There are over 1,600 ground-level pad-mounted transformers and cabinets throughout Spencer, and these take the place of utility poles, overhead power lines and overhead electric service lines to our homes and businesses. Here in Spencer we are over 90% underground with our electric services and while we don’t have the overhead poles to look at, many of us have a ‘green box’ near our home. These transformers enclose energized electrical conductors and distribute voltages from 50V to around 15,000V and are highly hazardous when damaged.
With many of these located throughout the community in residential areas, they may be part of the landscaping or areas we mow, making them susceptible to contact with mowers or landscaping equipment.
The National Electric Code states to allow at least 10 feet in front of them and 3 feet on the sides and back of transformers for our staff to be able to access the cabinet and work in it if needed. This means trees, shrubs, bushes, fencing or other landscaping must be the distance listed in the codes away from the cabinets. This is also important to keep them from overheating and causing a service interruption, as they need plenty of air circulating around them.
When mowing up next to them, be sure to stay clear of the transformer. We appreciate mowing right around them so there isn’t tall grass around them if we need to access them.
If you notice any damage to a transformer, contact us at 580-5800. Our staff conducts annual inspections of a portion of the transformers throughout Spencer to look for any issues in a 10 year cycle. You may be the first one to notice something unusual before they do.
It is also a great time of the year to remind parents to teach their children to stay clear of transformers. Sometimes our staff sees children playing on top of them, and they should know this is dangerous with the high voltage in them.