What you need to know
Electricity infrastructure is the equipment that helps get power to your home or business. It's important to ensure there's room for our crews to work safely around this equipment so we can continue to provide safe, reliable electricity. Below is some of our equipment and clearance requirements.
Power poles are typically wood poles that provide support to the above ground electrical system. The poles support the power lines, transformers, switches, cable TV, and telephone lines that service your homes and businesses.
Clearance around the poles is important. The right clearance means our crews can climb, and work on and around, the poles to restore power, make repairs, or perform maintenance.
Power poles are partially buried 6 to 10 feet below the ground. This means crews may need to dig around the pole and perform below ground inspections. Digging around the poles may also be required to change the poles if they are damaged (i.e.: storm damage, vehicle collisions, degradation, etc.). Hard surfaces like concrete, asphalt or paving stones around the poles delay this work.
Transformers change high voltage (25kV/15kV/5kV) power into the low voltage (220V/110V) power used in homes and businesses. Each transformer serves several homes in the area (typically eight to 12).
Underground high voltage cables feed into the transformer, and smaller low voltage cables run to each home or business power meter.
Crews need room around the transformers so they can inspect and maintain them, and make any necessary repairs. Trees and bushes around the transformers pose a safety risk as their limbs may swing into the transformers while crews are working. Their roots can also damage the cables and connections.
Switching cubicles contain the large switches and fusing used to reroute high voltage (25 kV/15 kV/5 kV) electricity and protect the power system.
When our crews are doing maintenance work or emergency repairs during an outage, switching cubicles allow us to bypass the area where they are working. Once the location of a problem is identified, switching cubicles are usually the first place our crews will go to restore as many customers as possible, and make the work site safe so crews can complete repairs or maintenance.
The crews use long rods to operate the switches so they can stay a safe distance away. Working safely with these switching rods requires enough room to work (free of bushes, trees, fences, or other landscaping).
The speedy restoration of power for all customers relies on easy access to switching cubicles.