Take care when landscaping around padmount transformers

November is a great time to start planning your landscaping for the next year. You may be considering hiding some unwanted sights in your yard, including a padmount transformer. These green metal boxes are essential to your electric service.

Fences, shrubs and trees located too close to padmount transformers can slow power restoration, make periodic maintenance difficult and create a serious safety hazard. If these items are in the way, Dawson PPD crews may have to remove them to gain access. Avoid that situation by taking the time to plan before planting shrubs or installing a fence near a padmount.

A padmount transformer is a locked steel cabinet mounted on a concrete pad that contains an energized connection for one or more customers. These transformers are used with underground distribution lines at each home to step down the primary voltage on the line to a lower voltage used in your home.

In order to work safely on these units, Dawson PPD crews need at least 10 feet of clearance in front of the transformer (the side that is padlocked). A minimum of four feet is needed on all other sides. This space is needed to disconnect the power source on padmounts that are energized and perform other repairs.

You may place fences near a padmount transformer, but please keep the minimum clearances in mind. Remember to avoid blocking the front side. If a fence runs along the front side, a gate that swings away from the transformer must be installed.

When planning what to plant near the transformer, consider the mature size and spread of a shrub or tree, which varies by species. Consult your local greenhouse or the

Nebraska Statewide Arboretum to determine other drought tolerant plants that can be safely planted near padmount transformers.

Deciduous shrubs – ornamental

  • Dwarf American cranberry bush (viburnum)
  • Dwarf Korean lilac
  • Anthony waterer (spirea)
  • Spreading cotoneaster

Evergreen shrubs

  • Armstrong juniper
  • Seagreen juniper

Reprinted with permission from Omaha Public Power District


November 2020

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