Thursday, June 1, 2023


RV Electricity – Campground power upgrade – expensive but necessary

Dear Readers,

I’ve had this discussion both online and offline many times, but here’s the first time I’ve seen what it actually costs to upgrade old and failing power pedestals to modern electrical code in an existing campground.

I do harp on campgrounds with failing pedestals due to safety concerns for both you and your RV, and they certainly should be addressed. But we also need to understand that it will often take hundreds of thousands of dollars to completely upgrade many campground electrical systems. Read the story below as summarized in Woodall’s Campground Management regarding the scope of these upgrades.

But in the meantime, there’s lots that campgrounds can do with routine maintenance that will cost maybe a few thousand dollars a year, and which will help prolong the life of their existing power distribution wiring and pedestals. But like death and taxes, pedestal upgrades are inevitable and will eventually need to happen. And somebody has to pay for them. Yes, that somebody will eventually be you… 

City Will Spend $634k On Park’s Electrical System

Owen Sound, Ontario, will spend nearly $634,000 – about three times more than budgeted – to replace the “failing and inadequate” electrical and water systems in the Harrison Park Campground, according to The Owen Sound Sun Times.

Matthew Adam/For The Owen Sound Sun Times/Postmedia Network

City council voted 6-2 Monday (Oct. 1) to retain Bluewater Landscaping, which submitted the lowest of two bids received by city hall to do the work.

“Both systems are at the end of their projected life cycle, so they are breaking and we’re having to put more into them in maintenance costs,” Parks Manager Adam Parsons said in an interview.

He said the construction work will begin late this month and wrap up before the campground reopens for the Victoria Day long weekend in May.

Council had set aside $230,000 in its 2018 capital budget for the project. Both city staff and the community services committee recommended that Owen Sound undertake the entire project this fall, rather than reissuing the tender in 2019 in hopes of securing a lower bid or upgrading the underground power lines now and water pipes later.

“If we don’t proceed with this work, we’re probably going to have to shut down certain campsites because, quite simply, the electrical isn’t up to modern standards. So those sites would no longer take trailers, campers or RVs, it would just be tent camping, which would affect the revenue that we take in the park,” said Council Member Jim McManaman, the committee’s chair.

Parsons, in a staff report, said the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) issued an order against the city after discovering four deficiencies with the campground’s electrical system. Those issues must be resolved before the power supply at the campsites can be used again.

The ESA has agreed to stay the order pending completion of the system upgrades in 2018, he said.

To read more on this story from The Owen Sound Sun Times click here.

Let’s play safe out there….


Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40+ years in the industry. Visit for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.



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William Bulkley
4 years ago

Stayed at a rest stop on the Ohio turnpike. It had RV spots with electric. The spots were wide enough to put the slides out and was allowed to put the stabilizer down. I paid the $20.00 for the electric for the night. 50 amps was available. Site was not level .

John Rakoci
4 years ago

Get it done and increase the site rental costs. Look for payback in 5 – 10 years as more upgrades of systems will be needed. We want to play and must pay!

4 years ago

Do you have info on how many sites / how spread out for that 634K figure?

I don’t doubt the incredible cost quoted for a moment, but I do wonder (being a DIY mindset) if private campground owners could do their own work per code and just get it inspected at the proper time(s) in the install??? “Back of envelope” figures seem to say it should be a several hundred per site if you’re your own ditcher operator. One “tight packed” campground I stayed at said they were budgeting 50K to completely replace (runs, and pedestals) power to about 100 sites.

4 years ago

I bought a four-plex apartment building not long ago. It had 30-amp, screw-in fuse electrical service. If tenants turned on a hair dryer and the kitchen’s microwave at the same time, the fuse would pop. As part of my upgrade plan, I converted the electrical system to 60-amp and had the electrician add a modern circuit breaker panel. Cost? $4,000 per unit. And that didn’t include any 220v work. So yes, I can see how upgrading an RV park’s electrical system would be very expensive, but necessary, too.

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