1. What Are Transformers, Junction Equipment and/or Pedestals?
2. When Would Underground Electrical Equipment Need to be Accessed?
3. How Much Distance is Required for Access?
4. Can I Paint Underground Electrical Equipment?
5. How Do I Locate Electrical Equipment?
Transformers and junction equipment look like big green metal boxes and pedestals may be either subsurface (looks like a water irrigation box flush with the ground and is approximately 24” X 18”) or fiberglass box (fiberglass rectangle 12” X 7” X 28” tall). Many times, this equipment is located within public utility easements or they may be located on a private property owner’s land. Not every house or business has this equipment.
Transformers, junction equipment and/or pedestals need to be accessed by CPI linemen and inspectors during power restoration, routine maintenance on the inside the equipment and/or during our mandated inspection programs.
All electrical equipment requires 10 feet from the front side and no closer than three feet on the remaining three sides. The front is where the equipment opens (door, lid, cover, etc.) and the front should contain a padlock.
Be sure not to obstruct the front of the equipment! Obstructions include fences, shrubs, trees, storage sheds, and so on. Any obstruction can:
- Create safety risks to the personnel trying to access the transformer.
- Delay service restoration during power outages.
- Cause problems during routine maintenance of equipment.
CPI receives requests from individuals, Service Organizations, Cities, and Counties requesting approvals for painting or placing murals on CPI underground electrical equipment (Transformer, Junction Equipment Pedestals, etc.) for many well-meaning reasons and causes. However, CPI prohibits any underground electrical equipment from being painted by anyone other than those in the employ or contracted by CPI.
Also, CPI requires standardized signage on these devices which identifies them as CPI utility assets. The signage identifies these devices by their operating number making it quick and easy for CPI employees to locate and identify these devices in the event of emergencies or for the purposes of required maintenance and inspection.
Uniformity and consistency of the exterior color and pattern assist in locating and identifying these devices. Non-uniform colors as well as covering of signage prolongs outage restoration efforts plus CPI repainting efforts. Additionally, non-uniformity of colors desensitizes the general public from the dangers of tampering and/or not maintaining clearances from these assets.
Members must call (800) 332-2344 or 811 (the Oregon one-call utilities protection center) at least two working days before digging so all underground utility locations can be marked with flags or paint. Following these safeguards can prevent members from digging near underground lines and risking an electrical shock.
Stay Safe Around Electrical Equipment!
For your protection, avoid making unnecessary contact with underground equipment. And please, never allow children to play on or near this underground equipment.
Immediately report unlocked or damaged electrical equipment — such as leaking oil, struck by a car, and so on — to Consumers Power, Inc. at (800) 872-9036 or (541) 929-3124.
For More Information
For more information about electrical safety, contact Consumers Power Inc. at (800) 872-9036 or (541) 929-3124 to request a safety presentation for your community group.