System Reliability
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Underground Power Lines and Equipment

About 45% of Union Power’s active lines (approximately 2,500 miles) are underground. Nearly 90% of new lines being installed are underground lines. Though these lines are not as affected by storms and ice, their installation takes more time, and equipment/construction is generally more expensive. In addition, specialized equipment is needed to maintain and repair underground lines. Because of their location, underground lines may take longer to repair during outages.

Underground lines are buried from 30-42 inches beneath the surface. However, these distances can change if additional grading is done to the property after installation is completed.

Home Improvement Projects & Underground Equipment

You may be thinking about home and property improvements. But wait! If you have underground power lines, please dial 811 (North Carolina One Call Center), then contact Union Power to be sure your underground service will not be obstructed in any way.

Our personnel need access to underground equipment at all times, and as the member, you are responsible for providing clear, unobstructed access to it. So please make the call—it may save you a lot of time, frustration and money later on!

Call us if you have underground lines and plan to:

  • Add onto your home or an existing building (such as adding a garage, etc.)
  • Build a shop or place a storage building on the property
  • Install a pool or pool house on the property
  • Concrete for walkways, basketball goals or to extend your driveway 

Union Power personnel will be glad to make a visit and determine if your improvement/building projects are slated for areas where underground power lines and equipment may need to be relocated or other measures taken to ensure that access to our equipment is not hindered. As always, Union Power’s mission is to provide you with safe and reliable power with exceptional value, and our personnel work hard to maintain your electric service. Please work with us to ensure that your home projects are improvements for everyone.

Call 811 Before You Start! Then call us at 704-289-3145

Underground Electrical Equipment - Reliability & Safety

Appropriate clearance and permanent access to Union Power equipment is necessary at all times; guidelines for minimum required access distances to equipment are as follows:

  • No closer than 10 feet on side of equipment with locked door
  • No closer than 4 feet on all other sides

These distances are needed to permit Cooperative personnel to safely access, operate and maintain the equipment. It is also important to note that padmounted transformers are cooled by air. Do not place any obstructions over or near a padmounted transformer. If obstructions block proper air circulation, the oil in the equipment may overheat, resulting in oil leakage and/or equipment failure, which can lead to power outages. Before digging around any padmounted equipment, call the North Carolina One Call Center at 811.

Shrubs planted under meter bases can also pose a problem for our meter technicians. They may need to access your meter for routine maintenance and testing. Please remove or trim back shrubbery near your meter base. For more information about Union Power’s vegetation management program or tree trimming practices, please call 704-289-3145 to speak with one of our certified arborists.

Our goal is to ensure our system’s reliability and the safety of Union Power personnel and members.

For ideas of trees/plants that may work in the right-of-way near underground padmount transformer equipment, please click on the following link:

 Electric Pedestal

 Padmounted Transfomer

 Switchgear

Keep Them Safe! Keep Your Power On!

In photo below, linemen have room to safely access and repair transformer.

Transformers below are hidden and not easily accessible. This prevents crews from quickly restoring power during an outage and puts our linemen at risk of safety hazards.