Power saga: Northwestern Energy monopoly

Building isn’t for the faint of heart but it is one of the most rewarding things to do. This will be our 4th project and we are really looking forward to breaking ground but first…

Oh my, the process of getting things ready is brutal and we have already done it on this property. In order to make The Shop ready for our last set of plans we had to move 2 power poles. That was a 7 month process working with Norther Western Energy (NWE). They promised us a 6 week turnaround and it ended up being 7 long torturous months. The plan was to remove wires that were 5 feet in front of the building. Can’t have those there if we were going to add onto The Shop so what does that take - money, of course - engineering, yes - permission from the neighbors, certainly - money, more of that.

With some deft negotiations we managed to get our three most effective neighbors to share the $18,000 cost now we needed the other 3 neighbors to agree to go underground. They all initially said - “yes, but I’m not paying for it”. We said, that’s ok, we will pay for it, but when it came time to sign the agreement to dig a trench in their backyard they backed out. What to do? Back to negotiating with NWE. They initially said they MUST get compliance to go underground across 6 lots but when pushed they said - “of course we can just go underground on your 3 lots and go up to the other 3”. Complete reversal from their comments 3 months prior to that. October 5th 2018 - 2 new power poles were installed, 1 was removed and our 3 lots had underground power!

This was all before we decided not to build our bigger project but we are still really glad we spent the money and moved the power lines - gives us a LOT more flexibility down the road.