Respect Your Neighborhood Substation

Stay alive by staying away

Substations are fenced off to protect the public

You may live near or drive by a Columbia REA substation each day and not give it much thought.

Although they look like something that could transform into a giant-sized, building-stomping, futuristic robot, substations play an important role in providing safe and reliable electricity to your work or home.

Fenced-in substations are part of the electrical generation, transmission and distribution system. Transformers are contained inside many of them. As the name implies, their job is to transform voltage from high to low or vice versa, depending on its location on the distribution path. Besides transformers, substations usually house switches, protective devices and control equipment. In large substations, circuit breakers are used to interrupt any short circuits or overloads.

Substations are fenced away from the public because they contain high voltages in close quarters, creating a potentially dangerous situation for the public. Columbia REA would like to remind you:

  • This illustration shows the 3 types of substations. Number 1 is step-up; number 2 is step down; and number 3 is distribution.

    Never go near a substation.

  • Instruct children from a young age about the dangers of electricity. Teach them to never go near a substation or climb its fence to retrieve a ball or pet. Let them know they should always stay away and tell a parent or adult. Report incidents to Columbia REA at (509) 526-4041 or (800) 642-1231.
  • If a transformer near your home catches on fire, do not try to put out the fire yourself. Water and electricity don’t mix. Call 911 to report the fire.
  • If you see an issue with or notice something unusual about a substation, transformer or power line, contact Columbia REA immediately. Never try to address a problem yourself.
  • If you see someone inside a substation who does not look like they belong there, contact Columbia REA immediately.

Following these safety tips will help keep your community safe and your neighborhood source of reliable power flowing.