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Frequently Asked Questions

​Here are the answers to the most common questions we receive at Electric:

I'm concerned about the tree branches growing in the power lines, what do I do?

To ensure the safety of residents, we ask that you contact Electric Operations to make arrangements for trimming of tree branches around power lines. Call Electric Operations at 403-320-3940 to make an appointment.

For additional information, refer to Tree Safety here.

I have a question about my power bill?

Call Utilities at 403-320-3111.

I am renovating the outside of my house and the electric meter needs to be removed to do the work, how do I have it removed?

Call Electric Operations at 403-320-3940 to arrange for your Electric Meter to be removed.

The power line feeding my house is currently overhead, and I would like to have it put underground, how do I go about doing this?

Call Burns at 403-320-4886 or E-mail electricdesign@lethbridge.ca to discuss putting your powerline underground.

I have recently moved to Lethbridge and need to set up my Utilities, who do I call?

Utility Customer Care at 403-320-3111. They can set up your customer account for the following services: water, sewer, waste management and recycling as well as electric. In Alberta, electric energy consumers may select a retailer to provide their energy. For more information regarding the energy market check out the Utilities Consumer Advocate at www.UCAhelps.gov.ab.ca. The UCA website will provide information for you.

If you choose the City of Lethbridge for your electricity, call 403-320-3111.

I am an Electrician and I would like to schedule a Service Disconnect at a residence to do some work, who do I call?

Call Electric Operations at 403-320-3940 to schedule an appointment to have our Trouble Truck come and disconnect the service. Please ensure that you have a permit for the work to be done by contacting 403-320-3920.

I have red paint or red flags on my property? Where did they come from and what do they mean?

Locate requests submitted to Alberta- one -Call (CALL BEFORE YOU DIG), are marked by coloured lines (water-soluble paint), stakes or flags in the colour to represent the various services.

White – proposed excavation
Pink – temporary survey markings
Red – electrical, lighting cables
Yellow – gas, oil, steam
Orange – telephone, cable, TV, signals, alarms
Blue – potable water
Green – sanitary and storm sewer, culverts
Purple – reclaimed water, irrigation, slurry
Black - engineering study only - no excavation

Locate marks identify the horizontal alignment of the buried facilities. Locate marks are approximate only and exposing lines by hand-digging helps prevent accidents.

If you did not request the locate, it is possible that another utility requested the locate to do work in the vicinity (for example Shaw or Telus). Call Electric Operations 403-320-3940 for more information on Electric locates.

​​ Are you building a new home and need to connect the electrical panel?

In order to get your home connected with power, natural gas, telephone, and cable in the most efficient manner, please follow the steps below. Please note that in order to go through this process, you must already have hired an electrician to install the electric panel and meter base on your home, and the natural gas line running through your home must be pressure tested.

  1. Go to the utility counter at City Hall and fill out the "Site ID Application Form". In order to process this form and get a new Site ID (a special provincial number unique to your electric service), you will need to provide the electric permit number that your electrician used to install your panel, and your legal address.
  2. Submit the form at the utility counter along with the $420.00 electric service fee.
  3. Go to the ATCO Gas Building on the corner of Stafford Drive and 4th Ave North and fill out an application form for a new gas meter. In order to apply for this with ATCO, you will need to provide a site plan, which is a basic drawing showing where your gas line entrance is located on the building in relation to the lot, a legal address, and the lot, block and plan number of the site.
  4. Submit the form to ATCO, along with the $651.00 ATCO service fee. If this application is made during winter months, the application fee increases to $841.00. Please note that these fees are set by ATCO and are subject to change at any time.
  5. After 5 business days you will be able to receive your new Site ID number. You can receive this number by fax or e-mail if you asked for it on your application, or you can visit www.utilitynet.net and click on 'site catalogue' to find the number. If either of those do not work, you can contact the utility counter at the city.
  6. Call the retailer of your choice, and provide them with the legal address and the Site ID number.

Please note that if a natural gas retailer is not notified of the new Site ID, a gas meter will not be installed. If an electrical retailer is not notified, the City of Lethbridge will become the default retailer for power, billing for power at the regulated rate. For more information on the regulated rate, click here.

