As technology advances, so do the tools and equipment we use at Union Power Cooperative. With the increase in new residential construction in our service area, more and more power lines are being installed underground. While special tools and safety equipment is required to keep our linemen safe on overhead lines, the same principle applies when working on underground lines.
Did you know that transformers must be installed with front doors facing away from a building or residence? A four-foot clearance on all sides and a 10-foot clearance in the front of the equipment (the side with the lock), are also requirements. These distances are needed to permit our linemen to safely access, operate and maintain the equipment.
Just as blocking a fire hydrant is a safety hazard, so is blocking access to electrical equipment. In the event of an outage or other type of emergency, utility crews need quick access to unlock and open the transformer cover. A common example is a house fire, where power must be turned off to allow firefighters to safely enter the home and extinguish the blaze. Any effort and time wasted in removing shrubs, fences or other obstructions around the transformer could result in further loss of property or even loss of life.
With high-voltage power flowing through the lines, it is also important to note that padmounted transformers are cooled by air. Do not place any obstructions over or near the transformer. If obstructions block proper air circulation, the oil in the equipment may overheat, resulting in oil leakage and/or equipment failure, which can lead to power outages.
While underground padmount transformers may not be the most attractive lawn ornaments, they are necessary for supplying you with the reliable power you expect from your cooperative.
For questions on transformer clearance requirements and proper planting procedures near underground padmount transformers, visit us at union-power.com/underground-equipment-safety.