Insulators, Transformers and Regulators

Insulators connect the power lines to the utility pole. They ensure that electricity remains in the lines and does not travel down the pole. Insulators are made of insulating materials, such as porcelain, glass, or nonconductive polymers. Broken insulators can be sharp; be alert for this hazard in the vicinity of downed power lines and vehicle/pole accidents.

Step-down transformers serve to reduce the electricity from primary lines to a voltage more suited for customer use. These transformers are bucket shaped and can be found between the primary and secondary lines.

Regulators are special transformers that maintain specific voltage levels. They are generally rectangular.

Both transformers and regulators cool their internal components using oil, which can pose explosion, smoke, and oil-release hazards. Transformer oil may contain PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls. These carcinogenic compounds were widely used as a cooling oil in electric transformers until 1979, when they were banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for most uses. Whether or not you see a yellow PCB warning label on equipment, treat all transformer fires and oil releases as an environmental hazard and report them to your incident commander and LG&E and KU immediately.