Warren’s Words of Wisdom: Pad-Mounted—Primary and Secondary Voltages in a Box

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Pad-mounted transformers come in all sizes and capacities, but there are certain things you should immediately know whenever you see them:

  • There is both high voltage (up to 23,000 volts) and secondary voltage (120/240/480 volts) inside.
  • They are metal.
  • All the electricity is coming and going underground.
  • They don’t like to be hit, run over, pushed, spray painted, made fun of, or otherwise abused.

If there is an accidental interaction between a padmount transformer and your plow or vehicle, stay in the vehicle, call 911, and keep people away from approaching your vehicle. If your vehicle is operable and it’s safe to try, you can attempt to back away from the padmount; but remember, it is not bolted down and it will slide or move if you have really jammed it under your vehicle, so stop if it’s coming with you. Stay in the vehicle, and call 911.

It is always best to stay in the vehicle, unless it’s a life or death situation.  If you have a problem like a fire, remember to jump away from the vehicle, but don’t touch the ground and vehicle at the same time (yes, you can climb out on the steps of the truck to jump from there). Once you land, hop or shuffle your feet until you are at least 25-30 feet away.

Look around your work area.  If you see a padmount in the vicinity, look for the poles feeding the underground.  Could those underground cables be running through your work zone? Get the CBYD mark-out to make sure you know!

Bonus Round – What does the red tag on the pole mean?

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The pole was tested and is rotted below grade. This makes the pole a priority for replacement and tells phone and cable workers to not climb or put ladders on the pole. Now you know!


About Connecticut T2 Center

The Training & Technical Assistance Center at UCONN provides education and technical assistance to members of Connecticut's Transportation and Public Safety Community, including municipal public works directors, street and road maintenance superintendents and staff, city and town engineers, Connecticut Department of Transportation employees, transportation planners and law enforcement professionals serving as legal traffic authorities. We are Connecticut's LTAP Center
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