Maintain the safe zone around pad-mounted transformers

Posted on May 30 2023 in Boone REMC
BOONE REMC employee working on a pad mount transformer

Many Boone REMC members have pad-mounted transformers in their yards. These “big green boxes” can usually be found in your front yard, especially in subdivisions or neighborhoods. 

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

Pad-mounted transformers are connected to primary high voltage lines, and secondary lines can extend in several directions to distribute power to homes and businesses. That’s why it’s important to always call 8-1-1 to have underground utilities marked before starting any project involving digging.

A single transformer can be vital to providing electricity to several homes. Across our electric distribution system, Boone REMC maintains nearly 4,000 pad-mounted transformers.  

To maintain and restore power, our operations team needs to access the inside of these transformers. These boxes house dangerous high-voltage equipment that requires 6-foot clearance in the front and 3 feet around the sides. That distance allows our linemen to use tools like hot sticks to repair energized equipment. 

The pad-mounted transformer boxes can make landscaping a challenge, but we appreciate our members’ help to ensure you, your neighbors and our linemen stay safe. Please follow these safety practices:

Avoid placing or leaning anything against pad-mounted transformers. Although they have an outer casing around them, the boxes lack the innate security of distance that pole-top transformers and overhead power lines offer.

Never touch, climb or play on pad-mounted transformers. Never put fingers, sticks or other objects through cracks in the transformer.

Avoid planting bushes or trees with hard, woody stalks within 6 feet of pad-mounted transformers to provide our operations crews access when needed. This also provides sufficient air circulation to keep transformers cool. If airflow is limited, transformers can overheat and cause an interruption of service.   

Do not place artificial boulders or small fences around your pad-mounted transformer. Disguising your transformer can make restoring power take longer.

Report anything unusual about a pad-mounted transformer, such as one that is unlocked or looks damaged, to us immediately by calling 800-897-7362.