Child Safety and Planting Tips Around Transformers

Electric padmount transformers, better known as “big green boxes,” scattered through your neighborhood, deserve more attention than you might expect. Transformers can serve up to six houses, so in a large neighborhood, transformers can be abundant. The purpose of a transformer is to change high voltage electricity to a lower voltage needed for supplying power to the lights and appliances in your home.

Children, however, can view padmount transformers as playground equipment and not understand their dangers. Parents need to explain that transformers are not meant for playing, climbing or touching. Transformers are safe but can be a potential danger if they become damaged such as when they fall prey to vandals or landscaping equipment. Warn your children not to put their fingers, sticks or other objects through cracks in a transformer and teach your child about the electrical hazard stickers located on the boxes. Children should never play in areas where they see these hazard stickers and you should report broken locks on transformer boxes to Jones-Onslow.

Here are some gardening and yard maintenance tips that will help enhance transformer safety:

  • Develop landscaping plans and take them to your local nursery for advice on plant selection and planting procedures. You don’t want to plant vegetation that will become a transformer obstruction when full-grown.
  • We need room to work safely on transformers. Keep shrubs and structures 10 feet away from doors and 4 feet away from the other sides.
  • Make sure plant roots don’t interfere with wires and buried cables.
  • Keeping the area around the transformer in your yard or your neighbor’s yard unobstructed can speed up power restoration during outages and routine maintenance checks.

Give Your Home an Energy Inspection…

  • Find out how much attic insulation you have by simply measuring the depth. If you have less than a foot of insulation, you may need more. The Department of Energy recommends about 12 inches of fiberglass blanket insulation for most homes.
  • On the next windy day, light a candle and hold it near any place where air can get inside—around windows and doors, plumbing fixtures, electrical panels, attic doors and cable and phone outlets. When the flame flickers, you have a draft. Seal it with caulking or weatherstripping.
  • Trade in those incandescent light bulbs for energy-saving compact fluorescents or LEDs.
  • Find out if your water heater feels warm to the touch. If it does, and especially if it was made before 1991, you may need to add an insulation blanket. Also check the thermostat setting. If you use a dishwasher that preheats water, you don’t need to set your water heater thermostat higher than 120 degrees.
  • Be good to your heating and cooling systems. Have furnaces and air-conditioners professionally checked and serviced annually. If you use a forced-air heating system, change the filter every month. A properly maintained system can use around 10% less energy than a system that’s not in top condition

Energy-Saving Guides Available

Most everything we buy today seems to be going up in price and more and more people are concerned about their utility bills. Consumers are looking for ways to manage their energy use and reduce costs. Jones-Onslow has always placed a priority in promoting energy efficiency and whether it’s on our website (, in this newsletter or in our advertising, your cooperative is
dedicated to providing useful and applicable information about maximizing your energy dollars.

To help, we’ve got four energy-savings guides available. These guides, which can be downloaded from our website or mailed upon request, provide valuable tips designed to create greater comfort and improve performance around your home or business.

To get a free copy of any (or all) of the guides mailed to you, call the cooperative at (910) 353-1940 or (800) 682-1515. You can also send an email request to us at

Attention Educators…Tell Us Your BRIGHT IDEAS!

It’s that time of year again—Jones-Onslow is searching for Bright Ideas grant applications from teachers and principals, grades K-12, in the 48 public schools in Jones and Onslow counties, as well as the Topsail area of Pender County.

The grants, which are awarded in any discipline, enable educators to help students learn through innovative scholastic projects that are not covered by regular school funds. Educators may apply for individual grants up to $500 or in teams for grants up to $2,000.

After twenty years, Jones-Onslow’s Bright Ideas Grant Program has awarded 1,275 grants to more than 4,100 educators. These funds have had a direct impact on the education of close to 410,000 students in our community.

All grant applications must be received by Jones-Onslow no later than 5:00pm on Friday, September 26, 2014.

Bright Ideas grant recipients will be announced in the fall and honored at a special awards banquet.

Educators can get Bright Ideas grant information from their school principal or by CLICKING HERE.

Stay Plugged In

Going out of the country for an extended period of time? Storm in our area and you want to see an up-to-date outage map? Wondering if we service the new location where you're moving? Maybe you want to set up an automatic draft or just manage your account? Our resource page has all the information you need at the click of button.