Many neighborhoods in Apex have underground electric systems, which include pad mounted transformers and underground lines. Transformers are placed in easements in yards and provide electric service to several homes meaning that one transformer can have many electric lines that span out in various directions.
Guidelines to remember when planting near transformers:
- Maintain a 3-foot boundary along the sides and back of the transformer. Equipment inside the transformer box generates heat and needs air circulation to keep cool and run efficiently. Overheating could cause an outage.
- Maintain a 10-foot boundary in front of the transformer. Equipment inside is energized (electricity is running) at high voltage. Line crews use long fiberglass sticks to work on energized transformers to avoid interrupting electric service to neighborhoods and need the exrtra space to work safely.
- Use gravel, wood chips, grass or low ground cover around the transformer. Flowers are okay but may get trampled if we have to work on it.
- Call NC811 at 811 before you dig anywhere in your yard. They locate and mark underground utility services.
To avoid future electrical hazards, safe planting tips include:
- Consider mature height of trees. Never plant a tree that could grow to 25 feet or more near a power line. Tall growing trees should be planted at least 20 feet away from power lines and 50 feet away to avoid future pruning. A mature height of less than 15 feet is recommended for trees planted near power lines.
- Do not plant near underground utility services. Tree roots can grow to interfere with underground pipes, cables, and wires. Future repairs to these facilities also could damage the health and beauty of nearby plants and trees.
- Keep areas around electric meters, transformers, or other electrical equipment free of any vegetation that could limit utility service access.
- Before digging, call the local underground utility locator service to mark location of underground utilities, so accidental contact, damage, and injuries can be avoided.
There are many beautiful varieties of trees, low-growing trees and shrubs that provide color, screening and shade, and enhance the quality of life in our communities and environment. Consider the types of trees that co-exist well with power lines and the environment to avoid the need for trimming for line clearance.
Note: Applicable to distribution only – not transmission.