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.