Allow 3 feet of space on sides and behind transformers. Pad-mounted transformers can overheat and cause a service interruption if they do not have enough air circulation around them. This landscaping is pretty, but too close. These shrubs had to be removed.
Landscaping Around Transformers
To improve the aesthetics of our neighborhoods, we install new electric services underground. While it eliminates the tall poles and lines going overhead, it does require pad-mounted transformers in backyards.
Many homeowners don't consider electric transformers beautiful lawn ornaments, and we can appreciate wanting to screen them from view. Unfortunately, some customers create a hazardous situation by their landscaping choices.
For your safety and electric reliability
Allow 10 feet of clear space in front of transformers. At least once a year, our service workers open and work on the transformers while they are energized so you and your neighbors don't have to sit in the dark. To safely do that, they use an 8-foot fiberglass "hot stick" which needs about 10 feet of clear space in front of the transformer.
Plantings in the right-of-way may be run over. Occasionally, transformers may require extensive repairs. Eventually, transformers must be upgraded and replaced. In those cases, we drive a vehicle into the right-of-way and use a boom to lift and transport them because they are very heavy. Please understand that we may not be able to avoid damaging your plantings. This landscaping is nice, but too close. These shrubs had to be removed.
MGE suggestions for safely and attractively landscaping around pad-mounted transformers:
For more information
Planting near pad-mounted transformers [1.8 MB PDF]
Power Planting: How to select and plant trees near power lines [3.0 MB PDF]