The final step of the process is to provide a trench on your property to install the utility connections. Please note that as of January 1, 2015 the standard servicing process changed to make the home owner or builder responsible to provide the service trench from the service stubb location to the meter base. Previously this trench was dug by ATCO at the time of servicing, but that is now the responsibility of the home owner, and is typically done by the basement excavators along with the foundation. For a description of this trench requirement click here.

The rest of the process will be handled between the city and ATCO Gas. ATCO will show up within 7 to 10 days from your application and connect a new line to a gas meter on your home. The City electric department will then come immediately after and connect your electric, cable and telephone service to the home, install the electric meter, and backfill the trench. At that point you will then have permanent power, and your meter will be read by the City and your retailer will begin to send you a bill for your power.

The last step is to call Telus and SHAW to connect your services when the home is completed.

View a flow chart of this process

View the service trench requirements

Do you want to connect solar panels to your electrical service?

If you wish to connect some form of renewable energy to your home or business (called Micro-Generation) to offset the cost of your electricity, a means has been provided for you to do so. The most common form of Micro-Generation is an inverter based system, which means converting light energy into useable electricity using solar panels. If you wish to connect a micro-gen source to your home or business, please follow the steps below:

  1. Download the City of Lethbridge Micro-Generation application form here.
  2. Submit the application as an attachment to an e-mail to electricdesign@lethbridge.ca, making sure to include all required information such as Site ID, legal address, wiring schematic, etc. 
  3. An electrical engineer with the city will review the application and make any comments as required. If information is missing, the application will be returned for changes.
  4. Once the application is approved, the engineer will create an Interconnection and Operating Agreement between the city and the applicant. This agreement is to ensure that the owner of the Micro-Generation unit will follow all necessary rules and maintenance to ensure the unit is working properly. This agreement must be signed by the applicant and the Mayor of Lethbridge. This agreement will be sent in PDF format to the applicant.
  5. The applicant will need to sign two (2) original copies of the agreement and send them through the mail system with attention to the electrical engineer at 910 - 4th Ave South, Lethbridge, AB T1J 0P6. Please note that the City legal department requires two original copies, and scanned copies sent by e-mail will not be accepted.
  6. Once the agreements have been received by the engineer, they will be sent off to the legal department for signature by the Mayor. At this point a letter will be drafted by the engineer and sent to the applicant which will allow them to apply for an electrical permit to install the solar panels. An internal work order will be created within the electric department to install a bi-directional meter on the home which will measure both power consumed by the home and power produced by the solar panels.
  7. The applicant will then need to go and fill out the necessary information to pull the permit for the panels at the permit counter of city hall. Please note that this will require additional information from the permit department to show that the building structure will handle the additional weight of the panels. Information relating to this permit process can be obtained by contacting the permit counter directly.
  8. After the permit information has been submitted and the permit has been granted, the applicant can install the panels. After the final electrical inspection, the panels can then become operational.

After the operations agreement has been signed by the city, a copy will be sent to the applicant for their records. The owner of the panels will then be under obligation to keep the system in proper working order at all times.

Please note that for home owners applying for solar panels, a site plan showing where the panels are is not necessary. For commercial or industrial customers, a site plan showing location will be necessary.

Some people have been under the impression that if they install solar panels they will receive a cheque through the mail for the surplus power that they produce. Retailers do not typically send money for surplus power, but they do give a credit on your power bill for the power produced. Further information relating to payment or credit can be obtained from your retailer.

City of Lethbridge Mini Micro-Generation Application

Further information on the Micro-Generation Process

Application sample

Interconnection and Operating Agreement Sample

Mini Micro-Generation Process

Do you want to upgrade the size of your electrical panel in your home?

If you are expecting a higher than normal load on your electrical service and require an electrical panel that is larger than 100A, but less than 300A, please follow the following process:

  1. Apply online for an electrical permit through the city website at this location https://ecom.lethbridge.ca/eapply/.
  2. An automated notification will be generated at the electrical department and an engineer will take the information about your request and investigate the current state of the system. If the distribution system as-is can handle the demand increase, the engineer will approve the application in the system and an e-mail will be generated to notify you of the approval. If the system cannot handle the upgrade, a delay in approval will take place until the electric department can change the infrastructure in order to handle the change. An approval notification will then be sent to you to notify you that the permit can be obtained.
  3. Log into the online permit system and pay any associated fees related to the upgrades.
  4. You will then be granted a permit to begin the upgrades.

