Why Planting Near Transformers is Bad for the Co-op

What not to do

In many developments and neighborhoods in Delaware, you’ll find Co-op transformers (the green box shown in the picture below). These boxes are integral to the underground electrical system that provides electricity to the homes around them. These boxes are property of Delaware Electric Cooperative. Through agreements with developers, the Co-op legally has access to the land the box is on, as well as the land around it. DEC is responsible for the maintenance of these boxes, so if you ever see rust or holes on a transformer box, don’t try to repair it yourself – call the Co-op.

Planting shrubs, bushes, trees, or flowers around these transformer boxes is not permitted because they inhibit employees from accessing them in the case of an outage or emergency. If an employee first has to cut or remove vegetation from around the box before opening it, any outage will last longer than it should. In addition, while on scene, any obstacle or distraction that could take an employee’s focus away from their work poses a danger.

As a general rule, people who live near these boxes may not plant or place anything within 10 feet of the front of the box and within 5 feet of the sides and back of the box. If there are plants or objects placed within the restricted area around the boxes, they must be removed. Co-op employees may remove obstructions if needed. If you need to dig in order to remove fixtures placed around transformer boxes, please call 811 prior to digging to avoid injury or accidents. After you call 811, utilities, including Delaware Electric Cooperative, will mark underground lines near the transformers so you don’t cut them.

While we understand that these boxes may be considered eyesores in neighborhoods and developments, they are necessary to power homes. Transformer boxes allow powerlines to be placed underground as opposed to on poles above the ground. Please do not tamper with the box in order to change the appearance. They can’t be painted, enclosed or hidden by vegetation. If you have any questions about these transformer boxes or any other questions and concerns, please call us at (855) 332-9090.