The other day, strange sounds were emanating from throughout the house I’m rebuilding. It was a mix of pitiful mewing, dove-like cooing, and quiet hooting. At times it came from upstairs, at others from the basement. I did what I always do in scary situations. I stayed as far away as possible and wished I had someone else to send on a mission of exploration, and electricity so I could plug in my CD player and drown it out with loud music. I’m pretty sure the sounds came from chimney swifts, but I’m still looking forward to cranking music. Who can be scared with The Clash ripping it up?

Today, my wish for readily available electricity on-site came true. My electrician had installed a new meter pan, complete with disconnect. Inside, I have a temporary panel with four breakers, each feeding a pair of outlets. The panel and outlets are mounted on a plywood board, which in turn is temporarily fastened to the interior framing. It’s a slick setup. The utility company was out today to energize.

While awaiting electricity from the utility company, I utilized a generator. My generator is lawn-mower loud. I’ll gang as many tasks that require electricity as possible, run the generator, then turn it off until the next gang of tasks is ready. The noise makes the work unpleasant, and the constant back and forth makes it inefficient. I could look for a quieter generator, but I have such little use for it that I make do with what I’ve got.

Upgrading electric service, which is what we did, starts with a phone call to the electric company. You’ll be supplied with a notification number. Once the electrician has installed the upgraded service, a form is submitted complete with notification and electricians’ license numbers. This triggers a tag locate. A tag locate is when the electric company comes out to confirm the location. If the work takes place in a municipality with an electrical inspector, they need to come out and inspect. Once the tag locate and town inspection — if applicable — are complete, you call the electric company and request an inspection. If you pass inspection, the meter is placed by the inspector. If you fail, a note is left on the meter socket explaining why. Passing inspection automatically puts you in line for the next available energize date.

The electric company arrived today in force to energize the upgraded service. There was a line truck, support truck, and two additional vehicles with flaggers. Power comes to the house from a pole across the road. They trimmed a few branches to gain access to and connect their lines to the house lines. The loop of new service wire was left on the house side of the road as they moved to the pole and installed a new transformer. Once the transformer was attached, they pulled the lines across the road and completed the connection. It was an efficient and well-choreographed team. I requested a line wrap, which is when they temporarily encapsulate the lines and connection at the house. This makes it safer when working next to that connection. An additional bucket truck stopped by later in the day to deal with that task.