction sites. However, generators for short term job sites and emergencies are also common. Q: What is the most common misconception related to temporary power? CB: Many people don't realize there is a process involved with getting temporary power. Although we love to help, it is not feasible to think you can just call and have your temporary power pole installed the next day. Electricity is serious business. To install temporary power, it requires that safety rules and regulations are followed. All told, the process usually takes about 2 weeks. Q: Can you explain the procedure for setting up temporary power? CB: When someone decides they're going to need temporary power, the first step is to get a permit through the city by contacting the local building & safety department. Different cities may have different rules, so never assume that just because you've set up a temporary power pole in Los Angeles that you'll be fine doing it the same way in Anaheim. Once a permit is obtained, the next step is to contact the local utility company. They arrive on-site to set up a meter spot. Next, the utility company will figure out not only where the power will be coming from, but whether it is underground or overhead. According to the customer's needs, they assess what kind of power is required (such as single-phase or three-phase). Once all that is determined, the temporary power company can come out and install the power poles. The final step is for the utility company to give electricity to the power poles. Again, this whole process can take about 2 weeks. Q: What are some frequently asked questions you hear about temporary power? CB: There are two questions that we get asked every day, they are: 1) How long will it take to get set up? 2) How much will it cost? We can do our part of the job very quickly, the main time consumer is going through the proper channels to ensure all of their rules and regulations are followed. People need to remember to plan ahead, because two weeks can feel like an awfully long time when you are waiting to get a job started. As to how much the job will cost, it's hard to say exactly because there are a number of variables. The main factors are the job's distance from a power source and the planned length of the job. For those jobs which are further away from a power source, it may take two poles to transport the power to where it is needed. That would add cost, but just because you may need two poles doesn't mean you should automatically decide to use generators. Generators may be a cost effective solution in the short term, but if the job runs long, it will end up costing more due to fuel expenses. Keep those factors in mind when planning for your job. The true key to successful and cost effective temporary power setup is planning. For all temporary power jobs, expect an up-front install fee with a monthly rental thereafter. Don't be afraid to call around, or even call the same place twice. Look for someone who is consistent with their pricing. Also, remember that you'll get better rental prices for a job lasting 6 months or more. In some cases, you can pay up to 2 years in advance, which of course will bring the price down even further. For example, A-CO offers 10% off installation when a job is paid 6 months in advance. Q: What are some things to look for when deciding on temporary power services? CB: Well, it usually comes down to two factors; pricing and service. As I said earlier, if you're calling around to different companies, look for consistent pricing. Really though, the main thing that usually sets one company apart from another is service. Some temporary power companies are pretty big, and because of that, it can be difficult to get personal service. It may feel like every time you call, you're getting a different person and nobody remembers you. Not to blow our own horn too much, but we like to run things a little differently at A-CO. We're a family owned business with enough staff to get the job done, but we're small enough to remember those who keep us in business. We care about our customers, are happy to help setting up a job and aren't afraid to follow through until everything is done. When choosing a service company, those kinds of things are important. Since the process of setting up temporary power takes planning and communication, you need to feel comfortable working with the personnel and knowing you will be happy with the results. Q: Thank you for your time Cheryl. Is there anything else you would like to add? CB: I think that covers the basics. Hopefully, these answers can help someone out there who has questions about temporary power. Editor: According to the interview with Cheryl, I have come up with the 3 biggest mistakes you can make regarding temporary power. This can serve as a quick guide of potential pitfalls to avoid. 1) Not knowing your area. Different districts can have different rules and regulations. Just because you have set up before does not mean it will be the same way at a different location. 2) Miscalculating how long the job will take. It is important to choose correctly between getting pole power or generator power. How far away from the power source are you? If it takes more than one pole to get power, that will obviously cost more. But for a long term job, two poles can still be worth it because generators will eat through your budget with the cost of fuel. 3) Waiting until the last second. As we found out, it can take 2 weeks to be ready for temporary power. A permit needs to be obtained, and coordination is required between multiple parties. If you think you can get away without planning well in advance, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Written by Noah Ferreira for A-CO Temporary Power, Inc., the premier supplier of temporary power services in the greater Los Angeles area. This article may be freely reprinted or distributed in its entirety in any e-zine, newsletter, blog, or website, royalty free. The author's name, bio, and website links must remain intact and be included with every reproduction.