Underground etiquette

Landscaping near electrical equipment is a weedy idea

Posted on Jun 22 2017 in Kankakee Valley REMC

Those big green boxes in many yards may not be particularly attractive, but they’re very important to ensuring you have a safe and reliable supply of electricity. They’re what we call “pad-mount” transformers, and they work with underground power lines to bring electricity to your home.

Because they’re kind of big and not pretty to most people, some homeowners try to hide them by planting shrubs or flowers, or putting structures or screening by them.

That’s a bad idea for two reasons.

• First, for reliable operation, pad-mount transformers need plenty of air circulation to keep them cool. If you put structures such as sheds or large flower beds next to them, you limit the amount of air. Believe it or not, that can cause overheating and service disruptions.

• The other reason is that our service crews need to have clear access to those boxes. If you place objects such as sheds in the way, they’ll have to move them. And if you plant flowers and shrubs around the boxes, we’ll have to cut them down (and we won’t replant them or reimburse you for the cost).

In the coming weeks, our crews will be performing maintenance on our underground lines. If there is landscaping, plants, or other objects blocking those pad-mount transformers, we will remove them or cut them back. We don’t like to destroy plants, but we have to ensure the safety and reliability of our system.

To avoid problems and disappointment, please keep at least 10 feet in front of the green box free of plantings and structures, and keep at least five feet of open space on the sides and the back. That way, our crews will be able to access the boxes without having to undo your hard work!