FAQs

Why the name "Southern Rivers Energy"?

The name of the cooperative is representative of our entire, nine county service area. There are many lakes, rivers and streams flowing throughout this area of central Georgia. Rivers symbolize strength and power and have long been known for their ability to connect communities. Water is the source of hydro-electric power, which is a major producer of the power we distribute to our members. So the name "Southern Rivers Energy" represents our entire service area and symbolizes the strength of the cooperative and the connection we have in the communities we serve.

Why can't all lines be run underground?

The cost of installing underground lines is much more expensive than overhead and during outages, it is much more difficult to locate the trouble when the lines are underground.

Why is my bill so high this month?

There are many possible reasons for an increase in the amount of your bill. Generally, it is an indication that more energy was used than in previous months. Check your thermostat and make sure that it is set at a reasonable temperature for summer and winter. For maximum efficiency, we recommed 68º F in the winter and 78º F in the summer. Check out the Energy Library section of this website to find out more about energy efficiency or go to our Home Energy Calculator to figure out how much energy your home is currently using. To schedule an energy audit for your home, give us a call at 770-358-1383 or toll free, 877-358-1383.

What is the cost, per foot, for underground service?

For an existing home, where you want to convert your overhead service wire to an underground service, you will need to pay a non-refundable charge of $180.00 to remove the overhead service line, in addition to a non-refundable $9.00 per trench foot cost from the transformer pole to the meter-base on the house.

For new home construction the amount you pay to have power lines buried to a house is based on two factors. First, whether the house will be "Total Electric" or "Gas" (to be considered "Total Electric" a house must be heated and cooled with electric heat pump(s) and heat strips only, and the water heater must be electric). Second, the square footage of conditioned space in the house; the bigger the house the more electricity it uses, the faster Southern Rivers Energy recovers the cost of installation.

If the new house is built "Total Electric" and is located within 150' of a Southern Rivers Energy pole then the underground service will be installed at no cost. If your house site is further than 150' from a pole Southern Rivers Energy will need to set a transformer near the house. The cost to install the high voltage wire and transformer is determined using a chart that was created from researching the cost to install wire and the average electrical consumption of different houses based on the square footage of conditioned space. For instance, an 1800 sq. ft. total electric house will receive 19' of line at no cost but the remaining length of high voltage wire will cost $9.00 per trench foot. To determine the actual cost a staking engineer will have to meet you on site to measure and refer to the charts.

For barns, shops or other auxiliary buildings the cost is $9.00 per trench foot for the entire distance.

What is the cost, per foot, for overhead service?

For new home construction the amount you pay to have overhead power lines installed to a house is based on two factors. First, whether the house will be "Total Electric" or "Gas" (to be considered "Total Electric" a house must be heated and cooled with electric heat pump(s) and heat strips only, and the water heater must be electric). Second, the square footage of conditioned space in the house; the bigger the house the more electricity it uses, the faster Southern Rivers Energy recovers the cost of installation. If the new house is built "Total Electric" and is located within 200' of a Southern Rivers Energy pole then the overhead service will be installed at no cost. If your house site is further than 200' from a pole Southern Rivers Energy will need to set a transformer near the house. The cost to install the high voltage wire and transformer is determined using a chart that was created from researching the cost to install wire and the average electrical consumption of different houses based on the square footage of conditioned space. For instance, an 1800 sq. ft. total electric house will receive 600' of line at no cost the remaining length of high voltage wire will cost $4.00 per foot. To determine the actual cost a staking engineer will have to meet you on site to measure and refer to the charts.

For barns, shops or other auxiliary buildings the costs are as follows; no charge if the meter base is within 100' of the pole, $2.00 per foot if the meter base is between 100-200' from the pole, $4.00 per foot for anything beyond 200'.

If I pay for a pole to be installed for a yard light, is it my pole?

No, the pole remains the property of Southern Rivers Energy. The initial fee helps cover the cost of installation. Southern Rivers Energy is responsible for the maintenance of the pole; if the pole were to break, or at some point become rotten the pole will be replaced at no cost.

Why can't all the power lines be put underground?

It could all be underground, but your light bill would be between three to five times higher. The material cost for underground is higher and it is more labor intensive to install. Also you could expect power outages to last longer. With overhead lines, linemen can see what caused the outage and have easy access to make repairs. With underground you cannot see where the problem is that caused the outage. Special equipment must be brought from the office to locate the problem. Then, additional equipment must be used to dig up the problem. Repairs require much more time and the use of specialized tools.

