Give transformers some space

Posted on Jul 02 2020 in Kankakee Valley REMC

Those big green boxes in many yards may not be particularly attractive, but they are very important to ensuring you have a safe and reliable supply of electricity.  They are what we call “pad-mount” transformers.  

While overhead power lines are mounted on utility poles and substations are protected by security fences, pad-mounted transformers are at ground level and protected by a metal housing.  

Some homeowners will try to hide the boxes by planting shrubs, flowers, or putting structures or screening by them.  

That is a bad idea for two reasons:

First, for reliable operation, pad-mount transformers need plenty of air circulation to keep them cool.  If the airflow is limited, it could overheat and cause an interruption to the service.    

Second, our service crews need to have clear access to those boxes.  To perform adequate maintenance and conduct repairs, they need to have at least 10-feet clearance at the opening side of the pad-mounted transformer. In addition, they need approximately four feet of open space at the rear and on the sides of the metal housing.  If you place objects around the boxes, we cannot access the box safely.  

Although you may seldom see technicians working on the transformers inside those boxes, unless there is a power outage, they are regularly inspected by KV REMC crews. During the inspection, they will use a hot stick-typically eight feet in length, to work on the energized equipment. Giving them adequate space allows for the use of proper tools and ensure space for two technicians.   

Although we do not like to destroy plants, it may be necessary to remove anything planted within the designated distance to ensure the safety of our crews and the reliability of the equipment.  To avoid problems and disappointment, please take measures to keep the space around our pad-mount transformers clear. 

Big green box infographic