Be safe around pad-mounted transformers

That “big green box” in your yard needs space

Transformers change voltage from higher levels to voltages people use in their homes for their electronics, appliances and lighting.

While overhead power lines are mounted on utility poles and substations are protected by security fences, pad-mounted equipment is at ground level.

Clarence Greene, Safety and Loss Prevention director with Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives, says, “If you see kids playing near pad-mounted transformers, ask them to move elsewhere, away from the electrical equipment.”

In many newer subdivisions and residential developments, overhead lines are no longer installed above ground. While consumers seldom see technicians working on the underground equipment, they are regularly inspected by co-op crews.

“It’s also important that landscaping and other barriers be kept clear of co-op equipment,” says Greene. “Co-op technicians need at least 10 feet of clearance at the opening side of a pad-mounted transformer. Approximately 4 feet of open space is preferable at the rear and on the sides of the metal housing.”

It’s important to check with your local electric co-op before planting shrubs or trees, setting fence posts, installing sprinkler systems and digging where it might damage underground lines.