Consider Utility Lines, Equipment When Planting

Late summer and early fall can be a good time to plant shrubs and trees – which is why Oconto Falls Municipal Utilities reminds customers to take care around utility equipment and to plan ahead before digging.

Many homes have a metal box – a padmounted transformer or pedestal – on the property. These boxes contain high-voltage utility equipment that utility crews must be able to access immediately in the event of equipment failure or a power outage, and ventilation must be maintained for safety and equipment longevity.

To be safe, caution children not to play on or around equipment, which could be hot or have sharp edges.

Flowers and ornamental grasses can be used to camouflage the equipment without obstructing it. Ask the utility before planting trees and shrubs or building a fence near these boxes.

It is very popular to plant trees on the lot lines for privacy reasons. If your property is served by poles and overhead lines, it is important to choose a species of plant that won’t grow into the lines. Utility companies must maintain clearance from trees for reliability and safety reasons. Preplanning will eliminate the need for the utility to trim, or in some cases, remove the tree from the utility right of way. 

Customers should also take care when digging in the yard – underground gas and electric lines can be buried just a foot deep and cause serious injury if hit. Before planting a tree or shrub or digging a trench, contact Diggers Hotline by dialing 811 or 1-800-242-8511, or visiting www.diggershotline.comCall or make a request online three working days before digging to allow enough time for a utility worker to mark the location of any buried lines.