Our transformers aren’t for kids

Teach children never to play on or around electrical equipment. Transformers on Horry Electric's system are clearly marked.

A transformer?  Aren’t those the toys that start out as something that looks like a spaceship or a truck or something and ends up really being a “robot” in disguise?

Well, yes and no. There are toys called Transformers, but the transformers we talk about at Horry Electric are something with which you definitely do NOT want to play.

Our transformers aren’t for kids. Distribution transformers reduce voltage for delivering electricity to consumers, normally 240/120 volts for most services. It is not unusual to find one rated 1,000 kilovolt-amperes (kva) or more serving a large user. A transformer for a new home is usually rated 10-15 kva (roughly 10 or 15 horsepower).

Transformers vary in size and style, but the most common type of distribution transformer is the can-shaped steel tanks you often see near the top of a utility pole. Referred to as “pole mounted” transformers, they contain thousands of feet of wire coiled around a special laminated steel core. The tank is filled with insulating coil.

“Pad mounted” transformers are also easy to recognize. They are called “pad mounted” because they are literally mounted on a pad. They’re usually found in neighborhoods where co-op power is delivered through underground lines. Pad-mounted transformers are housed in large, green box-shaped metal cabinets.

The next time you’re traveling down the highway and see a transformer on a pole or you’re riding in your neighborhood and spot a pad-mounted transformer, point it out to whoever is riding with you, especially if he or she happens to be a child. Make sure he/she is able to recognize pole-mounted and pad-mounted transformers.  Transformers are designed to safely deliver electricity to homes and businesses. They’re not a toy and everyone is advised to steer clear of playing with or around any kind of electrical equipment. Who knows, you may just be providing the first training session to a future Horry Electric line worker or engineer!

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