Getting Started

The purpose of this section is to supply members and member contractors with a general outline of Flathead Electric Cooperative’s (FEC’s) work order process.

The work order process is a flow of information that begins with a request for electrical service and ends with an energized meter base on your home. The work order number is how FEC will track all information about your project. The number is used for designing, tracking, planning, and all things related to your project.

A non-refundable deposit is required to start a work order. The deposit will be subtracted from the cost of your project as a meter fee or aid to construction.

Estimates: Due to the variations that each project can experience, FEC does not give out “ballpark” or “per foot” estimates. We will be happy to share the nearest location of FEC equipment to your property.

Prior to Starting a Work Order

The following tasks should be completed prior to starting a work order for new service:

  1. Contact the local county plat room to obtain a physical address. Post the new address on site.
  2. Establish an account with FEC. Complete the Application for Electric Service and Membership form.
  3. Have a qualified electrician or electrical engineer determine your proposed electrical service size.
  4. Contact an engineering coordinator at FEC to start a new work order.

New construction typically involves the installation of water, sewer, telephone, cable TV, and natural gas lines, as well as power cables. It is your responsibility to notify each of the utilities that you wish to provide service to your home. You should get the name and phone number for a contact at each utility and let each of them know which other utilities will be providing new service.

Roundup for SafetyFEC thanks our members for contributing to the Roundup for Safety program!

If you have a safety hazard in your neighborhood, FEC’s Roundup for Safety program may be able to help. Roundup for Safety’s board of directors evaluates applications and awards grants to 501(c)3 non-profit organizations to help pay for life-safety projects throughout our service territory.


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The following is a general outline of how you get a new electrical service for a single-family residential structure. This outline assumes that FEC has existing power facilities near your site. If power is not readily available, FEC will need to design a primary line extension to your project. If you have questions, please contact FEC’s distribution design department.

Typical Work Order Process

  1. Pay an engineering deposit to start a work order.
  2. The engineering coordinator will schedule an on-site appointment with an FEC distribution designer.
  3. As part of the site visit, the distribution designer will provide you with a service reference sheet that defines your and FEC’s responsibilities, cost estimate to construct the project, required easements, permits, and a designed route.
  4. Notify other utilities of your project.
  5. Call 811 or visit the Montana 811 website to schedule underground locates.
  6. Provide trench, conduit, pull rope, and vault (if needed) for underground services or a clear path for overhead services.
  7. Call for trench inspection or right-of-way inspection.
  8. Backfill upon approval of distribution designer.
  9. Install your service entrance equipment (meter base).
  10. Ensure all easements and permits are in place.
  11. Tell FEC’s distribution design department that you are ready for FEC to install the service wire.
  12. Final inspection.
  13. Finalize requirements (sign easements, pay construction costs, or other requirements signified by the distribution designer).
  14. FEC operations department will install all wire, electrical equipment, and meter to energize your system.


FEC schedules projects on a first-come, first-served basis. Work will not be scheduled until the member has met all their responsibilities and the project has been inspected by the FEC distribution designer. Scheduling times can change depending on FEC’s workload. Once your work order has been inspected and approved by a distribution designer, you may contact FEC’s operations department at (406) 751-4428 for a more accurate time estimate.

  • Initial Appointments with Designers: 2 to 7 working days
  • Montana 811: 2 working days
  • Trench Inspections: 1 to 2 working days
  • Serviceman Site Visit: 1 to 2 working days
  • Final Inspection: 1 to 2 working days
  • Energize Service Drop: 5 to 10 working days
  • Energize Crew Job: 1 to 4 working weeks


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What to Expect from your On-Site Meeting

You can expect the FEC distribution designer to be prompt, courteous, and professional. Plan on receiving a lot of information. Depending on the complexities of your project, plan on the initial meeting taking one to two hours. Large projects and projects that require special permitting and easements will require additional time to complete.

You Will Need to be Ready to Answer the Following Questions at the Meeting

  • What is the service for (home, barn, shop, etc.)?
  • Where will the new service be located? (A site drawing is beneficial.)
  • How many square feet is your residence?
  • Will you have electric heat or gas?
  • Will you have a heat pump, furnace, or zonal heating?
  • Will you have gas or electric water heat?
  • What ampere rating will your service require?
  • Where are the other underground utilities going to be located? (For example, wells, water lines, septic systems, private power lines, and gas lines.)
  • Is there other property information available (e.g. certificate of surveys and existing easement information)? These documents are extremely helpful.


It is very important that any alterations to your project be discussed with the distribution designer ahead of time.

Information that you will receive from the distribution designer:

  • A cost estimate of the line extension. Assuming there are no changes, estimates are good for 90 days.
  • What permits will be required. FEC will submit MDT, Forest Service, BNSF, and BPA permits. You will be required to pay for any permitting fees in addition to Aid to Construction costs.
  • What easements are required. All required easements shall be signed and notarized prior to work being released to be built. FEC will search for existing easements and prepare easement documents. FEC easements are for FEC only and do not include provisions for other utilities. You will be expected to initiate contact and dialogue with your neighbors when pursuing right-of-way easements.
  • Member requirements specific to trenching, installing conduits, vaults, sweeps, and backfill and meter requirements. The general specifications for these items are included in this handbook. For safety and reliability purposes, the distribution designer may deviate or add additional requirements if needed.

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