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Padmounted Transformer Safety

February 26th, 2020

Padmounted transformers may not look threatening, but they can carry the same amount of electricity as overhead power lines

Padmounts or padmounted transformers are recognizable to most as the green or grey steel electrical boxes found in most residential areas. Inside, they house the same equipment that you’d find with any pole-mounted transformer, and are connected to buried power lines lines nearby.

Dig safe

The presence of a padmount transformer means there are underground distribution lines nearby, including directly under and around the box. So as with all underground work, it's critical to always request a locate at least five days before breaking ground. For a full summary on how to dig safe, you can reference our How to Dig Safe section on our website.

Ensure access

You should always make that there is proper access to padmounted transformers and that there is a clear eight-foot path in front of the unit, which is the side with a door. There should never be any sort of obstruction in front of the transformer, such as a fence or shrub, or any construction materials or equipment.

What to Do if You Find an Open Padmounted Transformer

Only professionals should have access to padmounted transformers, but occasionally you may encounter one that has been left open, whether due to negligence, tampering, or theft. If you find an open or damaged padmount, you can call the utility’s number listed on the transformer for further assistance. You should also report the incident to the utility. In the event of a significant safety concern, you can also call 911.

Want to brush up on your power line safety knowledge? Take an Online Safety Tutorial and earn free swag for you and your crew.

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The Joint Utility Safety Team (JUST) is a partnership between the following Alberta electric utilities with contributions from local municipalities, formed to address the frequency of power line contacts across the province.