Avoid the Big Green Box

Here are some quick tips to ensure the safety around ground-mounted electrical equipment:

  • Do not let children play on or near pad-mounted transformers.
  • Never stick anything through cracks into the transformer box.
  • Show kids the warning sticker on the box and teach them what it means. This way, they will know the importance of the sticker when they see it.
  • Never paint or decorate transformers. The metal covers are assigned a specific color (usually green) so utility workers can easily identify them. Also, tampering with the box by painting it could impair the lock, the equipment itself or cover the warning signs. For safety, the pad-mounted transformer should always be locked and the warning signs visible.
  • If you see a transformer that is unlocked or in need of repair, contact your electric cooperative immediately. Often, contact information will be on the transformer box itself.
  • Underground power lines can extend in any direction from a pad-mount transformer. Never dig without calling 811 at least several days in advance of your planned digging. At no cost, all of your underground equipment and lines will be marked.
  • Your electric utility needs at least 10 feet of clearance on the opening side to safely access the transformer. Allowing five feet of space on the other sides allows them space to maneuver away if a dangerous situation arises.

Is it a jungle in your yard?

Underground power lines require those green boxes to be placed on suburban lawns. Though it may be tempting to hide them with landscaping, please don’t. Your electric cooperative might have to open that equipment during a power outage or for routine maintenance. Also:

  • Keep shrubs and structures at least 10-12 feet from the “door” of the pad-mounted transformer and at least three-five feet from the sides.
  • If landscaping is too close and prevents adequate air circulation, equipment can overheat and fail. Plantings may have to be cut down to access the box.
  • Don’t forget the meter on your house. It still needs to be visible and accessible, too.
Avoid the Big Green Box