Utility Supply Group, Inc., one of the nation’s leading suppliers of campground utility pedestals, experienced a 20% jump in sales in 2004, reflecting the burgeoning sales of high-end RVs with increased electrical power requirements.
“We’ve had a lot of growth in our business,” said Wade Elliott, president of the Issaquah, Wash.-based company, who estimates his sales account for about 20% to 25% of the campground utility pedestal business. “We see a lot of folks doing upgrades and refurbishment.”
Utility Supply Group’s growth is being fueled, in part, by sales of more expensive recreational vehicles, sporting appliances that often require 50- and even 100-amp service. But Elliot said a new generation of campground owners also is entering the market and recognizes the need to upgrade utility connections.
The National Electrical Code Committee has also taken note of the increasing electrical requirements of RVs. Effective Jan. 1, the National Electrical Code was revised to require campgrounds and RV parks to provide 50-amp service in at least 20% of their electrical utility connections. The code, updated every three years, previously required only 5% of a campground’s utility connections to provide 50-amp service.
Elliott believes many campgrounds are not in compliance with National Electrical Code requirements. However, he also noted that the guidelines are somewhat arbitrary and do not necessarily reflect local market conditions.
“I think it’s more important to have 50-amp service in Texas than in North Dakota,” Elliott said, noting that air-conditioning usage would be much greater in the southern states.
He added that parks trying to accommodate high end RVs clearly should have a much higher percentage of utility hookups with 50-amp service.