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Underground Requirements

Requirements for Underground Electrical Equipment

Safety and reliability are the primary reasons Horry Electric Cooperative takes a firm position on right-of-way boundaries for all of our electrical equipment.

Whether it is located overhead, underground or attached to your home or business, the electrical equipment needs space to do its job.

The requirements for overhead service are different from the requirements for underground service, as outlined below.

There is nothing pretty about an underground transformer, but they are a very important component in the delivery of electric service to homes and businesses on our system. If you have one on your property, please keep your distance!

We understand the desire to landscape around transformers so they’re not noticeable, but the right-of-way clearance boundaries established and posted on the sticker on the transformer itself need to be respected and maintained for your safety, and the safety of our crews.

  • Never let anything get closer than 10 feet from the front or 4 feet from the sides of the transformer (The handle, lock and sticker are on the front).
  • Never enclose the transformer with fencing, shrubs or anything else with less than a 10-foot-wide gate or opening.
  • Never allow children to play on or near the transformer.
  • Never pour waste oils, chemicals or other liquids on or near the transformer. These liquids can seep into the ground and damage underground cables.
  • If you need advice on how to safely beautify the area around your transformer, call Horry Electric Cooperative’s Right-of-Way Department at 843-369-2211.

Landscaping FAQs

While TV/Cable boxes are not allowed in the front clearance area, we have been able to work it out, so it can be placed on the sides. Like the transformer, this equipment is necessary to supply service to your home. National Electrical Safety Code allows us to locate this equipment in close proximity only if we connect them with ground wire. Horry Electric makes the extra effort to help minimize the impact of equipment to the total landscape.

The decorative lighting units you’ve seen belong to Horry Electric Cooperative. To help minimize the impact to your total property, we locate this equipment in close proximity to the transformer whenever possible. We have the tools and expertise to easily remove and replace these decorative lights, if necessary.

It is difficult and dangerous enough to work with the voltages inside the transformer cabinet. To have something that can grow into and around the transformer adds to that danger. Plants have roots that can grow into the equipment and cause problems. Plants also attract creatures like snakes, termites and even fire ants, that also pose a risk to the equipment, as well as the linemen trying to get to the transformer equipment to make repairs or conduct routine maintenance. In addition to potentially being a contributing factor to an outage, landscaping adds to outage restoration time because it has to be removed before crews can work safely to locate problems and restore service.

Air flow and plant root growth are the two primary reasons for the 4′ clearance. Good air flow around the equipment is necessary in order for it to maintain the correct temperature. If air flow is blocked, the temperature will go up, potentially causing the equipment to overheat and possibly cause premature failure. The 4′ clearance also takes into account root growth, which can also be a problem.

Landscaping Tips

Acceptable ways to landscape around an underground transformer, include:

  1. Potted plants/planter boxes that two employees can pick up and move when they need to work inside the transformer, or in the area surrounding it.
  2. Benches are acceptable, if they can be picked up and moved.
  3. Rock/mulch island to surround the transformer.
  4. Statues and decorative lawn flags can be used.

Horry Electric has restructured rates to give you control of your bill. The restructured rates will be effective for all members beginning with September 2024 use that appears on your October 2024 statement. Advance Pay members will be effective October 1 for October use. Click below to learn more about rates and peak hours.