For upgrades at 300A or greater, you must contact the electric department directly for more information.

View a flowchart of this process

  

Do you want to connect the electric panel to a new business?

In order to get your business connected with power in the most efficient manner it is critical that there is good communication between yourself as the owner, your selected electrical contractor who will be installing the wiring in the business, and the electrical distribution department who will energize your service. Most of the frustration that occurs during a service request results when assumptions are made regarding how connections will be made.

It is important that the electric distribution department is fully aware of what the contractor's plans are regarding a service entrance location, service voltage and service demand. It is important to understand that there is a difference between residential and commercial servicing in the City. In a residential service, the City owns the cable through the yard and up to the meter base on the house. In a commercial or industrial application, the City will typically stop at the property line and the business owner will meet the City there. There are a few ways to service a business, where the City can install a transformer just outside the property line and the business owner can run their wires up to the transformer, or a transformer can be installed in an easement on the business owners property and a transformer will be installed in the easement. If the business wants the transformer located close to the building an easement will be required for both the transformer and the City owned high voltage cables travelling to the transformer. These issues need to be sorted out between the owner, the electrical contractor and the city distribution department prior to work being completed.

In order to apply for a new commercial or industrial service please do the following:

  1. Send and e-mail to electricdesign@lethbridge.ca providing all necessary information about the service, such as voltage, demand, and service entrance information. A designer will be assigned to your request and work order will be made to provide a quote for connection.
  2. Pay all associated fees as quoted by the distribution department for connection.
  3. Go to the utility counter at City Hall and fill out the "Site ID Application Form". In order to process this form and get a new Site ID (a special provincial number unique to your electric service), you will need to provide the electric permit number that your electrician used to install your panel, and your legal address.
  4. Submit the form at the utility counter along with the $420.00 electric service fee.
  5. After 5 business days you will be able to receive your new Site ID number. You can receive this number by fax or e-mail if you asked for it on your application, or you can visit www.utilitynet.net and click on 'site catalogue' to find the number. If either of those do not work, you can contact the utility counter at the City.
  6. Call the retailer of your choice, and provide them with the legal address and the Site ID number.

Once all of these requirements are met a meter will be installed on the site and the panel will be energized.

View a flow chart of this process

Do you want to upgrade an existing commercial or industrial electrical service?

If you expect the load on your existing commercial panel to increase it is important that you provide your new load information to the distribution department. In a majority of commercial electrical installations the panel size is larger than the actual load, and when it comes time to increase that load often times people will not inform the distribution department at the City because there is room in the panel. In many cases this works fine, but in some cases this creates a problem because of the fact that the electrical department sizes their transformers and cable to the load and not the panel size. This can be confusing to some, but this is due to the idea that electrical code requires the installation of an electrical panel based on many criteria and usually that results in a panel size that is larger than the actual expected load. Since this is required by law this happens at no fault of the electrical contractors, and there are reasons for this, but on the City side of the electrical system we cannot afford to build a system based on the panel size when we know the load is smaller.

This is where the problem happens with some upgrades – sometimes there is enough room in the panel but not on the transformer. Because of this the distribution department has to be informed of upgrades to a commercial service to determine if the existing transformer can handle the additional load. Also a majority of businesses have signed a Distribution Service Agreement, or a DSA, which sets their distribution fees on a certain load, or demand. If the load increases on a business that has signed a DSA, penalties will be issued on their bills until the DSA is amended to reflect the new load. 

In general, if you are changing the load on an existing service send an e-mail to electricdesign@lethbridge.ca and a designer will be in touch shortly to discuss your needs.

View a flowchart of this process


Other Changes?

Do you need to make a change to your current electric service - residential, commercial or industrial? Questions like the following:

  • I am making changes to my business and I need a larger panel. Now what?
  • I have an overhead wire feeding my house from the alley. Can I put it underground?
  • I am making changes to​ my business and I will be using more power. My electrician tells me that my existing panel is big enough. Do I need to tell the city?
  • I am setting up a new business, or building a new commercial building. How do I get my electrical panel hooked up?

These questions require an individual look at the requirements involved to accommodate the request, and may have a customer cost associated. Please direct these requests to electricdesign@lethbridge.ca and your request will be assigned to an electrical technologist who will get in touch with you to meet your needs.​​