For Immediate Release: May 1, 2019

Keep green metal transformer boxes clear of obstructions

With warm spring weather comes yard work. Customers with neighborhood high-voltage equipment and transformers in their yards can do a lot to help themselves, their neighbors and SMUD work crews stay safe by maintaining clearance around the green metal utility boxes.

Remember to keep eight feet of space around this equipment, especially in front of any access doors, when planting trees and shrubs or building fences and other structures. Proper clearance helps SMUD crews restore power more quickly and safely during a power outage. It also helps them perform scheduled maintenance more safely and efficiently. The clearance is a legal requirement, as regulated by the California Code of Regulations.

Before starting to shovel, smart and safe digging means calling 811 or visiting to request a utility-locate before each job. Using the website for your notification can save time. There is no cost for the customer and all utilities will respond to mark the locations of their underground lines so that there isn’t an accidental dig-in, which can be dangerous and result in injury and expensive repairs. The notification is valid for 28 days so if the excavation project goes beyond this timeframe, notify USA North 811 again for an extension. For businesses, or if a homeowner hires someone, it’s the law to request a utility-locate a minimum of two full business days before doing any digging. But for do-it-yourself homeowners, it’s the way to stay safe and avoid financial and legal responsibility for repairs and/or injuries.

For safety’s sake, never climb on, plant or dig around neighborhood electrical transformers.