Why is underground service so expensive?

There are several reasons. The underground wire costs more. Because underground wire is installed in the ground it requires several layers of insulation to protect it from constant exposure to rocks, soil, moisture, animals, etc. as opposed to the un-insulated overhead high voltage lines. Additionally, underground wire requires different and more specialized equipment to operate and maintain than overhead lines. Further, it is more labor intensive to install underground wire than overhead. With overhead you only have to dig a hole every few hundred feet to set a pole then just pull the wire up into the air, with underground a ditch must be dug the entire distance through varying terrain, wire installed then the ditch backfilled. These are but a few of the reasons why underground service is so expensive.

Why does the Right-of-Way have to be so wide?

Southern Rivers Energy maintains a thirty foot wide Right-of-Way (R/W). This R/W is trimmed and maintained by a R/W Crew. At present it takes about three years for the R/W crew to make a complete a circle from one end of Southern Rivers Energy's system to the other end and loop back. Within this three year cycle limbs can grow long enough, and underbrush can grow tall enough to interfere with the wires. If the R/W were any less than the thirty feet that we maintain, there would be more outages and outages of longer duration.

Why do I have to meet a staking engineer at my house site?

We want to serve you the best we can. A face to face meeting will help facilitate the proper design of the electric system that will satisfy you and the technical criteria we must meet. There is a lot of information that the staking engineer needs to properly design the service to your house. Most of this information must be gathered from a visit to the site so that measurements can be taken, observations made of the terrain, vegetation, obstacles, orientation of the house and other pertinent data that is nearly impossible to relay over the phone. The staking engineer will also need to have some paperwork filled out and signed before any construction begins; this is a good time to complete the paperwork because if you have any questions, they can be addressed at that time.

Why do we have to wait until the R/W crew is in the area for routine trimming to get a dead tree cut, in my yard that is near the line?

Basically this is the most productive use of our resources. There would be a fairly significant cost and wasted time sending a bucket truck and two men around the nine counties Southern Rivers Energy serves cutting dead trees that may or may not fall on the power line. The R/W crew is much more effective in cost and production if they stay and work their way through contiguous areas.

Can I put my own yard light/service entrance/basketball goal on a Southern Rivers Energy pole?

No. The poles must remain clear of obstacles so that Southern Rivers Energy employees can climb, change out the pole or perform other maintenance without hindrance or the danger presented by non-SRE equipment.

Can Southern Rivers Energy move a guy wire and anchor to the other side of the pole so it won't be in my way?

The location of the guy wire(s) and anchor(s) is specifically designed to where they oppose the forces on the pole created by the angle in the wire, or the wire that goes in the opposite direction of the guy wire. The guy wire and anchor are what holds the pole up straight and keeps the pole from bowing, or worse, falling over. If the guy wire and anchor were moved to another location or the other side of the pole they would no longer oppose the forces on the pole and would cause the pole to lean or fall over.

Why am I always the last person to get power restored in my neighborhood?

The power lines are much like the electrical circuits in your house. Your home has a big wire that comes from the meter base into your breaker box. From your breaker box there are many smaller wires that fan out through your home that serves the lights and appliances. The breakers in your breaker box are designed to trip or disconnect a small wire from the rest of the wiring when the small wire is shorted out. The power lines are similar. There is a main (big) line that leaves the substation. Fanning out from the main line are smaller lines. The power lines have breakers and fuses strategically located to disconnect a shorted section of line from the rest of the lines. When the power goes out linemen are dispatched to find what caused the section of line to short out and make the necessary repairs. Sometimes during storms there are multiple shorts on the line at different locations. The first repairs are made on the main line that leaves the substation. After those repairs are made and that section of line is re-energized the linemen start repairing and re-energizing the branch circuits. It is possible to have your neighbor's lights come back on with the main line or one of the branch circuits while the line that serves your house is still out. Most likely there is a fuse or breaker that has disconnected the line that serves you. Your neighbor's line was disconnected by a different fuse or breaker. The linemen work diligently to get as many home's power restored in as short a time as possible. Although it seems that you are always the last to have your power restored, this is not always the case. Click here to view the step by step process in PDF format.

Can I dig my own ditch to lower the price of underground service?

No, Southern Rivers Energy is responsible for the installation and maintenance of the underground wire. To insure that the wire is buried to the proper depth, and there are no rocks or other debris in the ditch that can damage the wire and the wire is properly installed we take the responsibility of opening and closing the ditch.