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URD inspections begin in west central territory

Today (Aug. 15) a crew from Karcz Utility Services began inspecting the green, ground-mounted transformers in areas served by the Troutbrook (orange), Warren (green) and Hammond (yellow) substations in the west central part of SCEC’s service area (see map). More crews will join them next week.

The nearly 2,000 members affected by this received a letter in the beginning of August informing them of the work, which should be completed by the end of this month. Members with questions or concerns about the underground cabinet inspections should contact CEO/President Mark Pendergast at 715-796-5607 or markp@scecnet.net.

During inspections, crews frequently find access to utility equipment is hampered by fences, trellises, plantings such as shrubs or trees, or hardscape materials such as retaining walls. Members are asked to please permanently remove or relocate all obstructions from an area within 12 feet from the front (side with the lock) and four feet on all other sides of the ground-mounted utility equipment (green box). At the time of inspection, any obstructions within this area may be removed by Karcz or their work postponed until the area is clear.

Before doing any digging, you must call 800-242-8511 for a free service to locate the utility-owned underground lines in the area.

Crew members are in vehicles marked with “Contractor For” vehicle magnets that display the SCEC logo. Each member of the crew is also provided with an “Approved Contractor” badge from SCEC, which includes their name and photo.

When a crew arrives at a green cabinet, they’ll clear out brush and vegetation surrounding the equipment. Then, using special gloves and a key, they’ll open the box. SCEC requires 12 feet of clearance from the front of the box so the crew can easily access the equipment inside, scan for hot spots or lightning damage, ensure all grounds are properly hooked up and equipment is in good working condition.

According to SCEC Line Superintendent Rob Dooley, each cabinet is inspected on a five-year schedule. Burrowing animals and ants can make a mess in the five years between inspections, so the amount of time to inspect and clean each cabinet varies by location.

Once a crew has cleaned out the cabinet and ensured all the equipment is properly functioning, they will check and - if necessary - replace any stickers on the front of the box that need to be refreshed. The crew evaluates the way the box sits on the ground and will repair holes as well as perform any maintenance to make sure the box is level. If needed, they will tag the box in the system for a crew to follow-up to repaint the equipment.

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